HEATHER Gould, and her 18-year-old son Dan, are running in the forthcoming Derby 10k for local hospice Treetops in memory of Heather’s mum, Margaret Stanford.
Margaret, from Melbourne, was ‘outgoing, loving and a force of nature’, Heather, 54, explained:
“Mum was quite simply fabulous. Her answer was always ‘yes, what’s the question’. She’d go to the moon and back for anyone she cared for and she was the kind of Nan that would sneak chocolates to her grandkids as they came out of school.
“Mum was widowed in her mid-40s when my dad died from bowel cancer. My brother and I were just teenagers at the time and her whole world collapsed. Her many wonderful friends and her work as a bank cashier kept her together in that darkest of times and helped her find ways to deal with the huge gap that had opened up in her life.”
Several years later, it was through friends, that Margaret met Graham who became her life partner for almost 30 years. The couple enjoyed caravanning, and holidays abroad and ‘led a life full to the brim.
After the couple moved to Melbourne from Wolverhampton in 2003, Margaret started volunteering for Risley-based Treetops Hospice. She trained as a volunteer bereavement counsellor.
“It was mum’s long-held wish to give back something from the awfulness of her experience of losing my dad and counselling was her real calling.
“For over twenty years, Mum supported countless men and women through the loss of partners, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and brothers and sisters. She had such compassion and empathy she was clearly born to share. She helped them in their darkest times and places.
“As a family, we will forever remain super proud of all her work at Treetops. It is a source of great comfort to us to know there are hundreds of families who were supported by mum.”
Margaret was diagnosed with cervical cancer in February 2021 and died just six months later aged 79.
Heather explained why running the Derby 10k was so important to her and Dan despite admitting being ‘built for comfort not speed’:
“It’s been an amazing comfort and positive force to fundraise in mum’s memory. It’s been an excellent way to deal with our anger and frustration and all the emotions that come with the loss of such a dear family member.”
Last year, Heather organised a ‘Great Swish’ bring-and-buy fundraiser where second-hand clothing, bags and unwanted gifts were sold and swapped. The event raised over £700 for the end-of-life charity and Heather plans to run the event again this year. Heather’s daughter, Rachel, also ran the Cambridge Half Marathon last weekend in memory of her Nan.
The Derby 10k takes place on Sunday, 26 March and is suitable for all running abilities. The course begins and ends at Pride Park Stadium taking in the sights of the city centre.
Treetops Hospice welcomes other runners to sign up and run for the charity. Runners are asked to pledge to raise £108 or more in sponsorship which helps pay for one night of Hospice at Home nursing care.
Treetops runners will each receive a branded running tech-shirt, fundraising support and resources.
Treetops has a number of charity places available in different running events throughout the UK this year. For more information, head to: www.treetops.org.uk/derby10k or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, Treetops Hospice is celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in the local community. During this time, the hospice has supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.