A MOTHER of three is in training to help a charity in memory of her cousin who bravely battled several adversities in her short life.

Nicola McGrath is raising money for VICTA, which supports blind and partially sighted children, in the Taunton Half Marathon on Sunday, April 7.

Nicola, of Taunton, wants to assist VICTA as thanks for the support it gave Tilly Riddell, who was born prematurely with aniridia, a condition where there is incomplete formation of then iris, leaving her partially sighted.

Tilly was always smiling and laughing and loved singing nursery rhymes despite having to battle against kidney cancer and bouts of pneumonia, which meant she spent two Christmases in hospital before her sudden death at the age of 3½ in February 2009.

Accompanying Nicola, who works for the Child Support Agency, in the race will be her father, Sean Monk, and sister-in-law, Louise Monk. The two women also completed the run last year.

“Tilly was amazing,” said Nicola.

“Despite everything she had to put up with, it never stopped her running around and she loved being thrown in the air and caught.

“It was a total shock when she died – my uncle went to check on her in the morning and she’d died in the night, out of the blue.”

Nicola has so far raised £500 for VICTA – she convinced colleagues at work to choose it as their charity of the year in 2012 and organised a raffle and cake sale with her mother, Irene Monk.

To sponsor her, go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/nicolamonk