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Richard's race to raise funds for John Taylor Hospice

A thankful fundraiser is preparing to stride into action for John Taylor Hospice in memory of his friend and former teacher.

Richard Hartigan will pound the pavements of the capital city when he takes part in the London Marathon on Sunday 22 April.

The 40-year-old is running in memory of Carmel Hart, who died following a second battle with cancer last December, aged 65.

"She taught me in primary school in the late 1980s at St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Moseley,” said Richard. “She was an inspirational teacher and a very warm and kind-hearted friend. Everyone I have spoken to her remembers her with great fondness.

“I last spoke with Carmel in September and at the time she remained positive despite having recently learned the cancer had returned. Sadly her health then deteriorated and she passed away on Christmas Day.”

Carmel, who also taught at St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Erdington, was cared for at home by the hospice in the final weeks of her life – something which meant a lot to her and her family.

“I spoke to Jamie, Carmel's husband, recently and he was saying how he found it extremely helpful that Carmel could be cared for at home so that they could spend those last few weeks together. That was really important to them and the wider family,” Richard explained.

He will now take on the marathon challenge as a thank you to those who looked after her.

“I had a ballot place for the marathon and, after attending Carmel’s funeral in January, I decided

I would use it to raise money for John Taylor,” he said.

It will be the second time Richard, who works as a lawyer, has taken part in the marathon, having completed the 26.2-mile route two years ago. With more than £1,000 already raised, he is hoping to smash his £1,500 target to help make ‘every moment matter’ for other patients being cared for by the hospice.

“It’s been a long 20 weeks of training but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be!” added Richard. “I think Carmel would be surprised I’m taking part – at school I wasn’t the most sporty pupil!

“It will be a tough day in all kinds of ways but it’s my little way of saying thank you to the hospice for everything they did for Carmel.”

You can sponsor Richard on his JustGiving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-hartigan5

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