A TEACHER is preparing to run a marathon in memory of a former pupil at her school.
Laura Tovey is taking on gruelling 26.2 miles in the Brighton marathon in tribute to Olivia Winter, 10, who died last year.
Last September, Olivia, who went to Heathfield Special School in Fareham, died after suffering complications after heart surgery.
She had supraventricular tachycardia – an abnormally high heart rhythm – and hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped.
Laura, 27, said: ‘I love my job as you get to see the children learn and grow as they progress through the school.
‘Olivia was the life and soul of any party.
‘She’d bounce into school every morning with barely a backward glance, but come home time she was always thrilled to bits to see her mum waiting at the door.
‘Every single member of staff knew Olivia, whether she was in their class or not, due to her inquisitive nature.’
Laura is running the marathon to raise money for staff at Southampton General Hospital, who cared for Olivia.
Olivia’s mum Sandra Winter, 45, added: ‘She’s amazing. Olivia loved her to bits as a teacher.
‘I’m so grateful that she’s doing it to raise funds for E1.
‘It will be very gratefully received. They are amazing.
‘It’s wonderful – what an effort to make.
‘It makes me feel so proud that my daughter had that sort of impact on Laura to make her want to do that.
‘I can’t speak highly enough of her. I was blown away when she said she wanted to do it.’
Laura added: ‘As a school we were devastated when Olivia died. She passed away around five months ago, yet the loss still feels as real now as it did then. I cannot imagine how much worse it must be for her family.
‘Olivia was in my class and I’m not ashamed to admit her death hit me hard.
‘I felt I wanted to do something to say thank you to the E1 ward at Southampton General Hospital who worked tirelessly throughout Olivia’s 10 short years to ensure she was the happy little girl we all knew and loved.’
To make a donation please visit justgiving.com/Laura-Tovey1.