West Beckham nursing auxiliary runs four marathons in memory of her brother

Andi Osborne preparing for her four marathon challenge.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Andi Osborne preparing for her four marathon challenge. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thursday, March 20, 2014
8:00 AM

A breast cancer survivor, former primary school teacher and mother-of-three is running four marathons to remember her brother who committed suicide.

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Andi Osborne preparing for her four marathon challenge.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYAndi Osborne preparing for her four marathon challenge. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Andi Osborne, 59, a nursing auxiliary, is raising money for Combat Stress, a charity which helps ex-forces personnel who suffer from psychological wounds.

The grandmother-of-two, from West Beckham, is tackling the marathons in memory of her brother Andrew, who died in June 2012 when he crashed his light aircraft into cliffs in Cornwall.

Lt Cdr Andrew Stilwell-Cox, 55, had joined the Royal Navy aged 15 as a steward and was serving aboard HMS Glamorgan in the 1982 Falklands conflict when the destroyer was struck by an Argentinian-fired exocet missile, killing 14 of his fellow crew.

Mrs Osborne said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had not been a recognised condition at the time of the Falklands War and her brother had only once talked about the incident, to their father.

Before he died he left three notes, and his border collie Archie who normally flew with him and was dubbed his “hairy co-pilot”.

Mrs Osborne said: “As children he was the one that was fit and I was the one that sat about. When I started running at 52 he used to call me Forrest, after Forrest Gump.”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 Mrs Osborne raised money to help fellow sufferers. But following her brother’s death she decided to help other ex-forces personnel who suffer from PTSD.

She said: “A lot of them come home with survival guilt because they are alive and well but have lost colleagues. I think while Help for Heroes and Walk with the Wounded are brilliant, they are for the injuries you can see.”

Mrs Osborne will run the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 13, the Windemere Marathon on May 18 and the Kent Roadrunner May 31 and Norfolk’s Poppyline marathon on June 8 for Combat Stress. Visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Andrea Osborne.

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