A Tamworth dad is starting a festive fun run organised by the hospice that’s been caring for him since he was diagnosed with cancer nearly four years ago. Simon Welch’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013. Despite his failing health, the former Jaguar worker has been able to remain active with the help of caring staff at St Giles Hospice in Whittington.

Now he’s looking forward to starting the annual Rudolph Run at Tamworth Castle on Sunday, December 3, with his wife Nichola and their three children, Ben, Joshua and Kaytee. Simon and Nichola are calling on families across the region to join the 6km race which is open to anyone over the age of ten.

Nichola said: “At first I thought St Giles Hospice was just somewhere you go to die. I didn’t realise they do all this other wonderful stuff very much for the living!

“I have no idea how we would have managed without the support of St Giles so I’d like to encourage anyone who can to join in the run and support their amazing work.”

In the four years since his devastating diagnosis, Simon – a former rugby player – has had to come to terms with a very different life, facing challenges with everyday tasks like eating and drinking.

“I couldn’t leave the house at first because Simon had quite bad memory loss and couldn’t do little things like get himself a drink,” said Nichola.

“It’s been tough but St Giles has given Simon some freedom and independence. With the right support we’ve discovered there are things he can do and he’s been able to enjoy crafts, exercise classes, jigsaw puzzles and socialising.

“Simon has people he can talk to who understand what he’s going through and both myself and the children have been able to have counselling sessions as well.

“We can’t thank St Giles enough so it will be an honour to start the run.”

Organisers of the Rudolph Run hope the event will raise more than £10,000 for the hospice which relies heavily on donations from the community to provide its specialist services.

Zoe Westwood, fundraising events manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “Our care is all about enabling people to live as well as they can so we’re delighted that Simon’s family will be starting the runners off.

“Their story demonstrates just what a huge difference our care can make to people in our community and events like this help make it all possible.”

Zoe said more than 200 people took part in the run last year, raising £7,800 for St Giles.

She added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for adults and children to put on their finest festive fancy dress and get into the spirit of Christmas for an amazing cause. Participants can run or walk and everyone who takes part will receive a medal and a goody bag.”

To find out more or enter visit: https://www.stgileshospice.com/rudolphrun