Leicester

Funeral for London Marathon runner Claire Squires

Claire Squires
Image caption Claire Squires was raising money for the Samaritans by running the marathon

The funeral of the runner who died near the finish line of the London Marathon has taken place at a church in Leicestershire.

More than £1m has been raised for charity since 30-year-old Claire Squires' death on 22 April.

Hundreds of people were at the service to celebrate the life of the hairdresser, from North Kilworth, at the parish church of St Andrew's.

Her family has asked for donations to be made to Rainbows, in Loughborough.

More than 600 people attended the service.

The runner collapsed and died near St James's Park after completing 25 miles and was just a bend away from the finish line at the Mall.

Same grave

Investigations into the cause of the charity fundraiser's death are continuing.

A post-mortem test has been carried out but the results were inconclusive.

Donations to her JustGiving website jumped from £500 to more than £900,000 following her death.

The 30-year-old was raising money for the Samaritans, a charity her mother has volunteered with for 24 years.

Media captionCatherine Johnson, Samaritans: "We would like to say thank you to all the people who have donated in her memory"

Miss Squires was laid to rest in the same grave as her brother at a private burial service at the church at 09:00 BST.

It was attended by family members and her partner Simon Van Herrewege.

The runner's parents Priscilla, known as Cilla, and Paul were not present at the burial but attended the funeral service with her sisters Maxine, Nicola and Penny.

The youngest, Penny, described her sister as "beautiful, inside and out" and said she had left a huge legacy, raising "well over a million pounds" in total for charity.

"She has become the nation's sweetheart," she added.

Mr Van Herrewege thanked family and friends for all their support as well as people who had donated from across the world.

Image caption More than 600 people attended the funeral

"There has been overwhelming support from people across the UK and the world who have taken her into their heart," he said.

He added that the level of generosity had been "mind-blowing".

Many tributes for the runner have been left outside the church. One read: "Bear, we love and miss you so much.

"God must have needed an extra special person to have taken you. You're now with Grant so look after each other."

Scott Lea, spokesman for Rainbows, said: "We all really appreciate that Claire's relatives have thought of Rainbows at what must be an incredibly difficult time.

"We would like to offer our thanks and most sincere condolences to the family."

Miss Squires' brother Grant died in 2001 after reportedly becoming depressed following the death of his girlfriend in a car accident, which he survived.

An inquest recorded an open verdict into the 25-year-old's death.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites