Remembering the kindness and support she received from Shipston Home Nursing after her parents passed away left Ilmington mum Gill Willis feeling completely overwhelmed.
“It’s 14 years since my father, Basil Hall, died from lung cancer, and the 10th anniversary of my mother Sue’s death from breast cancer,” she said.
So she decided it was a particularly fitting time to run the Edinburgh Marathon and raise money for the people who had looked after them with such care and compassion.
Gill – who works for a car and commercial repair centre at Clifford Chambers – is hoping to complete the course this weekend in under five hours and that she’ll make £1,000 in the process.
She said: “It wasn’t just what Shipston did for my parents, it was the way they supported the family as a whole.
“When my father was ill, they’d sit with him so I could take my mum shopping. Little things like that made all the difference. They were incredible.”
She reckons she’s inherited some of her dad’s determination with her tough training schedule.
“I’ve been putting in the hours through plenty of rain and not much shine,” she smiled.
Her father was given between seven and nine months to live when he was first diagnosed, but he survived for five years, carrying an oxygen tank around with him towards the end.
“My brother and I were brought up on Meon Hill Farm in Lower Quinton,” Gill recalled. “It was a very happy childhood.
“My parents both worked so hard, it was a very outdoor life and they were always doing something.
“Everyone loved my mum. They all came to her with their worries because they knew she gave good advice and whatever they told her never went any further.
“She was a football fan and supported Wolves but when I was in Liverpool I said if she wanted to come with me, she’d have to change allegiance.”
Gill started running after her father died in 2001 and took part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. She appetite for long distance events began when she won a place in the London Marathon in 2012.
“I’ve joined a gym and I feel a lot fitter,” she said. “Now my partner thinks he’ll come too.”
> Help Gill reach her target by sponsoring her at www.justgiving.com/Gill-Willis