A soldier from Colchester is to take on the London Marathon in memory of a Suffolk military dad-of-two who died suddenly.

Odette Tattersall, a mum from Brandon, should have been completing her final training runs in preparation for this year's London Marathon.

Instead, she has handed over her place after the tragic death of her husband early in March.

Neil Tattersall, 50, a member of the Royal Anglian Regiment, died suddenly of heart failure while training in Austria with his military colleagues.

In his honour, fellow soldier, Sgt Adam Gilroy RAPTC, from 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron, is taking Mrs Tattersall’s place and hopes to complete the 26-mile run.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sgt Adam Gilroy, Private archivesSgt Adam Gilroy, Private archives (Image: Private archives)

Mr Gilroy, 33, will run for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity that supports military families who have lost a loved one.

Mrs Tattersall, a community safety coordinator for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue and ex-retained firefighter at Brandon, is grateful that the Suffolk soldier has offered to take her place, and in particular that he will do so in aid of such an important charity.

She said: “The last few weeks have been such a terrible shock to me, and to my children – Erin, 14, and Theo, 11.

East Anglian Daily Times: Neil's children Erin and Theo, Family archivesNeil's children Erin and Theo, Family archives (Image: Family archives)

“While I could probably have carried on training, it was such a great relief and so touching to know that Adam was happy to take part on my behalf, and to do so in honour of Neil.

“It means that I’ll be able to be with the children on the day while cheering on Adam, and knowing that money is being raised for such a compassionate and military-linked cause.”

Mr Gilroy said he is not concerned about the last-minute nature of the challenge, and he is determined to "do Neil proud".

East Anglian Daily Times: Neil's wife Odette and children Erin and Theo, Family archivesNeil's wife Odette and children Erin and Theo, Family archives (Image: Family archives)

He said: “Since joining the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) and becoming the 216 (Para) Sig Sqn RAPTC, I have always said I want to make a difference to something or someone.

“I have been given this exceptional opportunity by Odette and after getting to know the family I feel it’s more than they deserve, and I’m fully committed to raising donations towards Scotty’s Little Soldiers.”

His run can be also supported online.