PEOPLE have pledged thousands of pounds in memory of a man who died after completing the Southend Half Marathon.

A whopping £2,000 has been raised on a Just Giving page in honour of Nick Palmer, 37, of Shoebury Road, Great Wakering, just hours after it was set up.

Nick died just moments after finishing the half marathon on Sunday, leaving friends and his family in shock.

The money is being raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital, who helped Nick’s son George, six, when he was born.

One of Nick’s best friends, David Walpole, 37, of Northfield Crescent, Great Wakering, said: “It will mean something good will come out of this awful tragedy that has happened. We want to raise as much money as possible.

“It’s nice to see all the comments people are leaving for him, and donations have come from running clubs across the country.

“It’s touching to see what people have said about him. People said they ran the race and it could have been them, or their partner.

“Great Ormond Street Hospital is a brilliant charity and Nick always spoke fondly of it when he explained about George’s treatment.”

The page hopes to raise £10,000 for the hospital and has seen 100 donations pledged so far.

It is understood George was born with a problem with his skull development which needed treatment when he was a toddler.

To donate to the charity in Nick’s honour, visit MemorialFund.

A RUNNING club has paid a heartfelt tribute to member Nick Palmer saying he was a “cheerful and fun guy”.

A spokesman for Flyers Southend said Mr Palmer, who had been a member for about two years, was an avid runner and someone who was always cheerful and fun to be with.

The spokesman said: “Nick was one of our keenest runners. There were a lot of us running on Sunday. We were devastated. We couldn’t believe what happened.

"He was a really cheerful fella. You could always have a conversation with him while you were running and afterwards. He was just a really nice guy.

“We go out four days a week.We do sprints or go up hills and we do social runs of about five miles. Nick was one of our quickest runners, so this was very unexpected.

“In May our group went to a race in Bruges which was just under ten miles and he had a fantastic time. He often came on our Sunday runs which are between eight and 16 miles.

“This has left a real hole in our group. We are determined to do something to remember him and have already decided to do next year’s half marathon in his memory.”

The 13.1-mile race took place as temperatures soared on Sunday, but the spokesman said everything had been done to keep runners safe.

He said: “I have run it lots of times. It was very hot but they took excellent precautions. They gave out water and sponges to cool us down and warned everyone at the beginning not to run too fast.

“Everything was done to keep people safe. The medical attention was also very good and very rapid.”