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Son to complete mother’s final marathon to raise funds in her memory

Mark Searle is determined to honour his mother's legacy and raise vital funds for Hospiscare, her "fifth child"

An Exeter-born man is determined to complete his mother’s final marathon to honour her memory and raise vital funds for the charity that she helped found.

Mark Searle will run the 2022 London Marathon on Sunday 2 October in memory of his mum, Liz Searle.

A man wearing black smiling at the camera

Mark Searle, son of Hospiscare founders John and Liz Searle

In 1982, Dr John Searle and his wife Liz, along with a small dedicated committee, founded Hospiscare to provide specialist end-of-life care to the people of Exeter. Thanks to their dedication and the support of the community, our hospice charity has grown over the course of 40 years to care for people across Exeter, Mid and East Devon living with a terminal illness.

Last year, Liz embarked on her tenth marathon for Hospiscare, whom she described as her “fifth child”. Sadly, Liz was pulled off the course at mile 19 due to ill health. Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in her bones and died aged 78 on 29 December 2021.

A woman in a marathon vest with a man holding her

Liz Searle running the 2021 London Marathon, being cheered on by her husband, John. This photo was taken at mile six and Liz was pulled from the course at mile 19.

Mark is one of ten runners taking on this year’s London Marathon in aid of Hospiscare and he is determined to complete the challenge to honour Liz’s legacy. He has also pledged to complete his mother’s 2021 marathon, which means adding seven miles to the existing 26.2 mile route.

Liz was a dedicated fundraiser for Hospiscare and her marathon challenges raised £86,000 for the local charity that she was such a pivotal part of founding. Following donations made at Liz’s funeral, the total she has raised to date is an incredible £92,000.

Mark is rallying together friends, family and his local community to get behind his cause and raise £8,000 to bring Liz’s fundraising for Hospiscare to a grand total of £100,000.

An elderly woman smiling at the camera in a garden

Liz Searle before her diagnosis

At the time of writing, Mark is almost half way towards his £8,000 goal and says, “Several times during the previous ten years, I have had the privilege of running with my mum and my brother Tim. Every time she raised money for Hospiscare, a cause that was so special to her and to all of my family. It was the team from Hospiscare that helped us all look after Mum in the last precious weeks we had with her. She has now crossed the finish line and received her crown.

“This year, I am running for Mum and I’m going to try and make my marathon more special by completing Mum’s last seven miles, either on the day or in the preceding week. Please give me a thought, a prayer and a donation to Mum’s charity, Hospiscare.”

To donate to Mark’s challenge in memory of Liz Searle and make a difference to local end-of-life care, please click here.