Marathon runner Emma – who wishes she’d had our bereavement support 40 years ago
There are just a few weeks, several runs and a handful of pep talks standing in-between Emma Tucker and her London Marathon.
It’ll be her first and she’s taking it on to raise £2,000 for us, because she wishes we’d been around to help her 40 years ago.
On the 7th of February 1979, Emma Tucker’s world fell apart. The excited six-year-old had run to the front door thinking daddy had come home – but it wasn’t him. It was a police officer, there to tell her mother that daddy had been killed in a car accident.
Tom was just 33 and had been driving to see his parents in Surrey. He’d only got as far as Gillingham from their home near Faversham, when a lorry hit him from behind, killing him instantly.
Their mother was left with three children – Emma who was six, Simon who was five and four-month-old Amy.
Now 46, she said: “Back in those days, there wasn’t the understanding of grief that we have now and so we didn’t get the kind of support that HOLG gives.
“I’m now an adult with a huge amount of unresolved grief and it’s affected me all of my life.
“I’m raising money for the charity so they can help children just like me, so they are better equipped throughout their lives to cope with the grief in a way that I never was able to.”
Not only is Emma raising money, but she’s also raising awareness for us too, telling colleagues and other health professionals and families who need to know, all about us.
She’s an NHS Health Visitor and has a good network in which to let people know what we do and who we help.
And she’s also had the chance to meet up with Rosie Moss, who ran the Manchester Marathon earlier in April for us. Rosie’s husband died scuba diving in 2018, leaving her with three children – almost identical ages to Emma and her siblings when their dad died.
The pair went for a run together in preparation for their marathons.
Emma said: “I was one of Rosie’s children – but the difference is, they are getting the support they need from HOLG and will have those coping skills to take them through life which I never got…that kind of help just wasn’t available back then.”
She added: “For a long time, I didn’t know that the bereavement was affecting me and by doing the marathon, it’s not only good for my mental health in terms of exercise and getting outside, but I’m opening up more and finding it easier to talk about it. I’m able to let people know about the charity too, so that more people know who they are and can mention them if the need ever arises.
“It’s so wonderful what they do and supporting them means a lot to me.”
Emma’s training got off to a bad start with an ankle injury and a bout of flu, but she’s now confident that she’ll do OK.
She said: “What I lack in training I make up for in willpower. I can’t wait to get out there and do the run – with my family coming to watch, it’s going to be such a brilliant day!”
Our CEO Caroline Ford, said: “Taking on a marathon is a big commitment but these two ladies have got completely stuck in and are going for it!
“We’ll be supporting them all the way and are so thankful for their help because the money ensures we can offer bereavement support to those who need it.
“Emma is an example of how a life can be affected when this vital help is not in place and her raising money to help children not to feel the way she has for a long time is amazing.”
Emma is hoping to raise £2,000 – and is looking for more donations.
You can make yours here.
Please take a look around our website to find out more about what we do and how we can help.
If you’d like to get in touch, here are our details:
03445 611 511