London Marathon 2021: widower, 70, to run race for ‘soulmate and partner of 39 years’ who died of cancer

After three years of sheer determination Trevor Hardwell is finally fundraising for the palliative team who cared for his poorly wife in her final moments

Trevor Hardwell has always held out hope that one day he would race for the hospice who cared for his beloved late wife, Rosalind.

After already racing two London Marathons for MacMillan Cancer Support, the 70-year-old has raised more than £5,000 to help people with the life-limiting illness.

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‘It’s finally happening’

This year’s race will be extra special for the former housing officer after he secured an official ballot for Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

“It took me by surprise, I was not expecting to race for the hospice. I had given up hope as time went on,” he said.

“The call came out of the blue and shocked me. It has taken a long while to sink in that it’s finally happening.”

Trevor, of Northampton, lost his wife, affectionately known as Ros, 71, to cancer in January 2017.

Ros was diagnosed with breast cancer back in March 2015 before the illness spread to her ribs and spine.

Ros (pictured wearing the red top and green running shorts) took part in the London Marathon back in 1982.

‘She was my soulmate’

The pair, who met at work in Bristol, had been together for almost 40 years before she died.

"I lost my friend, soulmate, confidant and partner of 39 years to cancer,” he said.

"I miss Rosalind so much it’s impossible to describe how I feel.”

Trevor and Ros were together for almost 40 years before she passed away.

Without close family to turn to, Cynthia Spencer Hospice became a lifeline for Trevor.

Since Ros’s death, he has thrown his time and effort into helping patients and volunteers by driving them to the hospice wellbeing centre each week before Covid firmly put a stop to visitors.

‘It’s an unbelievable organisation’

Now, Trevor is part of the befriending service and calls patients each week to coach them through their cancer treatment.

“It’s a hospice but to me it’s a support network,” he added. “It’s an unbelievable organisation and it’s such a happy place.

“I’ve never known such incredible staff, volunteers and patients. I’ve not got any close family and the organisation have taken me under their wing.

“I’m getting just as much out of calling the patients as they are. It makes me feel better about life and carrying on.”

In 2018, Trevor put his running shoes back on for the first time since 1998.

He was inspired by Ros’ love of running when she raced the London Marathon in 1982 for St John’s Ambulance.

His first marathon three years ago was only the beginning of his love affair with athletics as the following year he ran alongside Ros’s specialist palliative care nurse, Lisa Whelan, who both crossed the finish line raising £6,000.

Trevor and palliative ​nurse Lisa Wheelan raced the London Marathon in 2019, raising £6,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support (image: Kirsty Edmonds)

Fast forward 18 months since the London Marathon was cancelled in 2020, Trevor has been running four times each week.

On Sunday, October 3 the end is finally in sight as thousands will descend on the starting line at Blackheath in London.

“It’s hard to believe that I’m actually running that far,” he added. “I think Ros would probably think I am mad.

“I got her into running in 1982 and she saw it through then and I’m doing the same thing now.

“I know that I have got her support and confidence behind me.”

‘We know how proud he is’

Sarah Denston, events coordinator at Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity said: “We’re so pleased for Trevor that he finally has a place to run the London Marathon to raise money for the hospice.

“He’s been a wonderful supporter and volunteer for Cynthia Spencer for many years and we know how proud he is to run the marathon in our name and raise money in memory of his dear wife, Ros who was cared for by our community nursing team.

“We wish him the very best of luck and would encourage everyone who can, to sponsor him and put a guess in for his finishing time.”

Trevor is hoping to raise £1,250 and is giving away prizes for fundraisers who guess his running time here.

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