Great North Run: Taking on race in memory of mum

Katie and Louisa Stewart.
Katie and Louisa Stewart.

A Felton woman who has been struggling with injury is taking on this Sunday’s Great North Run, in memory of a loved one who lost her cancer battle 20 years ago.

And Louisa Stewart has described her participation in this year’s event as fate, after receiving a last-gasp chance to enter, two decades on from losing her mother, Katie Stewart.

Louisa Stewart.

Louisa Stewart.

Louisa, 42, who works at Covance, in Alnwick, will be running the 13.1-miles in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland,.

The mother-of-two, who has done the Great North Run twice before, said: “I lost my mum to cancer 20 years ago. I had planned to mark this with a Great North Run entry and raise money in memory of her.

“At the time of the ballot entry, it did not look likely that I could make the distance, due to an unsuccessful operation on my foot, so I did not enter.

“Then came a timely offer of a place to run and raise funds for HospiceCare North Northumberland. This late opportunity of an entry to run for the hospice, with only about seven weeks left to train, seemed like fate, especially when it looked vaguely possible that I might be able to run the distance again.”

Reflecting on her mother’s cancer battle, Louisa said: “My mum had bone secondaries from a primary breast tumour and was gradually less mobile and in increasing pain in the last 12 months of her life.

“I was lucky to be at a stage in my life that allowed me to take time out and spend all of my time with her during those months, so we were able to cope at home with fantastic support from district nurses.

“HospiceCare will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Had they been around when mum was dealing with her cancer, I am sure they would have been a source of support that we would have found invaluable.”

Katie, who died before reaching her 50th birthday, would have been 70 in October. She had strong connections in Northumberland.

She taught at the former convent school in Alnwick in the 1980s.

She also worked as a reporter in Morpeth in the mid-to-late 1960s and helped open the first nursery at St Robert’s RC School in the town in the 1980s.

She was a parishioner of St Robert’s RC Church for many years, and later of Felton, Widdrington and Longhorsley parish.

To sponsor Louisa, visit or donate by texting LOOB51 (followed by a space and then the amount, ie £5) to 70070.