A Pentre Broughton funeral director is set to pound the streets of London as he runs his first marathon in memory of a seven week old baby girl who passed away in her sleep.
Phil Roberts, 35, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 28th raising money for Hope House Children’s Hospices in memory of Frances Isobelle Jarvis, the baby daughter of close friends Steve Jarvis and Kadie Jones.
Phil, who runs Roberts Bros. Family Funeral Directors of Pentre Broughton with his brother Richard, says he was inspired to raise funds for Hope House Children’s Hospices after witnessing first hand the help and support they offered Steve and Kadie.
He said: “Unfortunately I'm all too aware of what Hope House does as a children’s hospice but Isobelle wasn’t ill and certainly wasn’t in need of palliative care. Steve got up one day to go to work and Kadie found Isobelle had passed away in her sleep despite the best efforts of the Maelor Hospital.
“As Isobelle’s passing was so unexpected it’s heartbreaking that they’re waiting for answers or a reason why. The thing that hit home to me though was how Steve and Kadie received so much help and support from Hope House and the amazing team who work there.
“Isobelle was initially at rest in the Snowflake room at Hope House, a temperature controlled room where her parents and other family members could say their goodbyes and spend time with her in a much more natural and homely environment.
“Steve and Kadie have had so much ongoing counselling, support and help from Hope House too.
“They have done a great deal of fundraising themselves for Hope House so it was an easy choice for me once I found I’d been lucky and won a place in the ballot for this year’s London marathon, I just had to run for Hope House and raise as much as I can.
“I set a target of £5,000 but I’m already passed that and I’m now just short of £6,000 which is amazing. I’ve had a great deal of support from family, clients, businesses and other supporters. It’s really humbling.”
Phil has had to learn to run and readily admits he’s not built to be a long distance runner.
He said: “I used to play hockey for Wrexham along with Steve although as a goalkeeper I didn’t have to run too much! I know I’m not a runner but so long as I finish the marathon I really don’t care how long it takes me.
“I’m upto 21 miles in training so I’m building up to the full marathon distance. I’ve tried for years to get a starting place through the ballot but never been successful before. Once I know I was in that was it and I started training.
“I’ve done a couple of half marathons and the odd 10K so I’m getting there. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere and camaraderie. I don’t imagine I’ll ever do it again.”
Isobelle’s daddy, Steve Jarvis of Ruabon, says he and Kadie are thrilled Phil Roberts is running the London Marathon in his baby daughter’s memory.
He said: “Isobelle passed away on August 4th last year; she was just seven weeks old. I can’t really put into words our admiration for the wonderful people that run Hope House Children’s Hospices.
“Right from the start they offered unconditional support and help. Nothing we asked for was too much trouble and very often they did things for us without us asking or even realising we needed the help they offered.
“Isobelle spent the first night after she died in a cold cot and then went into the Snowflake room. It meant so much to us.
“We could pop in and see Isobelle whenever we wanted and they even helped us arrange a Christening as Isobelle wasn’t Christened before she passed away. That meant so much to Kadie, me and our families.”
He added: “We, our families and friends, have raised a great deal of money so far for Hope House through various events including a poker night, a soul music night and lots of other events.
“And on the day of the Marathon while Phil is running around London we are holding a fundraising event in support of him at the Black Lion in Rhos. And all we raise will be added to Phil’s total.
Steve and Kadie are now looking forward to getting married in a few weeks time and there’s going to be a new bundle of joy arriving soon too.
Steve said: “We know we are having a baby girl and she will be called Amyee Hope. We decided on Hope as a middle name partly because of Hope House but also because Isobelle gave us so much hope and we want to acknowledge that. She will never be forgotten and will always be with us in our hearts.
“We are just so grateful to Phil for running the London Marathon in Isobelle’s memory and to raise funds for Hope House. Phil is just one of those people that have a heart of pure gold; he really will do anything for anyone.”
Hope House Fundraiser, Catrin Dowdeswell says the support of Phil Roberts in running the marathon in memory of Isobelle Jarvis is amazing and the amount of money raised remarkable.
She said: “Phil has already passed his target which is incredible and we can’t thank him enough. We are also grateful for the continued help from Steve and Kadie too. They have given Hope House fantastic support since tragically losing Isobelle.”
She added: “Sadly, every week, three local families face their biggest fear and their child dies. Hope House Children’s Hospices cannot stop children dying but together we can stop families suffering on their own.
“When they are facing the most devastating loss of their lives we must be there. We need to reach every child, mum, dad, sister and brother and to do this we need to raise more money so we can offer even more services.
“We need to raise in excess of £6m a year to continue to support all the children and families we help from across North Wales, Shropshire and parts of Cheshire.
“That’s why we are truly grateful to supporters in the local community, like Phil, who take on fundraising challenges to ensure we're here for families like Isobelle's when they need us most."
On behalf of everyone here at Hope House and Ty Gobaith, good luck Phil and thank you so much.