After taking up running during the first lockdown, Joe Filsell wanted something to aim for. With encouragement from a friend, he has decided to run the 2021 Eastbourne Half Marathon in support of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, where his mum Gail spent her final days in 2018.

‘I suffer from anxiety, so during the first lockdown when I couldn’t see my family and the dogs, I decided that I needed to do something that was productive and positive. I had tried to take up running before but didn’t get very far with it, so this time I was looking for something to aim for and my friend persuaded me to do the Eastbourne Half Marathon. It will be the first time I’ve ever done something like this.’

When Joe first signed up to do the half marathon and saw that he could set up a JustGiving page for charity, he instantly thought of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

‘I'm raising this money because I've seen the effect that the hospice has first hand,’ he said. ‘Every day Mum was there she was treated with dignity and respect by staff and volunteers alike. I couldn't have asked for a better place for her to leave this world.’

Gail was originally diagnosed with cancer in the bladder in June 2018. After the team at the hospital did all they could, she was admitted to our Inpatient Unit. Gail had a room that opened out onto the Orchard Garden at the back of the hospice, perfect for when their two black Labradors, Gali and Ivy, came to visit.

In an interview for our Reaching Out magazine before she died, Gail said: ‘Things are thought of and worked out before you even realise they need to be done. The teams here work so well together and that takes all the stress away.’

‘She was the centre of the family,’ said Joe. ‘She worked in the village pub and everyone knew her; she was loved by everyone. We had the largest room at the crematorium in Eastbourne and people still had to stand.

‘When I’ve been running and surpassed a personal best all I’ve wanted to do is tell her. It would make her so proud.’

Joe has been training a couple of times a week with friends, which he says has helped massively. Within weeks he has knocked a huge amount of time off his personal best, going from running a 5K in 37 minutes to around 30 minutes.

We would like to wish Joe all the best with his continued training and fundraising, and can’t wait to support him at the half marathon next year.

If you would like to support Joe, you can visit his JustGiving page here. The funds raised will enable St Wilfrid’s to continue providing care and support to patients and their loved ones, like Gail and Joe, in the future. 

You can register to take part in the Eastbourne Half Marathon 2021 here