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12-marathon challenge completed in memory of popular Dereham man

Phillip Goillau and girlfriend Gina Steggall.

Phillip Goillau and girlfriend Gina Steggall.

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A charity challenge in memory of a young man who died while running the Norwich half marathon has been completed by his girlfriend and running mate.

Phillip Goillau, 25, of Toftwood, near Dereham, who was a trainee teacher at Notre Dame High School in Norwich, died on November 27, 2011 from sudden adult death syndrome.

His friend Mike Newham, 26, completed a 12-marathon challenge in his memory – and to raise money towards a school bus for special needs children – by running the London Marathon last weekend.

And he was joined on the run by Mr Goillau’s girlfriend, Gina Steggall, 26, from Mattishall, near Dereham, who also took Mr Goillau’s place at the Norwich half marathon last year.

At the time of Mr Goillau’s death, he had been in training with Mr Newham to run 12 marathons in 12 months to raise money for a minibus for the Variety Club children’s charity, in memory of their friend, Jack Stovold, who died, aged 21, while they were at Coventry University together.

After Mr Goillau’s death a donation of £20,000 was made to the charity, which paid for the minibus, but Mr Newham, who lives in Bristol, decided to still carry out the challenge between 2012 and 2013 to help pay for another minibus – this time in Mr Goillau’s memory.

Wendy Steggall, Gina’s mother, who lives in Mattishall, said: “The London Marathon was the last of the 12-marathon challenge, and everyone is very excited about achieving Phill’s dream. Both Gina and Mike suffered setbacks with various knee injuries over the months, but recovered in time to run the London Marathon on Sunday, and completed the challenge by finishing in an amazing four hours 42 minutes.

“So far they have raised about £33,200, including the £20,000 donation.

“Each minibus costs about £20,000 so they have about £6,800 to go to fund a minibus in Phill’s memory.”

Mr Goillau loved working with children, she added, and had a real bond with the young people at Notre Dame, where he was training to be a teacher.

“He also loved the time he spent as a teaching assistant with the children at Sheringham Woodfields special needs school.”

Following Mr Goillau’s death in 2011, emotional tributes were paid to the former Dereham Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College student. He was a keen hockey player and had been a member of Dereham Hockey Club since he was a schoolboy. After leaving Dereham Sixth Form college he attended Coventry University where he continued to play hockey and captained the university’s team.

To support Gina and Mike reach their target to provide a minibus in Phill’s memory, go to www.justgiving.com/Variety-Club-Marathons-Challenge

david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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