Race for Life gran doing it all again in memory of daughter

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2019

Gemma with her children Harley, Braydon and Courtney, Picture: Lyn Geelan

Gemma with her children Harley, Braydon and Courtney, Picture: Lyn Geelan


A grandmother was left so distressed when her daughter died from cancer that she vowed to do all she could to ensure she would be remembered.

Now she pays an emotional tribute to her daughter when she takes part in Cancer Research UK's Race for Life in Blackheath next month.

Lyn Geelan, 59, took part in the event last year, keeping a promise to her daughter, Gemma Tabrett, who was just 35 when she lost her life to bowel cancer.

Lyn said: "We had promised Gemma faithfully that we would take part as she was planning on doing it with her friend, who also had cancer."

Sadly, both women died of the disease. But Lyn was determined to do it for them, together with her daughter Kay and some of Gemma's friends.

Gemma, from Welling, fought hard to beat the disease, for her three children - Courtney, Harley and Braydon.

But the cancer eventually spread to her stomach and liver.

She died in November 2017, surrounded by her family and friends.

Lyn, a cleaner and caretaker who also works in her village shop in Essex, said: "Gemma was the strongest daughter you could have. She was a full-time mum and the kids were her world. She always made an impact on people who knew her; she was a real people person.

You may also want to watch:

"Her favourite record was Ed Sheeran's Perfect - that's exactly what she was.

"Gemma's children, who still live in Welling with their father, are also taking part in Race for Life.

"When we finished doing Race for Life last year, I planted a symbolic red rose in her memory. And I'll do the same this year."

Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

This year, for the first time, Cancer Research UK is inviting everyone - women, children and men - to join the Race for Life.

Lyn said she wants to encourage other people to join her at one of the Race for Life events at Blackheath Common, on Sunday, June 30.

Brenda Scott, Cancer Research UK's event manager for Blackheath, added: "We're so grateful to Lyn and her family for their support.

"By following their lead and joining the Race for Life, people can make a real difference in the fight against cancer.

"Race for Life is fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting and you don't need to be sporty to take part. You don't have to train and you certainly don't need to compete against anyone else."

Brenda added: "We're urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life. It's a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing - uniting in a common cause to beat cancer."

To enter Race for Life, visit or call 0300 123 0770.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Bexley Times