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Remembering Ellie – why Tess is taking on her first marathon


Many people like to do something different to mark a milestone birthday and Tess Weller from Pembury has something very special planned for her 30th next month. She and her partner, Charlie, will be doing the Paris Marathon on April 7th to raise funds for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in memory of her school friend, Ellie, who should also have been celebrating her 30th this year but tragically died soon after her 16th birthday.

“Ellie was a wonderful person who I know still lives in the hearts and minds of everyone who knew her,” says Tess, a magazine marketing director. “Although we all knew that she had a rare liver condition, she was always a happy, smiley person so her death, just after her 16th birthday, came as a dreadful shock. So whilst I and my school friends are all celebrating a big birthday this year, this is always the time of year we think of Ellie who should be celebrating with us. I wanted to do something in her memory for this big birthday and fundraising to help other young people in Ellie’s situation seemed like the right thing to do.



“Although I’ve always enjoyed running, I knew a marathon would present a real challenge. This will be the first for both of us – and probably the only one for me! We chose Paris as it takes just two days after my birthday and it means we can enjoy some of the sights whilst we are fighting through the miles.

“Training has been one big learning curve, going from a regular five mile runner up to 20 hasn’t been easy. I have done a couple of half-marathons were a while ago now, and I remember getting to the end of each of those and thinking ‘how do people turn around and do that all over again?!’ Thankfully training has helped with the daunting idea of 26.2 miles.

“I am a slow runner so I’m just aiming to get to the end of the marathon. Charlie is quite a bit pacier so I’m sure will do a more respectable time. It was the right call for a fundraiser, however, as  it’s been really lovely to see how many friends and family have already contributed. Now it’s just all about doing our part which is quite a bit of responsibility. I am nervous about the big day  – I’m sure I won’t sleep the night before – but I’m determined to do Ellie proud and complete the course.  I will be thinking of her as I run on and of all the fond memories I have of her.”

Michelle Wilkins, Head of Services at Children’s Liver Disease Foundation commented: “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 on voluntary donations, so we are delighted that Tess and Charlie are doing the Paris Marathon for us. What a wonderful way to remember Ellie and to support other young people who live with these rare conditions.”

You can support Tess and Charlie’s Paris Marathon challenge by  going to Tess Weller is fundraising for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (

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