A MOTHER who was born with a cleft lip and palate is aiming to raise awareness of the charity which supported her family after her youngest daughter was found to have the same condition.

Kate Towse, 35, who lives in Norton, was diagnosed with a bilateral cleft lip and palate - the most severe form which affected both sides of her mouth - following her birth.

"It was a complete shock for my parents as they were unaware anything was wrong," Kate said.

"There was also very little information about the condition or support for them at that time."

Kate underwent her first operation when she was six months at St James' Hospital in Leeds, with treatment and surgery to monitor her hearing, facial growth and general development continuing until she was 20.

"It was difficult at times as people do make comments and it does hurt but there are worst things to have and you just deal with it and get on with life," she said.

After marrying Steve, a builder, the couple went on to have twins Charlie and Freya, who are nearly five, followed by Pippa who is three in June.

"Everything as fine with the twins but when we went for a 20 week with Pippa we were told that she had the condition which was a total shock," Kate said.

"I hadn't wanted to know the sex of the baby but as soon as I got the news I needed to know - girls seem to cope better and they tend to talk about things more rather than bottling it up."

Kate said that within 24 hours of Pippa's diagnosis, the family was contacted by the charity CLAPA (Cleft Lip and Palate Association).

"They are just amazing - someone comes round to see you at home and offers you all the support and advice you need, " she added.

"It is something that wasn't there when I was born and it is a fantastic support for parents and families."

Kate said Pippa has already undergone a number of operations and will face a bone graft from her hip when she is nine.

"It is far worse seeing your own child go through this than it was facing it myself," she added.

"But again the support CLAPA had given us and continued to give, along with that of the the medical staff is fantastic."

To support the charity , Kate has set herself a fundraising challenge, and as well as taking part in the Kirkbymoorside 10k at the weekend, has signed up for the Great North Run in the autumn.

"Having never done any serious running before I am now involved in a training programme which is going really well and I have set myself a challenge of raising £1,000," she added.

"I was born the same year CLAPA was set up, so we are both celebrating our 35th birthdays this year, and I felt it was an apt time to do something to support the charity which is very close to my family's heart and has done so much to support us" she added

Anyone who would like to sponsor Kate can do so by visiting justgiving.com/KateTowse