Jill Dando’s cousin reveals running the London Marathon to raise £8K in her memory was the ‘toughest things she’s ever done’ – but says she’s knows the murdered presenter would be ‘proud’
- Judith Dando raised £8,000 in London Marathon in cousin Jill Dando’s memory
- Judith, 59, took part on Sunday 28th April 2019 for Jill’s favourite charity
- On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on her doorstep
Judith Dando, cousin and best friend of late journalist, Jill Dando, has raised £8,000 after taking part in the London Marathon in her memory on Sunday – 20 years after her untimely death.
Judith, 59, from Western Super Mare, raised the money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) – a charity that was close to Jill’s heart, as she underwent life saving heart surgery as a child and later became a fundraiser for the charity.
And over the weekend Judith completed the 26-mile event alongside 40,000 participants, admitting it was the ‘hardest physical thing’ she had ever done – but adding that Jill ‘would have been proud’.
Judith Dando, cousin and best friend of late journalist, Jill Dando, has raised £8,000 after taking part in the London Marathon in her memory on Sunday – 20 years after her untimely death
Speaking about the race, Jill said: ‘That was probably the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done and I have absolutely no intention of doing it again; having said that I am thrilled to have been able to raise such an incredible amount for the British Heart Foundation.
‘I want to say thank you for the all generous support from family, friends and from all those who knew and admired Jill from near and far-it has been amazing!
‘I know Jill would have been so proud of the money we have raised for the BHF’s life saving research. The charity was close to her heart and it means so much to our family to support it.’
Judith, pictured, from Western Super Mare, raised money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) – a charity that was close to Jill’s heart, as she underwent life saving heart surgery as a child and later became a fundraiser for the charity
Judith, who moved to London with Jill in the nineties where they purchased a home together, previously told FEMAIL how she warned her beloved cousin to move somewhere with tighter security when she moved out to Fulham by herself.
On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, aged just 37.
Speaking about her tragic loss, Judith said: ‘Jill was loved by all who knew her which is why I and the whole family found her death so incomprehensible. It was a terrible shock and one that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.’
Jill and Judith were only 18 months apart in age and became close friends as young adults.
Remembering their early years in London together, Judith said: ‘Jill was one of my best friends and when she was offered her first job at the BBC we moved in together in London.
‘Shortly after, we bought a house together where we lived whilst her journalism career was blossoming’.
Judith Dando, 59, from Western Super Mare, is the cousin and best friend of late journalist, Jill Dando, seen right. They are pictured together in the nineties
Jill and Judith were only 18 months apart in age and became close friends as young adults. They are seen together as children
As Jill’s career continued to take off, she purchased her own home in Fulham – which would become the scene of her murder – one which sent shock waves across the nation.
And Judith revealed that she warned her cousin Jill against buying a house which was so easily accessible, revealing to FEMAIL how she advised her to get a house with tighter security.
But Judith is keen to keep their happy memories together alive, recalling one of her favourite memories when they were hanging out the washing in their back garden.
Judith remembered how Jill became so involved in a ‘gossipy conversation’ with Judith and Judith’s mother that she slipped and fell into the pond, with the washing landing on top of her.
On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, aged just 37
The pair had a great time living together, with Judith recalling how they often hosted parties together – often with famous TV names.
Recalling the day of her death, Jill’s cousin admitted she was devastated and found it ‘unfathomable that she would have any enemies who would do this’ – and still thinks of her every day.
And her decision to raise money almost exactly 20 years to the day since Jill’s death is one she says the late presenter would be proud of.
‘Choosing which charity to raise money for in Jill’s memory was easy. Living with her, I was familiar with the huge scar that ran down her chest which was an everyday reminder of her life-saving surgery’, Judith said before the race.
‘She knew that if she hadn’t had heart surgery as a child, she wouldn’t have been able to do all of the amazing things she did’.
Although Judith has never enjoyed running, with this year’s London Marathon falling only two days after the tragic anniversary of Jill’s untimely death, she decided that taking on the event was the perfect way to pay tribute to Jill.
‘I know that if she were still with us today Jill would want to raise money for the BHF, so I’m doing this for her.
‘Running the London Marathon will be very emotional as it will be the culmination of a week of events to mark the anniversary. I know it will be tough but I am so glad to be doing this for her,’ she added.
Last week Judith appeared on This Morning to speak about her heartbreak at losing her best friend, why she thinks the nation was so struck by her murder, and why she believes we will never find out what really happened to Jill
Karen McDonnell, Marathon Event Co-ordinator at the BHF said before the race: ‘We are thrilled that Judith has chosen to run for the BHF in Jill’s name.
‘Jill was an avid supporter and it’s truly fantastic to see her commitment to our cause kept alive through Judith.
‘All money raised by Judith will help fund life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases, which currently account for one in four deaths each year in the UK. We are hugely grateful to Judith and wish her the very best of luck for the big day.’
Judith revealed that she warned her cousin Jill, seen before her passing, against buying a house which was so easily accessible, revealing to FEMAIL how she advised her to get a house with tighter security
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