Son runs in memory of Mum who cared for Hospice Patients for over 30 years

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In the heart of The Brighton Marathon, there will be one runner whose steps are fuelled by memories of his mother.

Cleve Roberts, son of the late Sheila Roberts, will embark on the UK’s third largest marathon challenge on Sunday 7 April 2024. Not only as a physical feat but as a tribute to his beloved mum and a beacon of support for the community she cherished.

For over three decades Sheila Roberts was a much loved figure at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. Starting as a dedicated member of the Inpatient Unit, she epitomized dedication, becoming a Ward Sister before transitioning to the Community Team as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Sheila’s impact radiated far beyond the Hospice walls. Her warm presence was felt by patients, colleagues, and healthcare professionals alike.

Cleve fondly recalls his mother’s zest for life, her infectious laughter echoing through cherished memories:

“She was such a vibrant lady, always laughing, She had such a big heart, and gave the best hugs! She was famous for her love for tea, cake, and biscuits, a balanced diet she swore by with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.”

Sarah Pake, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Sheila’s colleague and cherished friend, reflects on her vivacity and the poignant moments they shared.

“Sheila was a colleague first and quickly became a much-loved friend. We celebrated milestones together and shared dreams of retirement plans.”

Sheila’s retirement was marked by accolades, including the Healthcare Worker of the Year award in 2017, a testament to her unwavering commitment and compassion.

When Sheila was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2020, true to her resilient spirit, she faced this challenge head-on, embodying positivity and resilience. Cleve remembers his mother’s indomitable spirit during her battle with cancer with her unwavering determination to spread ‘positive vibes only’ inspiring all who knew her.

Throughout her treatment, Sheila found solace in moments of joy, witnessing her eldest son’s wedding and embracing the role of Nanna with boundless love. Despite the hardships, her spirit remained unbroken with her pride in her children shining brightly.

In April 2022, Sheila bid farewell, leaving behind a legacy of love and compassion that continues to inspire. Cleve, determined to honour his mother’s memory, embarked on his first Marathon journey to raise funds for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, a cause close to his heart. Encouraged by friends and inspired by his mother’s legacy, Cleve’s determination knows no bounds. Reflecting on his decision to run, Cleve emphasised the profound impact of palliative care, a lifeline for his family during their darkest hour:

“Palliative care is essential. It’s not just caring for the dying; it’s supporting the living, ensuring dignity and comfort in the face of adversity.

More than once Mum told me she liked to think of herself; “like a midwife but backwards”, and if that doesn’t exemplify the spirit of palliative care as a natural part of life’s journey then I don’t know what does.”

As Cleve laces up his running shoes, he will carry with him the spirit of his mother, the love of his family, and the gratitude of a community touched by Sheila’s kindness. With each stride, he honours her memory and ensures that her legacy of compassion endures.

To support people in Cambridgeshire living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition via Cleve’s marathon challenge and honour Sheila’s memory, visit his JustGiving page Every donation is a tribute to Sheila’s enduring legacy of love and kindness, ensuring that her spirit lives on in the vital work of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

If you would like to support people in Cambridgeshire living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition and would like to take on a challenge for the Charity, please email Sarah at or call 01223 675888.