A NOVICE runner has raised over £45,000 prior to this year’s London Marathon – making him the event’s second biggest fundraiser.

Former Dorset schoolboy Nicholas Scott is raising funds for stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.

The 34-year-old, who is married to Laura, is running the London Marathon in memory of their daughter Ella who passed away in September 2015 after being stillborn at full term.

There were no warning signs during Laura’s pregnancy and, 18 months later, there is no single answer or clue for what caused the tragedy.

Nicholas, who attended Dumpton School in Wimborne and then Canford School, said: “When we lost Ella our world completely and utterly fell apart. We felt like we were falling and that we would never ever stop falling.

“Sands gave us counselling from the very start, both on a one-to-one basis and also in groups with other bereaved parents.

“The support of Sands helped us both to get through it and, to this day, remains there for us as we live through the unimaginable. Without Sands, our family and our friends, we honestly just do not know what we would have done.”

Although keen on sport at school, Nicholas has never run in a full marathon before.

He started training for Sunday’s London Marathon in November and is having four training sessions every week with runs of more than 20 miles.

“Laura and I have been completely overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of people. It’s been incredible,” said Nicholas, who now lives and works in London.

He added: “This is all for Ella. Even though she passed away just before being born, she is affecting people’s lives and leaving her mark on earth by helping raise such a fantastic amount of money.

“It’s a chance to try and claim something positive from what was, and remains, a complete tragedy.”

Nicholas’s parents, David and Pauline, live in Bournemouth and own the independent furnishing stores Sturtons & Tappers.

David said: “We’re incredibly proud of what Nicholas is doing and, together with Laura, will be there on the day to cheer him on and to help heal his sore feet afterwards.”

Latest figures reveal that in the UK in 2015, one in every 227 babies was stillborn with an average of nine babies stillborn every day. A further one in every 370 babies born in 2015 passed away within the first four weeks of their lives. Visit virginmoneygiving.com/NicholasScott

Dr Clea Harmer, chief executive at Sands, said: “The efforts of our fundraisers never fail to amaze us here at Sands. As a charity we rely on the wonderful generosity of our supporters to continue our work.

“We cannot thank Nicholas enough for running the London Marathon for us in memory of his daughter, Ella, and for raising a phenomenal amount of money that will help us to support bereaved parents and their families. We wish Nicholas all the best and we look forward to cheering him on to the finish line on the day.”