Brighton woman's marathon effort for war hero

Posted On 07 Apr 2010 at 7:40 am

Jogging for Jonny: Laura Bottomley is raising money in memory of her war hero fiance Jonathan Bracho-Cooke

A Brighton University worker who lost her fiancé in the Iraq War is to run the first Brighton Marathon in his memory to raise money for badly wounded soldiers.

Laura Bottomley, 27, a senior research administrator at the university, will race for Blesma – the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association – on Sunday 18 April.

Miss Bottomley’s fiancé, Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke, from Hove, died three years ago, aged 24, when his patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in Basra.

A year later Laura began raising money for Blesma.

On her online “justgiving” page she said: “Jonny was so courageous and incredibly caring and giving.

“He believed strongly in helping others and supported veterans of the Army and fellow servicemen wholeheartedly.

“Blesma is a charity which supports servicemen and women who have been left with severe handicaps from their own bravery and willingness to selflessly put themselves forward for the greater good of others.

“In 2008 I set up joggingforjonny to raise money for Blesma in Jonny’s memory.

“This included five 10k races, a half marathon and a triathlon.

“I set myself a far bigger challenge this year, in the form of the Brighton Marathon.

“Training had been going really well. I was regularly running 15 or so miles at the weekend when I hurt my back.

“Four weeks and some physiotherapy later, I stepped out for another 15-mile run and ended up with blisters bad enough to need crutches.

“My feet are still in the process of healing but I am pleased to say that the marathon still looks possible, even if it is the slowest marathon in the world!”

Laura praised her brother-in-law Simon Hinks for being a keen fellow runner for joggingforjonny.

She added: “I run in memory of a great friend and true soldier who stopped at nothing to help others.

“The pain of this loss is immense and unrelenting but, by running the marathon, I hope to use Jonny’s memory to help his fellow heroes.”

Jonathan was an officer in the 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Laura set a target of £15,000 on her justgiving.com page and has already raised £13,744 for the charity.

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