Teenagers running 50km tour of Cheltenham in memory of best friend who died of cancer

The boys are running in memory of Ellison Dawes, who died from cancer age 11. Credit: David Hambling

Two teenagers whose best friend died of cancer aged 11 years old are preparing to run 50km in his memory to raise money for charity.

Caspar Hambling and Ollie Burridge, 15, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, are running in memory of Ellison Dawes, who died from a rare form of bone cancer in 2021.

The teenagers will be taking on the challenge on Saturday 11 May, to raise money for Ellison's Fund, a special research fund for Bone Cancer Research Trust.

They have already raised more than £3600 for the charity, which will go towards life-saving research into Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

"We're running 50km in his memory, just to do something good for him," Ollie said.

"He was really smiley, and he'd always find a way to crack you up. He was just really funny," added Caspar.

The boys will begin their run at Cheltenham park run in Pittville Park on Saturday 11 May. Credit: David Hambling

Along the way, they have planned to visit places which hold special memories for them and are hoping to be joined by others who knew Ellison.

"It's not a normal 50km run," Caspar said. "We wanted to go to really sentimental places, where we have memories with Ellison."

"We're going to start by going up to Cranham from Gloucester, where we used to go on Cub camps. And then we're going to finish in Cheltenham with a few things there that we used to do, like spending time at the Lido," he explained.

"At each point on the route, we'll be looking forward to getting to the next landmark and memory," he added.

The boys said they wanted to run to places which hold special memories for them. Credit: David Hambling

The boys will also be visiting Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where Ellison took his final steps outside.

The run will finish at Ellison's memorial tree in the Rose Garden at Naunton Park, where the boys all went to school together.

Ellison's mum, Rebecca Knightly Brown said "it means a huge amount" that the boys wanted to do something in his memory.

"It's been a few years now since Ellison died, and all the boys were quite young at the time, so I don't know, I think I felt that everyone had sort of moved on," she said.

"I don't think I appreciated how much it affected his friends and his friendship groups," she added. "To realise that other people are still remembering him and want to do something in his memory is really, really special."

Ellison Dawes died in 2021 from a rare form of cancer. Credit: Rebecca Knightly Brown

Ollie said they wanted to "go all out" for the challenge, and have also shaved their hair off in solidarity with Ellison who lost his hair during his chemotherapy treatment.

Ms Knightly Brown added: "Ellison was a very uncomplaining and stoic character during his treatment, but he was very self-conscious about losing his hair and how he looked during his chemotherapy treatment."

She said the money the boys raise will go towards research into Ewing sarcoma, to hopefully find "kinder treatments" for children diagnosed with the disease.

"We want to raise lots of money for charity, to stop someone going through it," Ollie said.

"Definitely," Caspar added. "No-one needs to go through that."