Rother Valley runner raises £1,000 for hospice

We’ve been given a £1,000 boost after a big-hearted runner completed his first ever half marathon in memory of his father.

Joe Vaughan (24) ran the half marathon in just over two hours, around Rother Valley Country Park on 26 June 2023, in sweltering 30-degree heat, a year to the day since his dad William (Bill) Vaughan passed away, to remember him and say thank you to St John’s Hospice for his care.

Joe said: “Towards the end of 2021, everything was completely normal until Dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, then everything in our lives was tipped upside down in a heartbeat.

Joe’s dad William ‘Bill’ Vaughan

“We all remained hopeful in the fact that he was not one to admit defeat to anything in life, but his health deteriorated quite rapidly, and he needed to spend a lot of time in St John’s Hospice during his last few months, where all the nurses and staff were always welcoming, friendly, and most importantly helped manage his pain, even when he was at home.

“The Hospice has a beautiful, peaceful shared garden at the back, and Dad enjoyed sitting outside, taking in the fresh air and having a cup of tea with his family – so much so there were times he preferred the hospice to home – which is why I chose to dedicate and donate this money to the Hospice.”

He added: “The run and the conditions really pushed me to my limits, and I couldn’t walk properly for the next few days; but to me that was nothing, after seeing Dad go through all that he went through, that’s what true courage and strength is, it only cemented in my mind how strong and courageous he was in his battle.

“He will always be my hero and I hope in the future to do many more things to raise money for good causes in his name, so his memory will live on forever.

“Thank you to all my friends, family and anyone who donated, it meant the absolute world to see all the love that was shown for this, and without them we wouldn’t have raised anywhere near as much as we did, so thank you!”

St John’s Hospice Fundraiser Lindsey Richards said: “On behalf of St John’s Hospice and all our team I’d like to say a massive thank you to Joe for choosing to support us in this way.

“I’m sure his dad Bill would be very proud of his achievement and the lovely tribute he’s paid to him.

“This generous donation will go towards helping other patients and families who need our support.”

Joe Vaughan is pictured with his mum Jane after completing his half-marathon.