Clive Lawrence wanted to mark the first anniversary of his mum’s death by completing the Derby 10k and raising money for Treetops Hospice Care in her memory.

But, following the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent postponement of the annual race, his plans are on hold.

Clive, 34, from Borrowash, is a head teacher at St Giles School in Derby – the city’s only special primary school. He had raised just over £1,000 for Treetops, who provided respite for his mum, Angela, and bereavement counselling for his family following her death in March 2019.

Mum and I were very close

He said:

“Mum and I were very close; she was one of a kind – a real character. She had had breast cancer for over 28 years, which became secondary cancer of the brain.

“I was just 13 when Mum was first diagnosed and I didn’t quite understand the implications. She had to have a double mastectomy and, as a teenage boy, I didn’t quite realise how losing your breasts affects you as a woman.

“Mum felt like she’d lost a bit of her identity but she coped remarkably well, wearing high-necked swimsuits when we went on holiday.”

The Lawrence family were dealt a devastating blow when, 20 years after first being diagnosed with breast cancer, Angela suffered a seizure which, following further tests, was revealed to be as a result of secondary brain cancer.

Treetops helped us come to terms with the diagnosis

“Secondary cancer can’t usually be cured,” said Clive, “but it can be treated. I was determined to get Mum the best treatment available and to make her life more comfortable.

“It was at this point that we became involved with Treetops, who helped us, as a family, come to terms with the diagnosis and everything that was to follow.

“Treetops provided a sanctuary for Mum to escape to – to take part in positive wellbeing activities such as crafts, and to make new friends.

Now, more than ever, they need our support

“All the services which they provide are free of charge and they rely on donations to keep providing an invaluable service. Now, more than ever, they need our support.

“When I’m out and about, for example in the supermarket, I’m more aware of the green collection tins dotted around and always make sure that I give a donation of small change.

“I have been overwhelmed by the many kind donations; I’ve more than doubled my initial target of £500 thanks to the amazing support of family, friends, colleagues and parents at St Giles School. One of the pupils even donated his pocket money.

“Running the Derby 10k, around the city where I grew up, was perfect for me and I’m looking forward to pulling on my running shoes and taking part in the re-arranged date.”

Clive was one of a team of seven who’d signed up to complete the Derby 10k for Treetops Hospice Care.

My dad would be proud that we are helping to continue the vital work that Treetops provides

The team also included Paul Stills, 50, from Mackworth:

“It’s unfortunate that the run has been postponed though it gives me a little longer to get fitter for it now so that’s a positive I take from it.

“With the passing of my dad, it has been difficult especially with the added Coronavirus situation. However this makes me even more determined to complete the run and raise as much money as possible for the sake of Treetops and my Dad.

“I am on the way to hitting my target of £1,000 and have more donations promised on completion of the run so that is great. I just want to thank everyone for their support both emotionally and for donating. My dad would be proud and thankful that we are helping to continue the vital work that Treetops provides across the whole community who benefit from their good work.”

Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need. However the charity predicts a huge £1.4m loss in income in the coming months, due to the temporary closure of all their charity shops, and postponement or cancellation of many fundraising events.

The hospice has launched an appeal asking for donations to ensure they can continue to provide its vital Hospice at Home Service throughout the pandemic. Forty-seven devoted hospice nurses are still continuing to care for terminally ill patients at the end of life in their own homes.