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Tom Richford from Birchington to run the London Marathon in memory of son Harry

By Katie Davis

A father who heartbreakingly lost his son at just seven days old has channelled his grief into raising more than £10,000 for charity.

Now, Tom Richford is set to continue his fundraising mission in memory of his son, Harry, by running the London Marathon on Sunday, April 28.

Harry was just one week old when he died on November 9, 2017 after suffering from hypoxia.

Tom Richford training for the London Marathon (8442484)
Tom Richford training for the London Marathon (8442484)

Mr Richford and his wife Sarah, who both work in secondary schools, were supported by the charity Bliss, which supports babies born sick or premature, and their families.

“When Sarah and I lost Harry, our world fell apart,” Mr Richford, from Birchington, said. “Frankly, we didn’t know what to do.

“In early 2018, we decided to raise money for Bliss by carrying out sporting events at our schools, Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School and Herne Bay High School.”

Last June, Mr Richford, along with colleague Clark Goodwin, completed 24 different sports within 24 hours in aid of Bliss, ticking off activities including swimming, squash and dodgeball.

Harry suffered from hypoxia
Harry suffered from hypoxia

It smashed its £3,000 target, and together with Mrs Richford’s fundraiser, the couple collected more than £10,000 in donations.

The 30-year-old added: “We both found it a great focus for our grief.

“But once the Bliss fundraising was over and the investigations and inquiries went on into Harry’s death, I needed another focus, so I applied for the London Marathon.

“I decided to raise money for Child Bereavement UK, who do such valuable work when a child passes away.

“We know from personal experience that losing a child creates a hole in your life which can never be filled. Charities such as Child Bereavement UK are a huge support to families like ours.”

Mr Richford has been busy pounding the pavements in preparation for the marathon.

“This is my first marathon,” he added. “It has been a real challenge to train for but one that will be well worth it when it’s complete and nowhere near the challenge people who lose children face."

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