With a little help from my friends
A MAN who lost his wife and two children in a car accident has raised £26,000 for an organisation that has continued to support him through his grief. Andrew Gitsham, of Gainsborough Avenue in Eaton Ford, lost his wife Stacey, 26, two-year-old son Josh a
A MAN who lost his wife and two children in a car accident has raised £26,000 for an organisation that has continued to support him through his grief.
Andrew Gitsham, of Gainsborough Avenue in Eaton Ford, lost his wife Stacey, 26, two-year-old son Josh and baby daughter Georgia, when a lorry collided with their BMW on the A1 near Eaton Ford last December.
In the weeks and months following the crash that turned Andrew's world upside down volunteers from the Cruse bereavement charity helped him cope with his loss. In a bid to try to give something back to the charity that he says has "helped him through his darkest hours", Andrew pledged to raise £20,000 for them by running his first ever marathon.
On Sunday, September 10, Andrew and 18 of his friends took part in the 26-mile Robin Hood race in Nottingham, and raised thousands of pounds in memory of Stacey, Josh and Georgia.
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Andrew said: "The support we got on the day was just fantastic. We all started the race strongly, despite the heat and the hills - which are quite a struggle when you're used to running around flat St Neots. It was going well for me until the 14th mile when my knee just went. It meant hobbling for the next few miles, but even if I'd broken my leg I would have continued"
Andrew and his team were supported on the day by a band of Team Gitsham supporters who waved banners and helped them keep going.
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The first of the Team Gitsham group crossed the finishing line after three hours and 48 minutes and Andrew followed with a race time of five hours, 28 minutes.
Andrew said: "As the finish line came into view I saw Stacey's parents, Sue and Pete, waiting for me and I just burst into tears. The emotion of completing the race, knowing why I was there and what it meant for all of us, was just overwhelming
"I have spent so many months focusing on the marathon and it's given me something to strive for, something to help me through the really difficult times.
"My bereavement counsellor and the Cruse charity have given me tremendous support, and I feel proud that we have raised this money for them, which will go towards helping to others in their times of need.
"I'll never get over losing Stacey, Josh and Georgia. They were my whole life. I will keep going and I will find a way to rebuild my life - that's what they would have wanted - but I will always keep them in my thoughts and my heart. I would like to thank everyone who donated money to our cause and helped us smash our £20,000 target.
"I would also like to thank my friends and family for their continued support, and to all those who ran with me in the Robin Hood race. I can't really say thank you enough to the team and all our supporters."
Half the money raised will go directly to the Huntingdon branch of Cruse, with the remaining money going to Cruse nationally.
* James Wingfield, 36, from Coventry, pleaded guilty to three counts of causing death by dangerous driving at Peterborough Crown Court on June 23 in connection with the crash in which Stacey, Josh and Georgia Gitsham died. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
INFORMATION: To sponsor the Gitsham team visit www.justgiving.co.uk/gitsham or send donations, marked Team Gitsham, to Cruse Bereavement Care, Central Office, Cruse House, 126 Sheen Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1UR.