A NINE-year-old boy and his dad joined hundreds of charity runners to raise cash for the hospice that cared for his late mum.

Mitchell and Garrie Hawks, from Hockley, took part in the Havens Hospice Santa Run in memory of Mitchell’s mum Julie, who was cared for by Fair Havens, Westcliff.

Julie, 45, was admitted to the hospice earlier this year and died last month.

Garrie, 44, said, “We were overwhelmed by the response to be honest.

“When Denise and Louise, two of Julie’s closest friends, suggested widening our team invite, we thought maybe Mitchell’s schoolfriends would come along – but we never thought we’d be running as part of a team of 200.

“Julie would have said we were all crackers and would have found it hilarious – especially considering she wasn’t a fan of running herself, she did like Christmas though.

“We wanted to raise money for the wonderful charity that cared for my wife and Mitchell’s mum in her final weeks.

“They absolutely went above and beyond for Julie and the care was sensational for all of us.

“When you are facing the worst few weeks you can possibly imagine, it is amazing to be able to go somewhere that understands and where the staff are given the time to care for their patients, it was so reassuring and a relief to know that Julie was in the safest hands.”

She died following a long battle with cancer which had spread throughout her body and is one of thousands the charity has helped.

The charity held the Santa Run and the Reindeer Race, in aid of the children’s hospice Little Havens in Thundersley on Sunday in Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon, with more than 750 people taking part.

Team Julie have so far raised nearly £1,400 for Little Havens Hospice from their entry fees alone with a target of £3,500. Havens Hospices Events Fundraiser, Cathryn Wood, said: “I’d like to thank every single Santa and Reindeer that took part.”