“Eight of us chose to run the Cheltenham Half for Sue Ryder. If Mum were here, she would be doing the same”

Laura Gilder’s mum was cared for by staff at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in 2018. In this blog post, 30-year-old Laura writes about the care that inspired her, and seven of her family members, to line up behind the start line of the Cheltenham Half Marathon last year in support of Sue Ryder.

Laura's mum was a playful and loving woman.

Sue Ryder is an amazing organisation that provides support and care for those in need. The staff at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice embrace you into the family that is Sue Ryder as soon as your enter the front door. You’re always welcome and you are greeted with a smile.

The hospice provided care for my Mum in her final days. She didn’t want to be in hospital and home wasn’t really an option. I had raised money for Sue Ryder previously and had taken part in fundraisers, but I didn’t appreciate everything they did until Mum was there.

"The nurse that was with Mum for her final hours was incredible"

The hospice care team provided round-the-clock care during Mum`s final three days. They gave her a wash and even added her favourite perfume, which is something Mum really appreciated.

One Sue Ryder Nurse kept offering us all cups of tea and I remember saying to her: "I should be offering this to you as you've been on your feet all day doing this job"!

All the staff there do a very difficult job and support you through whatever your loved one may need.

The nurse that was with Mum in her final hours was incredible and allowed us time with Mum, but also made sure Mum was comfortable too.

"The Family Support team has helped me too"

The care doesn’t stop there either. Following Mum's death, I’ve been supported by the Family Support team in the form of counselling. This is something I didn’t know was available, and it has allowed me come to terms with Mum's death.

We decided to support Sue Ryder due to the wonderful care she and we had received. We had also found out that the hospice costs £10,000 a day to run and we wanted to give something back.

The Gilder family Cheltenham Half team.
Laura Gilder, her sister and late mum.
Laura presenting one of her fundraising cheques to Sue Ryder Nurses at Leckhampton Court Hospice.

"We knew Mum would have wanted us to run for Sue Ryder"

As a family, eight of us had signed up to run the Cheltenham Half Marathon, but after Mum died we decided to run it for Sue Ryder. After seeing first-hand what type of care they offered, it was something we chose to do - and we knew Mum would have wanted it as well.

We completed our own training. My sister and uncle who were running joined the Sue Ryder Team Incredible Run Club, which had been specially set up for all the Sue Ryder Cheltenham Half Marathon runners, and I joined Cleeve Ladies who helped with my training.

"The atmosphere was brilliant and the Sue Ryder cheer squad got us round"

The atmosphere at the half marathon was brilliant and every time you saw a Sue Ryder water station or cheer squad, you were given a huge boost. They got us round the route, especially in the final miles round Cheltenham Racecourse!

When we completed the Cheltenham Half, we all wore our Team Incredible jerseys with pride. As well as this, my employer Towergate Insurance - which is where Mum worked too - made a donation to replace all of the mattresses on the unit that Mum was on.

Supporting the hospice has become a real family affair. A month after the Cheltenham Half, friends and colleagues of Mum`s joined me to take part in the 10K Starlight Hike. My sister Emma and two of her colleagues completed the 10km Cheltenham Challenge last year too, wearing their Sue Ryder running tops with pride.

And we took to our bikes to raise funds for the hospice as well. Dad and I completed the 2017 Ride for Ryder with my uncle – the first time I had been on a bike for a very long time! Dad’s cycling again this year too, riding to raise funds for the hospice that is so close to our hearts.

Together we have so far raised £7,525.80. We hope it will help other families get the same comfort and peace that we did from the hospice.

Making Mum proud

When I tell people about our story, the word people often say to me is 'inspirational'. This was all for Mum as we were so proud of her; for her fight with cancer right up to the end. All we want to do is make her proud as well as leave a legacy in her name. And that is what we are all doing.

If Mum was still here, she would be doing the same and supporting Sue Ryder in the same way that we have.

To anyone thinking about signing up to take on an event for Sue Ryder, I would say: "Don’t think about it - just do it". The compassion they show each individual, no matter what you are at the hospice for, is like nothing else.

They wouldn’t be able to do the incredible work without our support, and we are very lucky to have a hospice like it in Gloucestershire.


Run for Team Incredible at this year’s Still Moving Cheltenham Half Marathon 2019 - we still have some places available...

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Team Incredible Run Club

To help keep your training on track, the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Team Incredible Run Club is back for 2019. To be added to the Facebook group sharing all the latest training updates, advice and support, email leckhampton.events@sueryder.org.


Laura Gilder

Daughter of patient

Laura Gilder
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice

Laura’s late mum was cared for by staff at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in 2018. That same year, she rounded up eight members of her family to run the Cheltenham Half Marathon in her memory.