Teacher to run London Marathon in memory of inspirational St Neots teen

Teacher Ryan Thomas will take on the London Marathon in memory of Andy Madden from St Neots.

Teacher Ryan Thomas will take on the London Marathon in memory of Andy Madden from St Neots. - Credit: Family

A teacher who formed a close bond with a St Neots teenager – who tragically died of cancer – will take on the London Marathon to raise money in his memory. 

Andy Madden was just 16-years-old when he lost his battle with lymphoma April this year – he had been diagnosed just eight months earlier after an emergency splenectomy.  

The inspirational teen, who had a love of aircraft and geography, fought until the end with the support of his family and friends – and one special teacher. 

Ryan Thomas was Andy’s form teacher at Gretton School in Cambridge, and when he heard Andy was ill, he knew he wanted to be by his side. 

Andy was autistic and had a love for knowledge and learning. 

Andy Madden was just 16 when he died of cancer in April this year. 

Andy Madden was just 16 when he died of cancer in April this year. - Credit: Family

Mr Thomas said: “I was so privileged to spend every Friday afternoon for four months throughout Covid with special access to visit Andy in Addenbrookes.

“It was just to read, chat, talk nonsense, be reminded I'm the most arrogant teacher ever, laugh and reflect.” 

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The marathon, on this Sunday (October 3), is not only a way for Mr Thomas to come to terms with his grief, but it will also be raising money for the charity Children with Cancer UK. 

Andy’s mum, Theresa, was overwhelmed by Mr Thomas’ support, and shared her tribute for Andy with The Hunts Post. 

She wrote: “We would never have thought about Andy getting cancer. He spent months in the hospital recovering from surgery and receiving chemotherapy.  

“With Covid restrictions, he felt very isolated. He always loved to read, so he made use of his time reading anything he could get his hands on.  

“He not only loved to learn, he loved to share his knowledge with others. He mostly bore his illness without complaint, even when he was in pain.  

“His visits with Mr Thomas were a great consolation. 

 “There aren't enough words to describe how amazing Andy was. He didn't just look at things, he noticed the tiny details.   

“He was one of the most interesting people I've ever known. His brother Chris was a year younger, and the two were (mostly) the best of friends. 

“I never expected to outlive my son. This is a deep grief that I'm sure I share with so many other parents.  

“It's a grief that I hope few other parents ever have to experience.  

“It is so amazing to me that Mr Thomas is willing to run a gruelling marathon to raise money to help other families who are going through what we've been through.” 

Andy’s father, Jonathan, added: “Andy's great love of planes, aircraft, geography, and computers and his willingness to share his extensive knowledge of these topics with anyone who would listen will, I'm sure, always be remembered by all who had the privilege of meeting him.” 

To donate to Ryan Thomas’ marathon fundraiser, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=RyanThomas28&pageUrl=1