Southsea mum laces up to take on New York Marathon in memory of her son

Anne Yendell with her children Alice and Olly Gellett - Olly died after contracting swine flu
Anne Yendell with her children Alice and Olly Gellett - Olly died after contracting swine flu
Picture: SWNS

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  • Anne Yendell and her boy Olly Gellett had always dreamt of running together
  • Tragically, Olly died of swine flu just days after Mother’s Day
  • His mum now hopes to raise enough cash to pay for a special dog that will help disabled people
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A GRIEVING mother will push herself to the limit this week as she tackles a marathon in memory of her son.

Anne Yendell will be jetting off to the US to take part in Sunday’s New York Marathon as a tribute to her boy Olly Gellett.

The loving duo had always dreamt of attempting the iconic race in the Big Apple.

But tragically in March Olly died suddenly of swine flu leaving his family and friends heartbroken.

The 22-year-old, who volunteered with the Portsmouth and Southsea Voluntary Lifeguards, fell ill on Mother’s Day with what he thought was a heavy cold.

But four days later Anne found Olly unconscious at their Southsea home and despite their best efforts, paramedics were unable to revive him.

It’s amazing how many people’s lives he touched. I’m flabbergasted at how popular he was and how much he cared for people

Anne Yendell

Now the mum-of-two has vowed to keep his memory alive. She will complete their dream marathon on her own as she marks what would have been his 23rd birthday.

She will run 26.2 miles, cheered on by daughter Alice, 26. Anne, 54, said: ‘Olly, Alice and I had always dreamt of running the marathon together.

‘Now, as a way of focusing on my grieving, I have been running a lot so I decided I’d do the marathon we had always talked about doing as it’s around his birthday.

‘It’ll also be poignant as Olly worked at Camp America in New York for three seasons and he spent a lot of time in the city.’

Anne hopes her feat will raise enough cash to provide a disabled person with a special life-changing assistance dog named after Olly.

The puppy will be trained by Midhurst-based charity Canine Partners to carry out a range of everyday tasks from opening doors to helping people get dressed. It will then go on to transform the life of a disabled person who it will be paired with.

Anne, who is the charity’s fundraising director, said: ‘Olly always helped others and I think he would absolutely love that there is going to be an assistance dog named after him.

‘It’s amazing how many people’s lives he touched. I’m flabbergasted at how popular he was and how much he cared for people.’

Anne has smashed her initial fundraising target of £5,000, which will pay for the puppy’s initial training.

She now hopes to raise another £15,000

To donate, see justgiving.com/fundraising/Anne-Yendell3 or for details on the charity visit, caninepartners.org.uk.