10 years on, widower aims to raise £10,000 for charity

January 30 2017

A BRISTOL Rovers supporter is hoping to raise £10,000 for charity to mark the 10-year anniversary of his wife's death.

A BRISTOL Rovers supporter is hoping to raise £10,000 for charity to mark the 10-year anniversary of his wife's death.

Mark Brimson was left bereft after his "soul mate" Gloria died in June 2007 following complications during brain surgery.

Her death left a huge void in Mark's life and, by his own admission, he has found her loss difficult to come to terms with.

He believes putting his efforts into raising money to help others suffering from brain injuries will be a fitting tribute to Gloria as well as helping him continue his journey in coming to terms with her untimely death.

Mark, 42, has set up the Gloria Brimson Foundation to raise money for Headway Bristol, a charity which helps survivors of brain injuries.

"It's been a tough nine years for me," Mark said.

"Gloria was my soul mate. We were together from a young age so she was all I really knew. She was the life and soul of the party and loved to go out and dance. She just loved being around people and everyone who met her liked her. She was one of those infectious people.

"I wanted to mark the 10th anniversary year in a positive way instead of making it a miserable one like all the other years have been.

"I chose Headway Bristol as, had Gloria survived the operation, she would have gone through their doors, so it made perfect sense."

Gloria, who was just 33 when she died, was diagnosed with an AVM  - Arteriovenous Malformation - which in its simplest form is a cluster of abnormal blood vessels in the brain. 

She underwent a 15 hour operation to remove the vessels but died on June 7, 2007 from complications.

Although Mark has arranged various fundraisers in support of the charity, his main mission is a sponsored walk from the home of Plymouth Argyle FC to Bristol Rovers' base at the Memorial Stadium. He will be joined by eight friends he met through work and football.

"I decided on Plymouth Argyle's ground because that was where the first away game I took Gloria to was. I also wanted to walk a marathon a day for five days and the 127 miles involved from Plymouth to Bristol works out at that. We will be walking about eight hours a day so we've now stepped up our training. I'm walking about eight miles a night at the moment and will gradually build that up."

Mark, who runs a business providing till systems and credit and debit card machines, said his fundraising mission to help others has played a huge role in him moving on.

"We were together for 15 years and it's hard to adapt to the shock of what's happened. Nothing really prepares you for losing a person you lived with and it's taking me longer to accept than I probably would have expected it to. The fundraising is part of letting go and moving forward with my life.

"It's a case of trying to find myself again and it's definitely helping me get back to my old self. Me getting out doing exercise has also helped. I feel it's a really good thing to be doing, both mentally and physically."

Mark, who now has a four-year-old daughter with partner Sarah Trevatt, is fundraising via a JustGiving page which is already up to more than £2,000.

He said: "Online we are up to about £2,200 but we've had some pledges come in offline so we're already about 50 per cent on the way to our £10,000 target.

"All the people doing the walk with me are good friends. They never met Glo so I'm really humbled by them doing it because effectively they're doing it for me. I think it will be a real 'Band of Brothers' moment that I will look back on in years to come.

"It's going to be great; I'm really looking forward to it."

The fund is being boosted my many of Mark's friends who have organised their own fundraisers including 10k runs and cycle rides.

Mark is also organising a dinner and dance at the Holiday Inn, Filton. It takes place on Friday June 9 and tickets cost £39. To book email markbrimson@gmail.com

To donate to the Gloria Brimson Foundation for Headway Bristol visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Brimson1