RIC Clark’s two young sons are determined to keep up their dad’s fundraising legacy.
Oscar, seven, and Sidney, five, have taken part in a special ‘marathon run’ at Cop Lane C of E Primary School in aid of Sports Relief and St Catherine’s Hospice - where their dad died aged 35 in December.
The popular marathon runner lost his battle with peritoneal cancer just days before Christmas, but his family and friends are determined to keep his memory alive.
In a bid to show their support for the Clark family, teachers at Cop Lane C of E Primary School organised the ‘marathon run’ event, with proceeds to be split between both Sports Relief and St Catherine’s Hospice, where Ric died.
During the morning all 207 pupils and more than 30 staff at the school took to the playground to run laps, wearing bright red wigs, lipstick and outfits.
They set off to a blast of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now - one of Ric’s favourite songs.
Headteacher Pam Carter said “Firstly we did this because of Sports Relief and to raise awareness that there’s lots of parts of the world that are very needy.
“But we also wanted to split the sponsorship money with St Catherine’s Hospice as the father of two of our very young children, in years one and two, died there in December.
“It’s our practical way of showing we love and care for them and their family.
“Infact, we’ve made St Catherine’s our charity of the year.”
After a morning of pounding the ground, teachers totted up the number of laps completed, and worked out all runners had managed a total of 27.4 marathons.
Miss Carter added: “We had planned to do this last September with Ric, but he was too poorly.
“It’s been a poignant day for us but it’s been good to celebrate our health.
“The boys have been very proud to be running for their dad, they thought the world of him and it makes your heart sing to see.”
PE teacher Elliot Costas-Walker said: “Richard was a real ‘marathon man’ so this seemed like a fantastic tribute to him, which will raise vital funds for two great charities at the same time.
“As a school we have all been touched by the Clark’s story and wanted to do something positive to show our support and love for them.”
The school hope to raise in the region of £500 from yesterday’s events, to be added to the £120 raised at a recent cake sale.
Ric’s father-in-law John Farnden, 62, said: “I think the school has been quite hit by this and wanted to do something.
“The boys have been very excited to take part in the event.
“The whole family is taking on fundraising events to continue Ric’s legacy, including my London to Paris bike ride on Ric’s bike, and my daughter taking on a 10km in Berkshire.
“We’ve all been inspired by Richard - we wouldn’t have done all this before if it wasn’t for him.”
He added: “They’re very strong, the two boys. They often speak about their daddy and they’re looking forward to joining me out in Paris with his bike.”
Ric, who worked at BAe Systems, overcame stomach cancer in 2014 - and chronicled his battle in the Evening Post - but was last summer that he had incurable peritoneal cancer, that metastasised from his first tumour.
But his illnesses didn’t stop his fundraising efforts - through a series of sporting activities, he managed to raise more than £15,000 for several local causes including a charity for the blind, the intensive care unit at Royal Preston Hospital, and, after his diagnosis, Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Norman Cutler, senior fundraiser at St Catherine’s Hospice, said hospice staff were “extremely touched” by the efforts of everyone at Cop Lane.
He said: “St Catherine’s can only deliver its specialised care and support in Central Lancashire because of the support it receives from local people. The contribution of Cop Lane will be a huge help as we work to raise the £3.7m of the £5m we need this year to be able to deliver our much-needed services.”
To sponsor the teachers in their challenge visit: www.justgiving.com/coplane or visit the Cop Lane CE Primary School website: http://www.coplane.lancsngfl.ac.uk/.