Dad-of-two Terry Starkie is in training to mark the 20th anniversary of losing his mum to cancer just months before her 50th birthday.
Ann Starkie died from cervical cancer in January 1995, and her family now wants to commemorate her life by raising money for St John’s Hospice, where she died.
Terry also reaches his own 50th birthday in January, and intends to undertake the Seville marathon to celebrate his landmark while also remembering his mum.
Terry, who lives in Bare Lane with his wife Jeanie, daughter Ellie, 14, and son Jake, 21, said: “I’m doing it in memory of my mum, who couldn’t make 50 herself, and also hopefully to raise some money for the hospice along the way.
“Mum died in the hospice. They were brilliant and we couldn’t have done it without them.
“You don’t realise what a brilliant place it is until you have to use it.”
Terry’s sister Michaela Hamilton, a teacher at Great Wood School in Morecambe, said: “Mum was diagnosed in July 1994 and died six months later, so it was a really quick illness.
“She had chemotherapy first and then radiotherapy, and had several trips to Christie’s.
“After that she was really poorly and by Christmas she was so poorly they took her into the hospice, and that was when she was told it was terminal.
“The hospice helped her deal with that and to tell all the family.
“Mum had decided she wanted to come home to die, and so she came home for about a week but realised she couldn’t do it.
“We spoke to the hospice and they were great, they couldn’t do enough for mum; they sent an ambulance to collect her again that day.
“She was in the hospice for another week until she died.
“It was so tranquil and the care was lovely.
“She was such a special lady. She was really popular; there would always be masses of people around her bed and the hospice never once turned people away.
“It would be an absolute tragedy for the local community if that place closed.
“From the volunteers to the nurses, they are just so special.”
Terry, who works for Stena Line at Heysham Harbour, added: “Up until her diagnosis mum was fit and had never had a day off.
“She went through the whole treatment but was still jolly; the only regret she had was that she might not make it to her 50th birthday, which she didn’t.”
“She was the local schools swimming teacher and ran a swimming school with her sister Margaret Roberts which was based at Kingsway.
“They taught all the local schoolchildren and a lot of people in the area will remember them.
“We are hoping people who remember her or who she taught to swim will donate to the cause.”
Terry is no stranger to marathons, having undertaken two in 2012. He also took part in the cross bay half marathon last summer.
The Seville event falls on February 22, and is the nearest marathon to both Terry’s 50th birthday, which is on January 4, and the date Ann died, January 27.
Terry and Michaela’s brother Warren lives in Benalmadena, Spain, and will be cheering Terry along the way.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/Terry-Starkie/ or by searching ‘Terry Starkie’ or ‘Ann Starkie’ on the Just Giving website.