A Helston funeral director is preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of a new cancer centre after seeing firsthand the devastating effects of the disease.

Jamie Richards, who works for his family's business Pendle Funeral Services, owned and run by his parents Tony and Dee, is fundraising for the Macmillan Cove Appeal.


Jamie, who lives in Gweek, told the Packet: "We're very, very passionate about it. Cornwall is the only county in the country without such a centre.

"You see the often tragic impact cancer has on families' lives and you kind of get a bit frustrated. It's just a little opportunity for us to do something to make a small impact in changing the cancer treatment in the county."

It all began last May when Pendles, as it is known locally, raised a staggering £11,200 for the appeal when it marked its 20th anniversary.

Keen to keep up the momentum, 28-year-old Jamie decided to sign up for the London Marathon, despite not being a runner - and was amazed when he got selected on his first attempt.

"It was quick a shock, but brilliant. I consider myself so fortunate, because there's a lot of very dedicated runners who have never got in," he said.

"It was a once in a lifetime experience and the biggest challenge I could have done - and has also broken me out of the apathy of yo-yo dieting.

He found the training "quite rough" at the start, but since beginning last June he has lost three and a half stone and is now running distances of up to 16 miles at a time.

"I started off not a runner at all; I struggled to even run a kilometre without stopping. But now I absolutely love it," he added.

Jamie, a former Mullion School student, has already smashed his initial target of £2,000 and this week reached his revised target of £3,000, but hopes to keep adding to the total through his fundraising page justgiving.com/Jamie-Richards3

"I wanted to keep the Cove Appeal in people's minds. It's £1million they need to find and it's fast approaching £600,000 [raised], but that's still a long way to go," he explained.

He has worked out that currently every mile of the 26.2-mile route he runs is worth approximately £130 in sponsorship money, and it is this that will keep him going on the day.

Jamie has been supported by his wife Katie, as well as large number of businesses in the area who have given sponsorship and paid to advertise on the back of his running shirt.

He particularly thanked personal trainer Rob WEbb, Alec Robertson of the Black Swan at Gweek and the businesses for their support.