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Runners gearing up for London Marathon to raise funds for Hospice

Thirteen people are gearing up to take on the TCS London Marathon on Sunday 21st April to raise vital funds for St Helena Hospice to help support people across north east Essex who face incurable illness. 

This will be the first time for novice marathon runner Mark Griggs from Colchester, who will be running in memory of his wife Tracey, who died two years ago at the hospice age 55. Mark said:

“Once Tracey was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, we found out there was nothing more that could be done. Luckily for us, the hospice said there was a bed for her, which was fantastic. 

“What that meant was my kids and I could all spend time with her in that last week. The care Tracey received was fantastic, and it went further than that with the care and support we all received as a family.

“It didn't stop on the morning that Tracey passed. There was an awful lot of counselling that started pretty much while were there, and it continues.

“My daughter ran London for the Hospice last year, and I went down to watch and it was really inspiring, so I said, you know what, I'll give it a go. So here we are. I’ve never been a runner, so it's been an interesting ride so far. A lot of a lot of miles, a lot of work put in, a lot of wondering about whether I've done the right thing, whether I'm fit enough to do it, but I think we're there. 

“We'll get carried over the line by the crowd. I'm happy we're going to do it.”

Image: London Marathon runners holding orange running tops with St Helena logo

It’s a first marathon too for the Banks family, siblings Jon and Ali and their sister in law Kate. They are running in memory of three special people; Jon and Ali’s mum Penny, Kate’s dad Brian, and friend Toni. Ali said: 

“St Helena provided outstanding support to us and others affected by losing a love one. The environment they created was peaceful and the nurses provide the best care we have ever experienced.

“We decided as a team to run for St Helena because they were so supportive with the end of life care. It’s the little things like when my dad would go in and sit with my mum, they would offer him tea and cake.”

Also looking forward to the iconic event is 31 year old Sam Torr, who only started running less than a year ago, inspired to run after watching last year’s event. He applied for a place because of the support his nan Margaret received at the hospice at end of life and in memory of his wife’s grandad. 

Sam said:

“St Helena was there for my nan during her end of life care and also for our family, and I wanted to show my gratitude by trying to give something back.

“What I’m looking forward to most about the London Marathon is the atmosphere and then finishing! From what everyone says, the atmosphere is electric and it's a whole different vibe, so I'm looking forward to experiencing that.”

Twelve of the people running to raise funds for St Helena Hospice in this year’s London Marathon took up the opportunity of a Golden Bond place, and one secured their spot through the general ballot. Two others had to sit this one out due to injury.

Ramsey Step Down and Care Centre is sponsoring Team St Helena, and the runners themselves have been busy putting on lots of fundraising events of their own to smash their fundraising targets. Marcus Poston, fundraising manager at St Helena Hospice, said:

“Together our marathon runners have so far raised more than £30,000 to help local people face incurable illness and bereavement, which is incredible. We need the support of our local community now more than ever, and we’re so thankful to all our fantastic runners for raising as much as they can to help the patients and families in our care.

“They have all put so much time and effort into their training and we are so proud of them all. 

“We will be at mile 17 looking out for all our fantastic runners in their St Helena Hospice tops on Sunday 21st April, and will cheer them onwards to the finishing line on The Mall.”


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