East London father to run marathon as labour of love

A father--of-two whose son died at Richard House Children’s Hospice will be setting off to complete his 64th marathon in April in his memory.

Bob Kelman, originally from near Kilmarnock, in Scotland, has been training from near his home in Bow, east London, for the past few weeks.

The Serco worker, whose job takes him past Richard House, in Beckton, each day, is hopes to complete the London Marathon on April 22 for his son Jude, who died in November 2009 at the children’s hospice.

And Bob, 47, said it would be a fitting memorial for Jude who was just 14-months-old when he passed away.

He said: “Jude was born with Down’s Syndrome but it wasn’t until he began suffering from childhood epilepsy at six months that we realised just how poorly he was. Each time he had a fit, he would become more and more brain damaged.

“On his final trip to hospital in November 2009, he was having incredible difficulty breathing and the doctors lead us into a room to say there was nothing more they could do.

“We tried to take it in our stride – I don’t even remember crying that day – because it just doesn’t hit you straight away. Before that we had always found a way to cope.”

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It was then that Bob and his wife Jo heard about Richard House, London’s oldest children’s hospice.

He said: “Richard House was suggested to us and, although we were initially wary of going to a hospice, the staff and the environment was just wonderful.

“We were there two days before he died. Our whole family came and we have such positive memories to treasure. This marathon is my chance to give something back.”

Richard House supports more than 250 families caring for children and young people suffering from life-limiting, life-threatening and complex healthcare conditions.

You can help Bob raise money for Richard House by sponsoring him at www.justgiving.com/judekelman4ever.

For more information on Richard House Children’s Hospice contact Manjeet Boparai on (020) 7540 0204 or visit www.richardhouse.org.uk