Doncaster rail worker runs marathon fundraiser for bereaved families

A Doncaster Dad, who sadly lost his son in 2020, ran a marathon on Sunday 16 October to raise funds for a charity appeal by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) Charity.

James Cole, who works as a Supervisor at Network Rail, was determined to run the marathon to challenge himself as well as fundraise for the Serenity Appeal: a charity campaign to fund a specialist bereavement suite within the maternity services at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

He completed the Yorkshire Marathon in 4 hours 48 minutes, placing 2,000 out of 5,300 runners.

“My first thought after finishing was ‘I am never doing that again’!” explained James, who has now raised just short of £2,000 for the appeal.

His own personal cheerleaders, partner Bethan Morse and 5-month-old son Charlie followed James around all day on spectator buses.

Bethan, who owns and runs a clothes shop, said: “We chose to fundraise for the Serenity Appeal as we lost our son George in 2020.

“If the bereavement suite had existed when we had a stillbirth, we would have been able to cherish that time that we had with him without being aware of our surroundings on the labour ward and feeling rushed as we were taking up a delivery bed.

“We would have been able to have the peace and time we needed, whilst trying to cope with what had just happened.

“This suite will be a saviour for so many future families.”

The Serenity Appeal will fund a specialist bereavement suite named the Serenity Suite. It will be a purpose-built suite, away from the hustle and bustle of the main labour ward.

The suite is somewhere where families can spend time together in a safe, secure, and serene space, where they can grieve the loss of their baby with their loved ones and with the support of our dedicated Bereavement Midwives.

Some of the biggest challenges he faced during his preparation for the race was finding the time, James explained.

He said: “Working full-time and caring for a newborn baby has made it almost impossible for me to train, but with the help of family and friends, I’ve managed it.”

Sporting a matching ‘daddy & me’ t-shirt post-marathon with son Charlie, James said he found the race enjoyable, until he hit 21 miles.

He said: “I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it. But I met lots of people along the way that told me I could do it and I just needed to push that bit further.”

Upon reaching the finish line, James was greeted by wife Bethan and son Charlie, and the smile on his face was priceless, said Bethan.

To donate to James’ gofundme page, follow this link:

Have your own idea for fundraising? Head to our DBTH Charity website and register your activity / event with us: