A BIG-HEARTED relative of adored schoolgirl Becky Bell is to run a world-famous marathon in her memory.
Steve Hope is to take part in the Virgin London Marathon later this month to raise money for Clic Sargent - the charity which helped beautiful Becky during her battle with a cancerous brain tumour, which claimed her life in January 2012.
Thirty-two-year-old Steve, whose wife Charlotte is Becky’s mum’s cousin, has since ran several half marathon’s in the youngster’s memory, including The Great North Run.
But the London Marathon, on April 26, will be his first full marathon of 26.2 miles.
Dedicated Steve, a technician at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Hartlepool, has been training for the event for the past seven months, practising in bitter cold winter weathers, and on evenings and weekends when he is not at work.
He has managed to run 20 miles in about two hours and 40 minutes, so training ahead of the actual marathon will see him push himself that bit further to reach the distance he needs to complete the event, which is attended by people from across the globe.
Becky was phenomenally looked after by Clic Sargent, so this is to raise money for other poorly children, in her memory.Steve Hope, marathon man
He said: “I knew Becky well and saw her grow up as we went to different family events.
“When she fell ill I saw what a great job Clic Sargent did in helping to look after Becky, so after she died I decided to do the Great North Run in her memory to raise money for the charity.
“I picked up some running shoes and started running and found that I actually enjoyed it.
“After doing the Great North Run and other half marathons, I just thought to myself, ‘I’m going to have a bash at a full marathon’ and started training for the London Marathon.”
Steve, who lives in Seaton Carew, added: “It’s been hard and it’s a long, long way, and it hurts, but it’s worth it.
“Becky was phenomenally looked after by Clic Sargent, so this is to raise money for other poorly children, in her memory.
“Hopefully they will be more fortunate than she was and will get through it.
“I pin a picture of Becky to my back when I’m doing the events. There may be times when I get a bit tired and I just think of her and it gives me a kick.”
Steve believes the race will see him bag about £3,000.