Mega marathon runners

Our supporters make us who we are. We would not be able to provide our care without the immense effort of so many who believe in what we do. A lot have experienced us caring for someone they love first hand so their support comes from a real understanding of the difference our work makes to thousands of families every year across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.

These are a collection of some of our runner’s stories – in their words – about why they will be taking on the mammoth feat that is the Virgin London Marathon this year.


Ann Ridgway from Broseley, Shropshire ~ for my grandad Frank, uncle Noel, friend Sophie, godmother Edna and work colleague Julie 

This year, Severn Hospice turns 30 and I will be 50 (gulp). To mark this milestone I want to do something that challenges me and helps to raise money for a charity that is very close to my heart.

Since the hospice opened its doors in 1989, my family and friends have been on the receiving end of the wonderful care and support given to families at this very difficult time. In 2004 my grandad, Frank Chesworth, lost his battle with cancer; in 2011 my uncle, Noel Lloyd, received superb care before passing away; in 2016 the hospice cared for an ex-work colleague and friend, Sophie Elcocks, who was taken far too soon. In 2018 the hospice cared for my godmother, Edna Pool, and work colleague, Julie Dawe, during their final days.

Since the first direct encounter with the amazing support and exceptional care given, Severn Hospice has had a special place in my heart. I have helped to raise money on several occasions including taking part in Midnight Walks in Shrewsbury, a sponsored walk up the Wrekin, and purchasing/donating items and Christmas cards in their charity shops.

When I was a little girl, I grew up in the grounds of Shelton Hospital and used to go for walks with my grandad down the lane towards Oxon Hall. In the spring we would look for the snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells, and in the autumn we would go looking for conkers. Imagine my horror when I was told that they were going to build on the land! What I didn’t understand then but do now, is that the location of the hospice in Shrewsbury was the best possible place for such an amazing building. I’m so glad my childhood play place has brought such comfort and wonderful care to so many at such a difficult time.

I started running five years ago when I completed the first Telford Parkrun and have been running off and on since then. I’m no hare, and the thought of being on my feet for six plus hours terrifies me but I know I can make it to the finish line, even if I have to crawl. The furthest distance I have completed is 13.1 miles and I ran 10 miles of that continuously. If anything can help me achieve my ultimate aim of completing a marathon, it will be knowing that every step of the 26.2 miles will support so many hundreds of people within Shropshire and beyond.

Claire Long from Powys, Wales ~ for my sister Sarah

Almost a year to the day after we lost my brave sister Sarah to cancer, I am running the London Marathon in her memory. I know she would be proud of me for doing this. As well as highly amused that I am doing something so far out of my comfort zone – I can hear her saying: ‘Claire isn’t a natural runner.’

No words can describe just how amazing the hospice staff were to Sarah and our family. They allowed us to stay by Sarah’s side 24/7 and were always there offering support, advice, hugs and coffee. They even sang with me when I’d run out of words of comfort. The craft team managed to give Sarah the tools to leave her children with gifts and precious memories that we would never have been able to do on our own. On top of all that, the medical care Sarah was given was outstanding, helping to manage her pain with dignity and compassion. I honestly don’t know how we would have coped during that time without them.

Losing Sarah at such a young age made me realise life is short and I can’t think of a more fitting way to remember her than by raising money for this wonderful place while pushing myself to my absolute limits.

Donna Hesbrook from Newport, Shropshire ~ for my friend Jo

On 22nd Nov 2017 I lost my friend, Jo Pearce, to cancer. Jo was 37 years old and left behind her five-year-old son, Jaydan. She never gave up and was an inspiration, even when poorly she organised fundraising for Severn Hospice.  I ran the London Marathon (slowly) in 2017 and want to run it again in memory of Jo and continue her fundraising legacy supporting the hospice.

I’ve run lots of 10k races, seven half marathons, one metric marathon and one marathon. I run Telford Parkrun most Saturdays and I run for Newport and District Running Club. Last year, I ran Stafford Half Marathon in memory of Jo, raising over £700 and knocking 26 minutes off my previous time to get myself a personal best! I hope to raise as much money as possible for Severn Hospice and make Jo proud xx

Jamie Thorne from Shrewsbury ~ for grandma and anyone else who needs care

Severn Hospice is a charity very close to my heart because of the way that they helped my family through a difficult time. The hospice gave comfort to my grandma in her last few weeks and I don’t think she and my family could have been made to feel better anywhere else.

When I was four, my grandma was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. I didn’t really have as much time as I wanted with her and I only have two memories of her. Without Severn Hospice I don’t think my family would have coped as well as they did.

I feel I owe Severn Hospice for all their help, not just for my grandma, but every person they welcome and take care of. A charity like Severn Hospice is a great cause that we all can get behind. It needs to be backed and supported because we don’t know when any of us will need their help and support in the future.

I am mostly looking forward to the marathon, but I am not looking forward to the training because it takes time, but it’s worth all the hard work. I’ve watched the marathon on TV plenty of times and from a young age I was fascinated by it. I was obsessed with running and loved the idea of being the fastest man in the world – which kid doesn’t ever dream of that? When I was 16, I decided that I would enter the London Marathon and run just like my childhood heroes. The runners do such a fantastic job and so do the general public cheering them on and also the organisers. And now this is 10 years later and it’s happening – thanks to everyone who has supported me!

