A NORTH Berwick runner is heading to the start line of the Edinburgh Half Marathon on Sunday morning in memory of her father, who died of cancer when she was only four years old.

Daisy Thomas, 22, took up running only a year ago and, due to her dad's love of the sport, she decided to take on the 13.1-mile challenge.

She is running to commemorate her dad, who died at the age of 41 and would have celebrated his 60th birthday this year.

Derek Thomas, Daisy's father, died in October 2005 after a 21-month battle with a brain tumour and previously suffering from seizure on his 40th birthday; he spent his last three months of life in Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, with Daisy and her family visiting on a number of occasion.

Daisy has now decided to raise funds for the charity.

Daisy grew up with brother Max in Dunbar for a short time but, after her father passed away, their mum Laura Thomas relocated them to Edinburgh. They moved back to North Berwick in 2019 and they have lived at the new CALA Homes development near North Berwick Law ever since.

'A special place in our hearts'

Daisy, who works as a project manager, said: "Dad died from a brain tumour 21 months after his diagnosis. He suffered a seizure whilst on a snowboarding holiday in France for his 40th birthday.

"Whilst being cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, I remember visiting him and playing in the gardens with my brother. The nurses would bring dad out in a wheelchair so he could see us play and we were able to speak to him.

“As a family, the hospice holds a special place in our hearts.

"Mum has done some fundraising for Marie Curie, including hosting a ‘Dance for Derek’ soon after he died, and she completed a trek in Iceland in his memory. She also ended up working at the hospice as part of the fundraising team.

“Even though I was only four years old at the time of my dad’s passing, I never forgot about the difference Marie Curie made to us a family. That’s why I’ve decided to run the half marathon to raise funds for them at the Edinburgh Marathon this month.

“Dad would have turned 60 in February and he was a keen runner. It makes sense that I do this in his memory.

"Up until last year, I had never covered long-distance running but, living in North Berwick, I’m fortunate to have so many lovely running routes.

“When the sun is shining, nothing beats a run along the beach but, if it’s raining, I prefer to go to the gym and run on a treadmill.

"I have been unfortunate to suffer some injuries along the way but, thanks to a great physio, I’ve been able to keep up my training.”

"I have got the running bug and next year I may take on the full Edinburgh Marathon.”

The Edinburgh Marathon takes runners past iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat, then down the East Lothian coastline.

Fiona Bushby, community fundraiser, Marie Curie Scotland, said: “We’re all behind Daisy as she takes on the Edinburgh Half Marathon. Marie Curie is always with families, even when their loved one has died. To have Daisy run in memory of her dad, Derek, whilst raising funds for us, shows the lasting impact the charity has.

"It’s through selfless fundraisers, like Daisy and her mum Laura, that we can continue providing care and support to terminally people and their loved ones.”

Visit justgiving.com/page/daisy-thomas-1706304294071 to donate.