Romford 8-year-old taking on Fairlop Waters fun run in memory of Barking great grandad
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 October 2019
An eight-year-old girl is joining in a fun run 5k for the hospice that cared for her great grandad and hopes he will be cheering her on from heaven.
Tilly Hallett, of Romford, will be taking part in the annual Frankie's Festive Fun Run on December 8 at Fairlop Waters Country Park, Barkingside.
Tilly found out her beloved great grandad Norman Robinson, of Barking, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had only six to 12 months to live by overhearing a telephone call her mum was having.
When caring for him became too difficult on his wife Jessie, they turned to Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-atte-Bower, for support.
While her great grandad was taken care of and his spirits lifted, Tilly was in agony.
Mum Nicole said: "Tilly went downhill very quickly. She was suffering from separation anxiety and didn't want to leave me or go to school."
The charity's Family Support team stepped in to help Tilly and provide her with pre-bereavement therapy at her school.
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Tilly learned how to process her feelings through art therapy.
She said: "In art therapy, I draw pictures of Grandad, and I put them in a folder to keep forever. He always tried to cheer us up when we felt sad, and he made Nanny happy."
Norman spent the final four weeks of his life at the hospice before dying last Christmas.
Tilly said the therapy helped her get back on her feet and now she wants to put them to good use and run to raise money for Saint Francis. She is going to wear a special T-shirt with a picture of Norman on it.
Tilly said she still misses her great grandad but wanted to support the charity that cared for him in his final weeks.
She said: "I know Grandad will cheer me on from heaven."
Saint Francis Hospice provides free care and help to more than 4,000 people across Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood.
The fun run will include an event village, Santa's grotto and a Christmas market, as well as a host of seasonal warm refreshments and food. Don't forget to put on your favourite fancy dress outfit and stand a chance of winning the fancy dress competition.
Information for the fun run can be found at www.sfh.org.uk/fun-run.