A BARNSLEY mum will take on ten marathons in ten weeks for a children’s hospice in memory of her nine-year-old son’s schoolmate.

Marina Whitwam, from Timothy Wood Avenue, Birdwell, is using her daily lockdown exercise to complete the challenge for Bluebell Wood.

The mum-of-two is raising money in memory of Mia Cusworth, who died days after being diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistioctosis (HLH) in 2018.

A schoolmate of Marina’s son Lewis, the nine-year-old girl’s death shocked the community – with her mum Dawn and her family since raising money for the hospice which helped Mia during the last days of her life.

“It’s a very close-knit community and what happened to Mia left a huge hole,” said Marina, 42.

“Everyone really pulled together and we’ve all tried to do as much as we can to raise funds for Bluebell Wood in her memory.

“I know it’s a tough time for charities right now with so many fundraising events being cancelled so I just wanted to do something positive.

“I’m pushing myself beyond what I would ordinarily do with this one. As long as I stay injury free I have no excuse not to go out and get a few miles in every day.

“I’ve already completed what I called the Boston Marathon last week, now I’m well underway on the London Marathon.

“My little boy has been doing a couple of miles with me on his bike each day too so it’s lovely to spend that time together.”

Sally Baker, Community Fundraising Manager at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’re delighted that Marina has pledged to take on this gruelling challenge for us at what is such an uncertain time for everyone. It really is a wonderful gesture in memory of Mia.

“Thanks to amazing supporters like Marina we will continue to be there for families when they need us the most.”