A five-year-old has raised more than £1,200 for the hospice which cared for his granddad – by taking on a two-mile run.
Felix Hodgetts, from Worcester, decided to run the St Richard’s Hospice Santa Dash in memory of his granddad Mike, who died in November 2018.
Mike Hodgetts had cancer and was cared for by the Worcester-based hospice during the last months of his life.
In December 2018, Felix – along with his dad Chris and aunt Cath – decided to take on the Santa Dash to remember their much-loved granddad and dad.
“I decided that I would run as fast as I could because the faster I ran the more money I would raise,” said Felix.
“It was so much fun but really hard work. When we finished we got given a medal, a hot chocolate and a mince pie. It was brilliant.”
Felix has decided to run every year to remember his granddad and hopes his sister – and the rest of his family will join him.
The young fundraiser was joined by 230 other Santas for the run along the river Severn in Worcester – helping to raise a combined total of more than £8,500 for the hospice’s care to patients with serious, progressive illnesses, their families and bereaved people.
Since completing the run, Felix has worked with his dad to write a story exploring his memories of his much-loved granddad. To read his story, scroll down.
Chris Hodgetts, who is Felix’s dad, said: “During the last months of his life he was lovingly cared for by the team at St Richard’s Hospice.
“In the whole time Mike was with St Richard’s, the fun-loving staff brightened every day for Mike and the entire family.
“For that and the truly exceptional care you gave him, we can never truly express our gratitude.”
My father through the eyes of my son, aged five
I miss Grandpa, I think about him all the time.
Daddy says that Grandpa and I were mischief buddies always laughing and being silly. He says that when we were together the whole room lit up.
I really do miss Grandpa.
Grandpa and I would play football in his garden, build Lego, go to my favourite park (I call it Grandpa’s park), play horses, read books, play the marble game or cars or board games or cards or…..I can’t quite remember.
I don’t want to forget Grandpa!
Sometimes on a Sunday morning if I had a
sleepover, or I went to visit, Grandpa and I would walk to the shop for a paper and he would always buy me a magazine.
He really was my best Grandpa.
When Daddy was very ill and had to go to hospital for some operations Grandpa would take me to nursery. Even when Daddy was well enough to drive Grandpa still wanted to take me. We would chat all the way. I liked that.
I miss talking to Grandpa.
I remember when Daddy called my little sister and me to come and sit down on her bed. He started to speak and just started crying. I asked him if he was ok and cuddled him as tight as I could. After a few moments he managed to tell us that Grandpa had died. He held both of us tighter than a marshmallow squeeze.
I felt so sad. I asked if I could go and sit in my room on my own.
Later that week Daddy was cuddling me in bed before I went to sleep. We had just done our “night night, sweet dreams, I love you, see you in the morning” when I started to cry. Daddy asked what was wrong and I told him that I missed Grandpa so much and I was scared I would forget him. Daddy said it was OK to cry and we talked about Grandpa and remembered things that made us smile.
The next day Daddy asked me if I wanted to do something special to remember Grandpa and to say thank you to the wonderful people who had looked after him whilst he had been ill. He asked me if I wanted to do the Santa Run. I said YES!
Daddy immediately signed us up, I have never run two miles before, but I was going to do it for Grandpa. Aunty Cath heard about the run and immediately asked if she could run with us as well.
Daddy and Aunty Cath both set up pages for people to sponsor me. They said the money would go to help people like Grandpa who weren’t very well. I really liked this idea. I decided that I would run as fast as I could because the faster I ran the more money I would raise.
The day of the run came, and I was sad. Not sad
because of the running but sad because Grandpa wasn’t there to see it. Mummy put plasters on my heels, my new school shoes had made them bleed, and Aunty Cath, Daddy and I went off in our running gear.
When we got there, we were given our Santa suits. Putting them on was very funny. There were so many people dressed as Father Christmas. As we waited to start the run I could see that the whole family came to cheer us on.
As we ran around I said thank you to all the marshals and even gave a couple of them high fives. It was so much fun but really hard work.
When we finished we got given a medal, a hot chocolate and a mince pie. It was brilliant.
I told Daddy I was so proud of him.
I still really miss Grandpa, but I am going to run every year to make sure I don’t forget him. Next year Immy wants to run too. I think the whole family might run.
I do still get sad but that’s OK.
Night night Grandpa, sweet dreams, I love you…