Jon Fletcher from Berkshire ~ for my father

Well at the fifth year of trying, I got in. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I fancied covering the full distance before my 40th year passed. I’m not sure if I should be excited or absolutely terrified.

Those that know me will be aware of my somewhat relaxed approach to training, having run Reading Half with minimal planning and a belly full of curry. Well clearly that isn’t going to work here, so I do actually have a plan.

As in previous years with the Reading Half Marathon, I’d like to use the opportunity to raise some funds for a very deserving cause. Severn Hospice looked after my late father during his 12 month battle with Mesothelioma, a terrible disease that slowly destroyed the greatest bloke I’ve ever known. From home visits right through to him spending the last couple of days in the hospice where he passed away, the hospice was amazing in supporting not just him, but the wider family, including myself.

For all the help they gave, I like to give a little back each year, so hope to raise some much-needed funds to help Severn Hospice continue to help other families facing the unthinkable.

Julie Davis from Oswestry ~ for my dad

Julie has run the marathon almost every year since her dad, Jim, died in our care in 2013. She has raised over £30,000 so far and is one our event ambassadors for our all-new Forget Me Not Walk in Shrewsbury a few weeks after this year’s Virgin London Marathon.

She told us: “London is always about my dad so I’m looking forward to the day as it’s always an amazing atmosphere, although very emotional! I will continue to raise money for the hospice as long as I can to give help to other families and ensure they receive the care my dad had. The memories I have of the time at the hospice will stay with me forever… It’s a level of care I don’t think you can get anywhere else. I used to think a hospice was just somewhere you went to die as I had never had any experience of one before; it is so much more than that.”

Read Julie’s full story here.

Kim Williamson from Telford ~ for family and friends

I am running the London Marathon this year – eek! This is a very scary thought and is completely out of my comfort zone. But I was lucky enough to get a ballot place and still want to raise as much money as possible for such a worthwhile charity. On this journey I am looking forward to supporting a good cause, getting fit and the sense of achievement when I finish! I am not looking forward to the early morning, cold, wet training runs and the last six miles of the marathon!

I am fundraising for the hospice as it is our local one in Shropshire and provides a fantastic, invaluable service. It gives dignity, comfort and support to patients and their families living with incurable illness. I have worked in hospices in the past and also have personal ties with Severn Hospice through family and friends who have used the service. They really do help a great deal in the most difficult of times.

Rachel Beyer from Telford ~ for my mum and her best friend Margaret, my daughter’s godmother

I haven’t been running all that long – I took on the challenge of Couch to 5k during maternity leave three years ago and promised myself I would only ever get to the distance of 5k… Three years later and four half marathons down, here I am about to embark on training for the London Marathon!

In April this year, we lost my mum’s best friend, my daughter’s godmother and the most wonderful teacher to the dreadful disease of cancer – Margaret Daniel. Having lost my own mum to cancer six years ago, Margaret became the mother figure in my life, and nanny and living memory of my mum to my little girl.

Severn Hospice is a charity you know is there but hope you never have to make use of… Having done zip lining off the RAF Cosford Museum, run Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon and then a dreadfully hard trail race over the Shropshire Hills, I felt I had done my bit to raise money for the hospice.

Then this happened… without Hospice at Home, Margaret would not have been provided with the choice to spend her final days in the very heart of her own home.  Margaret was surrounded by love, laughter, sunshine, birdsong and a great deal of Prosecco. Her bedside was always full with family and friends who came to see her on her own terms, rather than the terms of a sterile, busy hospital ward.

We can’t thank the hospice enough for their care and compassion. So this is one little thing I can do. I am running on behalf of Margaret, in aid of Severn Hospice, to continue to raise awareness of their work and provide them with some financial support that might make that amazing difference of choice to someone at the time when it seems all hope is lost. I know I am going to fly through this Marathon…how could I not? I will be carried on the wings of so many angels.

Rebecca Lloyd from Telford ~ for my Grandma

So with little running experience, I am taking on the huge challenge of running the London Marathon. I chose to raise funds for Severn Hospice because it is a local charity close to mine and my family’s heart.

My Grandma was cared for at the Apley hospice in Telford and the staff couldn’t have done enough for her or our family at a difficult time. So I would love to be able to give something back in appreciation for everything that they do.

I am most looking forward to the challenge and the experience of running one of the greatest marathons in the world. But I am least looking forward to the vigorous training programme, it will be incredibly hard because I have only run a 5K race before…

Toni Sheen from Shrewsbury ~ for my mum


My mum sadly passed away after a short battle with cancer yet Severn Hospice gave mum comfort and normality in her last few days; the staff and facilities are incredible. We will be forever grateful for the support shown to us as a family. Mum never got to see me compete for GB Triathlons, so I feel the London Marathon is something I can do for her and I’m really looking forward to doing long distance again.



Victoria Oliver from Telford ~ for friends and family


I am committed to run for Severn Hospice because it is a charity close to my heart having provided support to my family and friends in times of need. I am a dedicated runner and it’s always been a dream of mine to run the London Marathon so I cannot think of a better way to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.





Inspired? Find out how you could follow in the footsteps of our Hospice Heroes. Apply to be part of the Severn Hospice 2018 Virgin London Marathon team here.


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