Husband inspires Great North Run attempt

Haydon Bridge woman Derrien Turrell is taking part in her first Great North Run in memory of her husband and is calling on others to dust off their running shoes and sign up to one of the world’s most iconic running races in support of Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Derrien, who works in Homebase in Hexham will be joined by work colleagues Kirsty Cruddas and Vicky Bradford in a bid to raise over £1,000 for Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Derrien’s husband Peter died of cancer nine years ago and she cared for him at home in his final days.

Derrien said: “Peter and I both wanted him to remain at home and I was adamant that I didn’t want him to die in hospital or in a hospice. Being surrounded by family and friends in a familiar environment was important to us both.  I was living in London at the time and unfortunately there weren’t any local services like the one Tynedale Hospice at Home offers near where I lived so I cared for him in his final hours.

“Some years later, when I moved up to Northumberland I heard about the Hospice and I realised it was just the kind of service I wished Peter could have benefitted from.  It is highly valued in the local community and the wider family support and hospital transport services it offers are second to none.  We are very fortunate that it’s available on our doorstep.

“Peter was a runner and liked to take part in marathons, although he never actually managed to take part in a Great North Run.  He often gave running friends advice and training support and when my best friend commented that it was his words of encouragement that got her through the Great North Run that was all the motivation I needed to get sign up!”

Derrien, who has lost an amazing three stone to help her get fit for the race, persuaded work colleagues Kirsty and Vicky to join her.  It’s the first time that all three have ever taken on a challenge like this.

Kirsty added:  “When I discovered who Derrien was running the Great North Run for I was more than happy to support her and raise money and awareness for such a fantastic local charity who in times of need offer comfort and support to people within their home.”

For Vicky the challenge is an important milestone following an incredible year losing five stone in weight.

Vicky said: “I was persuaded to take part in the run by Derrien after a lot of arm twisting! I decided to do it as it’s all about raising money for a good cause and I can cross it off my ‘bucket list’ of things I want to achieve.  For me it’s a once in a lifetime event.”

The trio have already started their training with a series of runs and training walks.

Derrien continued: “Whether we run or walk it, or a combination of both, the aim is to complete the race in under four hours and raise as much as possible for Tynedale Hospice at Home. We get together as much as we can to train, and with the lighter nights and warmer weather I can’t think of better motivation to get out and get fit in preparation for the race.”

Cathy Bates, Tynedale Hospice at Home’s community fundraiser, said: “We are so grateful to these amazing women for supporting us at this year’s Great North Run.  They are an inspiration. We are looking forward to cheering them on, along with our team of Tynedale Hospice runners whose sponsorship will make a real difference to the lives of children, adults and families in Tynedale, West Northumberland and Ponteland.

“It costs over £800,000 to run these services each year and 90% of this must be raised through fundraising activities and voluntary giving.  We hope that we can smash last year’s total and raise more than £15,000 through this year’s Great North Run.”