A Barnsley mum has conquered an astonishing 10 marathons in 10 weeks in memory of her nine-year-old son’s schoolmate.

The tireless fundraiser has been pounding the pavements come rain or shine over the past 10 weeks, clocking up over 285 miles along the way.

Each week Marina Whitwam, 42, has completed the equivalent of a marathon on her local streets, raising over £1,300 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

The mum-of-two was inspired by the tragic death of her son Lewis’s schoolmate Mia Cusworth in 2018. Mia spent her final moments at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice surrounded by her family after she died of a rare condition just days before her tenth birthday.

Since her death, Mia’s mum Dawn has led efforts to raise tens of thousands for Bluebell Wood, with the whole community rallying behind her.

“What happened to Mia left a huge hole in our community and I really wanted to do something to honour her memory,” said Marina, from Birdwell.

“Bluebell Wood is a fantastic charity who gave, and continue to give, amazing support to Dawn who suffered such an unbearable loss.

“I was planning to take part in Bluebell Wood’s Mud Madness event as part of ‘Team Mia’s Smile’ to raise funds, but unfortunately this and many other events have had to be postponed.

“That’s why I was determined to do something on my own to support Bluebell Wood through these difficult times.”

Starting out in lockdown when outdoor exercise was limited to once a day, Marina’s never faltered from her mission.

“It has been hard at times but it’s absolutely been worth it,” she said.

“It’s really helped me get through lockdown, giving me something to focus on and a reason to get out on my own each morning."

“When I’d finished the final marathon last week I felt really quite emotional, reflecting on why I’d done it and all that’s happened over the past ten weeks.

“And the support I’ve had has been fantastic. I’d like to thank everyone who’s supported me – you’ve really kept me going.”

You can support Marina’s Mission here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marina-whitwam1

Sally Baker, Community Fundraising Manager at Bluebell Wood, said: “What an incredible achievement and such a wonderful gesture in memory of Mia.

“Thanks to amazing people like Marina we’re able to continue to be there for families like Mia’s when they need us the most.”

You can help local families by joining our #LetsPledge campaign here