Northampton woman to run London Marathon after losing best friend to brain tumour

Frances crosses the finish line at the Ironman triathlon. This year's marathon will be her 16th.

Frances crosses the finish line at the Ironman triathlon. This year's marathon will be her 16th.

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A Northampton woman is running the London Marathon after losing the father of her children to a brain tumour.

She is running for the bereavement counselling charity that helped her while she was in "a very dark place."

Richard, who died in January last year from a brain tumour, with his and Frances' two daughters.

Richard, who died in January last year from a brain tumour, with his and Frances' two daughters.

Mother-of-two Frances Malin, 51, from Abington Avenue, Northampton, lost her best friend, Richard, to a terminal illness a year ago.

Frances said: "Richard was my best friend and the father of my two children.We had known each other so long and had been through everything together.

"When we took him to the doctors, they diagnosed him with a brain tumour and said he had 10 weeks to live. It turned out to be more like eight.

"He never thought about dying or what it meant. But it ended up disabling him, and he was unable to do anything for himself. I cared for him 24/7 while helping my daughter take her A-levels. It just took all my energy."

Cruse Bereavement Care logo.

Cruse Bereavement Care logo.

Richard died in January 2016. For months after losing him, Frances was still dealing with his death.

She said: "A year after you lose someone you can still be in a bad place. You have your friends and family there for you but life moves on for them.

"I went to my GP and said I was struggling. They put me on to Cruse."

Cruse Bereavement Care, based in Surry, is a bereavement charity that offers counselling sessions, group therapy and home visits.

When Frances first called them, she had to wait six months for her first session.

She said: "It just goes to show how underfunded they are. But when my counsellor came to my house we really bonded. Over the next few weeks, we had six one-hour sessions and it really helped me in a time that was very difficult."

Now, Frances has pledged to tackle the London Marathon to help raise funds for the charity that helped get her life up and running again.

This is Frances' 16th London Marathon but her first in the name of a charity.

She said: "I get a place every year because of the Good For Age scheme from Virgin, but I've never run for a charity. I just want to help raise some funds and say thank you for all their help."

Sue Pritchett, administrator for Cruse Bereavement Care, said: "It's marvellous that Frances is running the marathon for us. She is an ex-client who was really pleased with her support.

"Our slogan is 'somewhere to turn to when someone dies.' We don't receive any Government funding. Also, people think we're part of the NHS. But we're just a stand-alone charity who operate out of a bedroom.

"We only need £15,000 a year to keep running. That's to pay our one member of staff who mans the phones and help pay some of the travel expenses for our 50 volunteer counsellors.

"Well done to Frances for thinking of us and I hope it goes well. We're so pleased she's willing to do this for us."

Frances has set up a JustGiving page for her marathon appeal and can be found at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/frances-malin. She has a fundraising goal of £500.

To learn more about Cruse, visit http://www.cruse.org.uk/.