Shinfield man Tom plans to run marathon to honour partner Clare

TOM Silk is not a man to run from a challenge.

The Shinfield businessman is currently training for the London Marathon in April.

Four years ago, Tom, 40, took part to raise funds for Bliss, charity which provides support and care for premature babies after his niece was born at just 26 weeks.

Now Tom is gearing up for another marathon cause – the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice.

Last year, Tom’s partner, Clare sadly passed away from cancer and spent her last  few months with “absolutely amazing people” at the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading.

The couple first met while working in Camberley 10 years ago and had only been together for four months after meeting again in Blackpool in the summer of 2017, when Clare received her diagnosis.

Tom said he was “overwhelmed” with the care Clare received and is now preparing to run the marathon to raise both funds and awareness for the hospice.

In February last year, Clare was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Tom said that the news was devastating.

He added: “When we first arrived  at the Duchess of Kent Hospice, I had no experience of the hospice movement and thought it would be a miserable place.

“However, it was the exact opposite. The care and love from all the staff just blew me away. It was so inspiring. I can’t put it into words.”

Tom has been fitting in training runs in between his busy work life and plans to take part in the Reading Half Marathon in March.

He has launched a fundraising page for the London event and hopes to raise £2,500 to help fund the hospice’s palliative care.

“I would like to beat my time of four hours and twenty-five minutes but that is not my real aim,” he added.

“What I really want to do is to raise awareness of what hospices like Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent do and how much they need our financial support to keep providing the amazing work that they do.”

“The staff gave Clare and I the opportunity to do things together we didn’t think were possible.

“I might not break any records in the London Marathon but if I can raise awareness as well as funds, then I will be happy.”

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