FRIENDS and family of an avid festivalgoer are taking on a marathon challenge to raise money for the hospice which supported her in her last days.

Kate Marks was diagnosed with ovarian cancer nearly seven years ago and despite being in remission for a number of years, the cancer came back more aggressively and she died in October last year.

She was 42.

As Kate’s health deteriorated, she was taken to St Michael’s Hospice in July last year.

It was the care she received from staff that has now led friends and family to raise as much money as they can for the hospice in Kate’s memory.

Her husband Steve – the pair actually got married at the hospice – said staff at the Aldermaston Road facility were fantastic.

He said: “The work they are doing is amazing, they look after all the patients there so well, and knowing that 90 per cent of the people who go there may not leave is really difficult. It’s something I couldn’t do.

“So we just wanted to raise as much money as possible.”

Steve and Kate met a little over two years ago at the Brighton Hill Social Club and on their wedding day the club was selling drinks to raise money for the hospice.

Steve added: “She [Kate] just had an absolute heart of gold, she was so selfless and would always put others before her.

“She loved her music festivals, especially Glastonbury.”

So far, a number of friends and work colleagues from Starlings Preschool took part in the hospice’s Moonlight Walk.

Now, Kate’s brother Darren Chilcott is set to take part in the London Marathon in support of the hospice.

“We always joked that we couldn’t be more different,” said the 52-year-old.

“She avidly attended Glastonbury, and for me personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending a weekend in a muddy field.”

He added: “I have done numerous marathons before, so doing the run won’t phase me, the main thing is raising money for those people who supported Kate.

“Even during the last few weeks of her life when she was back at home, staff from St Michael’s would come in twice a day just to check on her, they were fantastic.”

One of Kate’s best friends Di Moore, who took part in the Moonlight Walk, now volunteers for the hospice.

She said: “Kate was proud of me volunteering at the hospice and I only did it as they were amazing for Kate.

“Kate’s death has hit us all and it would have been her birthday this week.

“Everyone at St Michael’s was amazing in supporting Kate and now we want to do all that we can to support them.

“A group of us have already said that we will do the Moonlight Walk again this year and I know of several other fundraisers that people are doing to support the hospice.”

So far, family and friends have raised more than £5,000.

Darren’s employers, HSBC, has said it will add a further £1,000 to the total the 52-year-old raises for his marathon run.

Jackie Ridge, head of fundraising at the hospice, said: “We are so very grateful to Kate’s family and friends for their amazing support and we will all be cheering Darren on when he takes part in this year’s London Marathon in memory of his sister.

“We can’t thank Kate’s family and friends enough for their generosity and the funds they raise will make a real difference to us here at the hospice and to the patients and families we support.”

To support Darren, go to