Running has helped a Shoreham father process his thoughts since his 11-year-old daughter died in an accident on her way to school and now he has used his training to help raise money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
Ben Thornton took part in the Littlehampton 10k in memory of Ellie and raised £590, enough to pay for more than two hours of the hospice’s care services.
Ben said: “I decided to do the Littlehampton 10k on my own, as with my training, running has been a time to gather my thoughts and think about Ellie and that’s what I did on that Sunday morning.
“I reflected on Ellie’s achievements and all of our amazing memories together and I thought about all the children and their families at Chestnut Tree House.
“I’ve always been aware of Chestnut Tree House as my parents are volunteers there. I remember the first time I visited. I thought what an amazing place. I was blown away by the facilities and this inspired me to raise money for Chestnut Tree House when I trekked to Everest Base Camp.
“When Ellie passed away, she was taken to the house and we were able to see her before the funeral. It took some of our concern away as we knew she was in a safe place.
“We were offered counselling services, which we assumed would be short term but we still use them two years on. Chestnut Tree House provides ongoing support for our family and we know that they will always be there for us.”
Since the accident in Thakeham in March 2017, Ben and his family set up The Ellie Thornton Foundation to champion what was important to her, and what is important to her family, in her name.
One of the initiatives has been working with West Sussex County Council to support road safety for children travelling to and from school.