Schoolboy honours 'extraordinary' great aunt whose death inspired run

Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, British Heart Foundation, charity, marathon

Tom Lockyer, a pupil at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, with his dad Simon. - Credit: Archant

A schoolboy who lost his "inspiring" great aunt to heart failure has organised a combined marathon to honour her extraordinary life.

charity Save the Children Fund, death

Antonia Derry MBE dedicated years of her life to the Save the Children Fund, overseeing projects both abroad and in the UK. - Credit: Archant

Tom Lockyer, a pupil at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, has run a half-marathon and encouraged 13 of his friends to complete the other miles, raising hundreds of pounds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The 15-year-old was close with his great aunt Antonia Derry MBE, who devoted years of her life to charity work in the UK and abroad.

After she died of heart failure on September 8, aged 86, he decided to challenge his running abilities with the combined marathon in her honour.

“I was very sad when my great aunt passed away," he said. 

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"We were very close, and she was a very interesting and inspirational person to me.

“She led an extraordinary life, working for Save the Children Fund overseeing projects both overseas and in the UK.

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"In retirement, she kept working with different charities and when she died it inspired me to do something that she would be proud of.

“I’ve always been a bit of a runner, and that’s where the idea to do this marathon came from.

"I’ve never run more than six miles, so by tackling a half-marathon I was doubling my best distance and giving myself a real challenge to aim at.

"I had to put in quite a bit of training to get myself ready.”

Tom raised more than £600 and Jennifer Townsend, fundraising manager for the BHF, said: “We are delighted that Tom has gone to so much effort to support the British Heart Foundation.

"Running a half-marathon is quite a challenge, but to have fostered the support of thirteen friends and coordinated it all himself is even more impressive."

Tom added: “I'd like to thank all my friends for taking part, and everyone who has made a donation.

"It’s a very difficult time at the moment with coronavirus, so I’m especially grateful that people have chosen to support a charity that is tackling a cause that I care about."

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