A WEST End woman has run the London Marathon to raise money for a suicide charity in memory of her teenage nephew who took his own life.

Caroline Roberts raised more than £2,500 for Papyrus: Prevention of Young Suicide, after 17-year-old Cooper Burke died three years ago.

Caroline said suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in Britain.

“As a family we sadly know only too well the devastation of suicide. The death of our beautiful nephew forever shattered the lives of all those who loved him.

“Many children and young people are suffering in silence without the vital help and support they need.

“Talking about it will save lives. That’s why I’m supporting Papyrus, which exists to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide and equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.”

Caroline, 42, finished the marathon in 4hr 1min 6sec and described the event as “brilliant”.

“The atmosphere of the crowd is really what makes the event,” she said.

Caroline had hoped to finish under four hours but had cramp in her calves with just a couple of miles to go.

“The first half marathon flew by and I wasn’t even really that conscious of the mile markers,” she said.

“Until about 30km I was on for a sub-four hours, which I would have been thrilled with, but the last couple of miles my legs just completely cramped up and I had to stop to stretch my calves against a kerb.

“I managed to keep going and was so pleased to finish.

“I was smiling as I crossed the line and, as soon as I got my medal, I was sobbing.

“I’d cried at the start as well. They played the national anthem and there was a picture of the Queen. It was quite an emotional day.”

Caroline said the emotions were spurred by thoughts of Cooper and an overwhelming number of messages of support from friends and family.

She played rugby until a few years ago, in her native Lancashire, then for London Welsh when she moved south in 2005 and was captain of the Middlesex team.

She has kept up running, competing in half marathons and triathlons, but had never previously done a full marathon.

Caroline got her place in the London Marathon after being chosen to be part of Buxton Rise Up, a campaign by the mineral water company to find people to celebrate the nation’s resilience.

“They have been very supportive in terms of coaching,” she said. “We had a training plan and details about hydration and nutrition.”

Caroline’s training consisted of running around the Woking area and taking part in parkruns with her children.

“I have an eight-year-old son, Lachlan, and a six-year-old daughter, Emily, and the other reason for doing this has been to be a role model to them.”

The youngsters are the third generation of a sporty family with Caroline’s father, David, having run the first London Marathon in 1981, when fewer than 8,000 runners took part.

“He and my mum came down to support me and he found it quite a shock when he saw 40,000 runners and goodness knows how many spectators,” she said.

“Running the London Marathon was a huge challenge for me, both physically and mentally, but knowing that I was fundraising for such an important charity, and in memory of Cooper, kept me putting one foot in front of the other.”

TO donate to Caroline’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/caroline-roberts29