When Clair crosses the London Marathon finishing line next month, she will be thinking about a brave five-year-old boy who has inspired her fundraising campaign.

Clair’s cousin Simon, pictured left, died from leukaemia in 1977 at the age of five, and it is in his memory that she will be running the London Marathon in aid of Leukaemia UK on April 22.   

She said: “This means a huge amount to me as Simon was a very, very special boy. Everybody who knew him, loved him.  With every step in the London Marathon, I’ll be thinking about what I’m achieving and the difference that the money I’m raising will make so that other families don’t have to experience what my Auntie and Uncle had to go through.”

Clair and her husband Bill, who have four children between them, have already organised a ball to celebrate Clair’s 40th birthday which raised almost £3,000 for Leukaemia UK, but she is keen to raise more money for such a cause so close to her heart.

She said: “I didn’t want any presents for my 40th, my present was to be able to raise so much money for Leukaemia UK. However, I’m only going to be doing a marathon once and I want to make sure I raise as much money as I possibly can, so I hope people will continue to support me.”

Preparing for the marathon through this year’s harsh winter has been particularly difficult and Clair has had to contend with high winds, rain, freezing temperatures and snow.

With a full-time job and four children to look after, finding the time to train has not been easy. She  cycles to and from her local railway station (and round trip of 11km) before and after work to keep her fitness up and leaves extremely early in the morning so that she can run from Victoria Station in London to Moorgate before starting her working day.

She said: “It has been really hard to fit in all the training and I have suffered a lot with tiredness. On Mother’s Day I ended up doing a 16-mile run and then came home and cooked lunch for the family! The thing that has kept me going is thinking about the difference that the money I raise is going to make.”

Clair, pictured, right, during a training run, was born 10 months after Simon’s death and was always aware of his picture which was kept in pride of place in her Nan’s home, but it was only as an adult that she fully understood the impact of his death on her family.

She said: “I became very close to Simon’s mum, Lesley, who turned her grief into something really positive by fundraising tirelessly for leukaemia charities. In 40 years, she’s played a significant part in raising £300,000, which is incredible. It is thanks to her and others that so many advances have been made in the treatment of leukaemia. If Simon had leukaemia now, he’d probably be cured.”

Clair added: “Losing a child is something you never get over, and as a parent myself, I just can’t imagine how traumatic that must be.”

With only a few weeks to go, Clair is now stepping up her final training and looking forward to marathon day.

She said: “I know it will be a magical experience, I’ll probably be crying the whole way round! Preparing for the London Marathon has been a hard, personal challenge. This is not about how fast I run, so I’m not worried about my time. For me, it’s about raising lots of money for Leukaemia UK and helping to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Thank you, Clair, for all your hard work. We're really proud of your dedication and grateful for all the money you are raising for such an important cause.

Click here to sponsor Clair's London Marathon run in aid of Leukaemia UK.