Our thoughts will be with Katherine

Rachel and Neil Jefferson, from Bedlington, who are doing the Great North Run for Children's Liver Disease Foundation in memory of neighbour Katherine Nicholson. They are pictured at Dunstanburgh Castle.
Rachel and Neil Jefferson, from Bedlington, who are doing the Great North Run for Children's Liver Disease Foundation in memory of neighbour Katherine Nicholson. They are pictured at Dunstanburgh Castle.

A father and daughter from Bedlington are taking on the Great North Run in memory of their neighbour who died aged just 17.

Neil and Rachel Jefferson will raise funds for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) after young Katherine Nicholson succumbed to a rare form of the illness three years ago.

Katherine Nicholson, from Bedlington, who had a rare liver disease and passed away in 2014 aged 17.

Katherine Nicholson, from Bedlington, who had a rare liver disease and passed away in 2014 aged 17.

“Our family and Katherine’s have lived next door to each other for many years and our children grew up together,” said Neil.

“Because of Katherine’s liver condition, we found out about CLDF and the work they do to support families who are affected. Indeed Katherine herself was a keen fundraiser for the charity.

“Sadly, despite undergoing two liver transplants she passed away three years’ ago.

“We will never forget her, her parents are great friends of ours and Rachel and I wanted to raise funds in her memory.”

The 13-mile course should not prove a problem for Neil, who is somewhat of a Great North veteran, but for Rachel, it will be her first attempt.

Neil is a keen triathlete who represented Great Britain in the recent European Championships and Rachel was part of the City of Newcastle swimming club as a youngster and played netball for the county team.

“The Great North Run is a fantastic event. I have done it several times but Rachel has never attempted it so we thought it would be fun to do it together,” said Neil, a civil engineer for Fairhurst.

“We haven’t done much training together as Rachel now works in London as a fashion designer. However, she is clocking up the miles down in Walthamstow and we are both looking forward to the big day.”

Alison Taylor, chief executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, said: “CLDF is the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all childhood liver diseases, by providing information and emotional support, funds for research and a voice for all those affected.

“In order to do this however, we rely entirely on voluntary donations, so it’s brilliant that Neil and Rachel have decided to do this for us. Katherine was a tremendous supporter of CLDF so it’s a very fitting tribute to her. We wish them all the best and hope Rachel really enjoys her first half marathon.”

You can support Neil and Rachel in the Great North Run by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NeilJefferson-GNR2017