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Daughter of Limavady policeman who died in marathon runs in his memory

'He was always raising money for charity and I want to do the same'

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Tragedy: Stephen Heaney on the day he collapsed at the marathon

Tragedy: Stephen Heaney on the day he collapsed at the marathon

Tragedy: Stephen Heaney on the day he collapsed at the marathon

The daughter of a police officer who died whilst taking part in the Belfast Marathon three years ago is preparing for a 155-mile challenge in his memory.

Stephen Heaney (50), who was a serving police officer in his home town of Limavady, was taking part in his first ever marathon and had completed just five miles when he collapsed.

Two doctors also taking part in the May 2018 race administered CPR until Mr Heaney was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, but sadly he did not survive.

Mr Heaney's daughter Victoria said in the three years since her father died she has continued to miss him and hopes her fundraising challenge will help keep his memory alive.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Victoria said: "I still get people coming up to me and saying 'Are you Stevie's daughter?' and then telling me these wonderful tales about how they knew him and things they shared.

"My father was a police officer and that meant we had to keep our private life very low key so it was only since he died that my sister Rebecca and I have realised how highly respected and well thought of by so many our father was.

"One of the reasons why I decided to take up this challenge, is to keep his memory alive but he was always raising funds for charity so I want to raise money for two local charities as well.

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"Dad had completed just five miles of the Belfast Marathon so I decided I would run or walk five miles every day in May which will be a total of 155 miles.

"I opened a fundraising page hoping to reach a target of £1,000 but within three hours we had that amount, which again is an indication of how highly regarded my dad was, so we are just going to wait and see now what the final amount will be.

"Dad was always raising money for any number of charities but I want to help two local charities, Limavady Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide because of the mental health crisis we are facing and because of the impact on my own mental health dad's death had.

"I also want to raise money for the Foyle Hospice in recognition of the incredible way they looked after my grandfather David - my dad's dad who passed away last October - but also of the way they looked after Rebecca and I who were the only two allowed in to see him in the weeks before he died."

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With daughters Victoria and Rebecca

With daughters Victoria and Rebecca

With daughters Victoria and Rebecca

Victoria, who is currently on placement in Galway as part of her Ulster University degree in Biomedical Engineering, will begin the challenge in Galway on May 1 but on the weekend of her father's anniversary, she will continue it in Limavady.

She continued: "I moved to Galway nine months ago and even that was yet another reminder of how much I miss my dad and it was while I was travelling back down the road from a visit home that I realised I wanted to do that would keep his memory alive.

"I'll do the first few days in Galway but I will be in Limavady for my dad's anniversary on May 7 when my sister and our mother will join me in the five miles.

"Going home to Limavady really hits me hard because now I am going home to see my mum and it reminds me that I am not getting to see my dad.

"No matter when I am there, so many people keep telling me my dad would be so proud of me and I really like to think he would be."

Anyone who would like to help the fundraiser can do so at justgiving.com and searching for 'Victoria Heaney'


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