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Old school friends pay tribute to tragic runner
A runner who died at the finishing line of the London Marathon was a former Sussex school pupil, friends have said.
Writing online people said they recalled Rob Berry from their days at Angmering School near Littlehampton.
Yesterday the school was unable to pay tribute as it is half-term but on a Facebook site dedicated to Mr Berry people from Worthing paid tribute.
Craig McLoughlin recalled the 42-year-old from school. “RIP – he was a year below me,” he said.
Amanda Tricker added: “So very sad my thoughts are with his family.”
More than £52,628 had been donated to the National Osteoporosis Society in Mr Berry’s memory by 6pm yesterday.
He had been running for the society when he collapsed and died on Sunday, despite receiving medical help.
His JustGiving page had more than 4,000 donations to the charity in the hours after his death was announced.
Mr Berry said on the website that he was supporting the charity in tribute to his “inspirational” mother, who was diagnosed with a brittle bone condition aged 52.
In a message on his personal website Mr Berry wrote: “This page is dedicated to my mum, who despite being diagnosed with osteoporosis at the relatively early age of 52 years, has been an inspiration through the continued positive outlook she has displayed ever since, despite some quite clear discomfort.”
The National Osteoporosis Society said in a statement on its website: “It is with great sadness that the National Osteoporosis Society has learnt of the death of Robert Berry, one of our runners in this weekend’s London Marathon.
“The charity would like to express its heartfelt condolences to Mr Berry’s family and friends.”
Claire Severgnini, chief executive of the charity, said: “Our immediate concerns are for Mr Berry’s family. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them at this tragic time.”
Tributes and donations began pouring in after news of his death broke.
Mark Jameson, who also ran in the race, donated £10 and wrote: “God bless you Rob. Your family must be so proud of you, raising money to help your mum and others. So sorry it had to end in this way. RIP.”
A statement from race organiser Virgin Money said: “He was immediately taken to one of our medical facilities where he was treated by four consultants, including one in emergency medicine. He was transferred to St Mary’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“The organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon would like to continue to express their sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Berry and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them all at this difficult time.”
Mr Berry, who lived in Newbury, West Berkshire, worked in IT services and ran the Reading half marathon last month.
His website includes an interview with his mother Anne, where she describes having limited mobility as a result of osteoporosis.
“Despite the regular pain and discomfort, with the two hip operations on bones the density of someone typically the age of 100 I am able to walk short distances and with my husband’s support it is manageable,” says Mrs Berry.
According to his training regime Mr Berry had been preparing for the marathon since December.
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