A TEACHER today completed a half-marathon in memory of his father-in-law who died in a North-East hospice days after fulfilling his final wish to walk his daughter up the aisle.

Stephen Thompson hopes to raise £2,000 after tackling the Virtual Great North Run in aid of Butterwick Hospice Care.

The run was a tribute to Paul Saunders, a former head of finance at Stockton Borough Council.

Last November, Paul, 61, was able to walk his daughter Rebecca up the aisle in the chapel at the Butterwick Hospice, at Stockton, when she married Stephen.

Paul, who was suffering from terminal cancer, had told hospice staff it was his final wish to be at Rebecca’s wedding, and they responded by making his dream come true.

As a thank you to the hospice, Stephen decided to tackle a 13-mile route that took him past some of the places that were most important in Paul’s life, including his local pub.

The run started at the Butterwick Hospice at 10am and finished at Stockton Borough Council’s headquarters, where Paul worked for many years.

Along the way, the milestones included Billingham Golf Club; The Unicorn pub at Norton; the home Paul shared with his wife, Irene, on Norton’s Glebe Estate; and the house in Rushyford Avenue, Roseworth, where he grew up.

Family members, friends and some of Paul’s former work colleagues cheered Stephen as he completed the route in one hour 56 minutes and 53 seconds.

“I just kept thinking of everything Paul went through – compared to that, running up a few hills was nothing,” said Stephen. “I also kept reminding myself of the amazing job the Butterwick Hospice does for so many people in the local community.”

Rebecca, who ran a raffle and cake stall at the finishing post, said: “I’m just so proud of Stephen. He’s never run that far before, but he was determined to do it. It was a lovely way to remember my dad, and to thank the Butterwick staff for what they did.”

Megan Davidson, engagement executive for Butterwick Hospice Care, was among those cheering Stephen at the finish.

She said: “Stephen’s done a fantastic job and we are really grateful. We couldn’t do what we do without this kind of wonderful support.”

Stephen has already passed his original target by raising £1,700 but hopes the final total will be over £2,000. To make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-thompson39