Runners dress in purple to remember ‘inspirational’ volunteer and former headmistress

Des Talbot, who died on Thursday, November 28. Picture: Thetford Parkrun

Des Talbot, who died on Thursday, November 28. Picture: Thetford Parkrun - Credit: Archant

More than 250 runners, friends and family dressed in purple in memory of a former headmistress and parkrun volunteer described as 'an inspiration'.

Runners from across Thetford paid tribute to Des Talbot , who died of cancer aged 68 on Thursday, November 28, by wearing the colour purple, a nod to the early days of the parkrun, at the poignant event at Thetford Priory on Saturday.

Des Talbot's husband, Allan Talbot, gave a moving speech. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Des Talbot's husband, Allan Talbot, gave a moving speech. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Mrs Talbot, who was headmistress at Queensway School for more than a decade from 1992, ran the parkrun more than 170 times and volunteered at the weekly event more than 50 times since she started running in 2013.

Parkrun organiser in Thetford, Melanie Sturman. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Parkrun organiser in Thetford, Melanie Sturman. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Despite battling cancer, Mrs Talbot - an avid runner - successfully completed the London Marathon in April this year despite undergoing radiotherapy at the time.

Allan Talbot, Des Talbot's husband, thanks the runners for their support. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Allan Talbot, Des Talbot's husband, thanks the runners for their support. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Her husband, Allan Talbot, described his wife as 'phenomenal' and 'inspirational'.

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant


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He said: 'I could never keep up with her. If ever we were playing tennis when we were younger I never once beat her.

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

'If ever I was thinking I am going to do it this time, she would always pull something out and still win.'

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate de memory of Des Talbot. Picture:

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate de memory of Des Talbot. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

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He added: 'Des was a lady who just got everybody going. She was an inspiration, she was phenomenal. She could inspire people to do what she was doing and she would encourage them all the way.

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate the memory of Des Talbot. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

'She was a headmistress for 10 or 12 years and she was well loved at Queensway.'

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate de memory of Des Talbot. Picture:

Hundreds of runners gathered at Priory Park, Thetford to celebrate de memory of Des Talbot. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Melanie Sturman, a close friend of Mrs Talbot and a fellow parkrun director, read a moving poem before the start of the run and said Des was 'always smiling'.

She said: 'She meant a lot to people because she was always smiling, always encouraging, always lively and she was highly thought of as you can see by the attendance today.

'She was always there when people were having bad times, she was there for me and others, she would also party hard and be up to antics.

'I think I would like to look at having an annual remembrance parkrun for somebody who has done so much for other people in the parkrun community.'

She is survived by her husband, Allan, her son Mark and daughter Sasha, and her grandchildren Madison and Caden.

The funeral service will take place at St Cuthbert's Church in Thetford on Wednesday, December 19. Bright colours should be worn and family flowers only but donations can be made to Cancer Research UK through the funeral director, Mark Skinner Funeral Service.

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