A 25-year-old woman will be lining up behind the start line of the London Marathon next month in memory of her grandmother who lived most of her life in Bedfordshire, and to raise vital funds for the Bedfordshire hospice which cared for her.
Clemmie Bright, a recent Master’s graduate of the University of St Andrews, says she is not a ‘hard-core runner‘, but was inspired to take on the challenge to raise funds for Sue Ryder while watching runners complete last year’s COVID-restricted London Marathon race on television, shortly after her grandmother’s death.
It will be the first time Clemmie has ever completed a marathon, and she hopes it will help raise vital funds for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger which cared for her grandmother, Elizabeth. She said:
“As a family we couldn’t be more appreciative of the fact Nanny was able to spend her final days in a place where she received such fantastic care from all the Sue Ryder nurses.
“The care teams were so attentive and kind and were able to manage her pain which had become too difficult to control at home.
“Nanny loved the room she was in as it didn’t feel like a hospital one but rather a home from home, especially appreciating the huge window that overlooked a bird feeder and garden.
“Nanny died incredibly peacefully, with no pain, surrounded by her family, which is all we could have possibly hoped for.”
Clemmie sent off her application to run the London Marathon and raise funds for Sue Ryder just one week after her Grandmother’s death in October 2020. And was shocked when she heard she had received a place a few months later:
“When I found out I had a space I was very surprised as I knew there were extremely high numbers of applicants for each place.
“With the cancellation of the London Marathon last year due to COVID-19 I also thought it would be doubly hard to get a spot on the start line, with those who had places to run last year eager to take part as well as new applicants. I am really lucky.
“Nanny was a country girl at heart and lived most of her life in rural Bedfordshire, but she found the Big Smoke rather exciting so she would be particularly tickled to know her granddaughter will be running down the streets of London and passing its most famous landmarks on the way.”
As well as hoping to raise vital funds for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, Clemmie hopes by taking on the challenge she will be able to celebrate her grandmother’s life:
“With COVID-19 restrictions not many people were able to attend Nanny’s funeral and we could not have a memorial service, but my marathon journey in her memory has been something that all her family and friends have been able to enjoy and support”, shared Clemmie.
“I will have Nanny in my mind as I make my way around the streets of London seeing all the sights. If she were here she would say ‘that’s lovely dear but you don’t need to run that far on my account.
“However, a justice of the peace for over 25 years and a Samaritans volunteer for over 10 years in Bedfordshire, she highly valued serving and giving back to the local community and so it feels fitting to celebrate her approach to life and honour her memory by fundraising for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.”
Joining Clemmie in London to cheer her on from the side lines will be her mother and sister, Heather and Amelia. Clemmie added:
“The training and the fundraising have really given me something to focus on throughout all the uncertainty of the pandemic. I think it will feel really surreal being on the start line with everyone else in their charity t-shirts and costumes after the year we have all had.
“When I cross that finish line it will bring me full circle as it will almost be a year to the day since Nanny died. She was incredibly special to all her family and she has left a huge hole in our lives.
“It will feel great to know I will be giving back to the care teams at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice who helped look after her so beautifully.”
So far Clemmie has raised over £7,000 for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice. To support her you can donate at Just Giving – Clemmie Bright.
For more information on Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/stjohns.