A woman who was once a prisoner in her own bed due to a debilitating disease has performed "a miracle” by conquering Britain’s highest mountain.

Emma Jenkins, 44, of Redbourn, has suffered from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) for around 20 years, and as a result suffered “dark years of mental and physical agony” during which time she became so weak she couldn’t feed herself.

But with the help of husband Peter, and despite it being one of the hottest days of the year, she managed a gruelling 15-hour climb up 1,345 metres to reach the top of Ben Nevis. And she has raised almost £1,500 for the ME Association in the process.

She said: “We almost gave up about three-quarters of the way up because of the steepness of the climb and the relentless heat of the sun bouncing off the rocks.

“The only thing keeping us going was our determination and the disappointment in ourselves if we didn’t make it to the summit.

“We saw the most spectacular views and met some inspiring and selfless people too. It’s something that I will remember, with pride, for the rest of my life.”

Since she began on the road to recovery around 12 years ago, Emma and Peter have climbed other British peaks peaks including Snowden, Scafell Pike and Skiddaw. And now she hopes to give inspiration to other ME sufferers.

She added: “I’m not saying you can recover from ME but with patience and determination you might eventually have a better quality of life.”

Emma made her first steps towards recovery when she began taking her dog for short walks. She later felt well enough to volunteer once a week and then starting driving again and eventually took a part-time job marketing a professional cycle team.

ME Association fundraising manager, Helen Hyland said: “This isn’t an illness to be taken lightly. Emma and Peter trained and prepared hard, and took as many precautions as they could to accommodate Emma’s illness. I am pleased that Emma is now sensibly resting. She recognises that, because of her illness, her recovery will take quite some time and has factored this in to her plans for the next few weeks.

“To go from where she was in her dark days of this debilitating illness to being able to climb Ben Nevis is nothing short of a miracle.”