After losing his wife to cervical cancer three years ago, Andrew Hughes knows only too well about the devastating effects of the disease.
And to thank the Macmillan nurses who helped after his wife, Claire, was diagnosed, the 43-year-old, of Broad Hinton, took on a British record attempt by running on a treadmill for 24 hours yesterday.
He started the challenge at Broad Hinton Primary School at 10am and is expected to finish at 10am today – after breaking the previous record of 135 miles.
Mr Hughes said: “The Macmillan nurses have been amazing. I don’t know how I would have coped without them. If Macmillan get the money they can help out more people in the same situation.
“Everybody keeps telling me Claire would be really proud.
I’m sure, like everybody else, she would probably say I was crazy.”
The couple had just returned from their honeymoon in 2007 when they found a letter on the doormat saying Claire’s smear test showed a problem.
Their daughter, Carys, was born in April 2007, and the couple married in November that year. Claire died in September 2009 at the age of 31.
Carys, five, is a pupil at Broad Hinton Primary School and she and her school friends were cheering her dad on.
Mr Hughes, who is also father to Abigail, ten, and Chloe, 14, said: “The children have been brilliant. There was a countdown when I started and all the pupils cheered.
“I have had lots of text messages and phone calls from people supporting me as well.”
He is hoping to raise about £2,000, and has already raised more than £1,000.
Seventy-five per cent will go to Macmillan nurses and the other quarter to the school.
Jane Hughes, one of the event organisers and chairwoman of the friends of Broad Hinton Primary School, said: “Andrew wanted a way of repaying Macmillan for what they have done. He came to me with the idea and from there we have just gone with it.
“All the children are supporting him. They are wearing green for Macmillan or pink for breast cancer in exchange for a donation.”
Andrew thanked Run Swindon, Technogym, Swindon Council and Katharine Francis for their support.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/claire-hughes77 or text RCEH77 to 70070 with amounts between £1 to £10.