Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Daughter races just days after tragedy
JUST six days after her dad died from cancer, brave Tia Ward ran in the Swindon Race for Life in his memory on Sunday.
Derek Ward, 60, from St Margarets Mead, Marlborough, died on Monday last week, only a month after he had been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas.
He was cremated on Friday and 48 hours later Tia, 23, who works for an international company based in Swindon, ran the five kilometre Race For Life at Lydiard Park that is organised by Cancer Research UK to raise funds to help beat the disease.
She raised £800 in sponsorship from friends and family and ran with the message on her back For Dad June 9 and Auntie Val February 6 2006I love you.
Her father's sister Valerie Ward also died from cancer just over two years ago.
Mr Ward, an engineer, grew up believing he would die by the time he was 55.
He survived a heart attack at 58 but two years later his life was claimed by cancer.
Mr Ward's wife Geraldine was at his bedside at the Prospect Hospice with their daughter when he died.
Mr and Mrs Ward were married for 26 years and she revealed: "We detested each other when we were younger."
She was a lifeguard at the former open-air pool in Marlborough and frequently had to blow her whistle to tick him off.
"I used to tell him off for running and dive bombing," she said. "He told me he thought I was bossy."
In 1981 they met again at a carnival tug-of-war contest and they married and had one daughter, Tia.
Mrs Ward said: "Derek was so proud of Tia when she graduated from Cambridge with a business and modern languages degree."
Mr Ward invariably wore cowboy boots and his wife said: "If there is such a thing as reincarnation I know he would have loved to come back as a cowboy."
He was a voluntary worker for some years with special needs adults at the former Postern House in Marlborough and had contemplated a career change, his wife said.
Daughter Tia said: "He had a gift for not treating them (the handicapped) any different to everyone else and he was their great friend."
For another runner in the Race For Life just completing the five kilometre course was a huge achievement.
Ten months ago mother-of-three Jackie Coombs could barely climb the stairs.
But more than six stone lighter she raised £238 for charity by walking the Race for Life course on Sunday.
Mrs Coombs, 39, of Sandleaze, Worton, near Devizes, said: "This has been a real achievement for me.
"This time last year I couldn't have contemplated walking that distance.
"Even to walk up stairs was hard enough."
Mrs Coombs had lost the extra weight through the Devizes branch of Slimming World. She completed the Race for Life in 52 minutes.
She said: "When I finished my nine-year-old son Shane came running up to me, threw his arms around me, and said, well done, mum! It was worth it just for that."