Personal trainer Matt Halls will be running the Eastbourne Half Marathon for the second time on March 3rd, but he won’t be able to rest after finishing the 13.1-mile course, as he’s challenging himself to perform a burpee for every £1 he raises in aid of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Matt is running the race in memory of his mum, Jacqueline Halls-Bryan, who died at the hospice in 2017 following a battle with secondary breast cancer of the bone that eventually spread to her liver.

The date of the race is a poignant one for Matt: March the 3rd is Jacqueline's birthday and it will also mark the two-year anniversary of her death. He last took part in the Eastbourne Half on Mothering Sunday three years ago, with Jacqueline cheering him on at the sidelines. It was the last Mother’s Day they spent together.

Jacqueline, who was bed-bound at home with late-stage cancer, was initially reluctant to come to St Wilfrid’s. She saw hospices as gloomy, miserable places, but as Matt says: ‘It’s so open and lively here. Everyone is so happy.’

The hospice also relieved Matt of the pressures of caring for his mum. As he said: ‘When I came here, I didn’t have to think of everything myself; I was able to feel like her son again.’

In the four days that Jacqueline was at St Wilfrid’s, Matt and his brother slept in her room on the Inpatient Unit every night. In the mornings, the volunteers would offer him tea and toast.

Jacqueline died the afternoon of March 3rd 2017 - her birthday. When she first received her cancer prognosis she promised she would make it to that special day.

Matt used the counselling service at the hospice three months prior to Jacqueline’s death and returned after the loss of his nan four months later. He felt lucky to have some professional support during this time: ‘I know others who have had a similar experience but did not have the benefit of counselling.’

Matt described his experience of needing St Wilfrid’s as ‘Horrible, but nice. It helped to make the best of a bad situation.’

After putting up his challenge on Facebook and JustGiving just over a week ago, Matt has already raised more than £500 in sponsorship - that’s a lot of burpees!

Matt said he’s been ‘So overwhelmed by the response so far. I’ve been quite humbled,’ and even strangers have contributed to Matt’s sponsorship fund after seeing his story on social media.

Matt is expecting around 30 friends and family to turn out in support on the day, but it’s fair to say that some don’t share his enthusiasm: ‘My grandad thinks I’m nuts - he doesn’t understand burpees - he thinks that 20 is enough...’

If you would like to sponsor Matt, visit his JustGiving page or Facebook fund