Winston’s Wish teams up with inspirational mum ahead of Great Manchester Run

Winston’s Wish, the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK, is feeling inspired by the moving story of a young mum who will be tackling the Great Manchester Run for a reason very close to her heart.

Sophie Gaynor, from Newton Heath, lost her own father when she was just two years old. Nine years later, at the tender age of 11, Sophie’s mother also passed away. Her older brother Mark became her legal guardian and the pair were left to rebuild their lives with no proper support.

Mark, now aged 34, took on the daunting role of raising his young sister while dealing with his own feelings of bereavement. Together they got through it, but Sophie is very aware that bereavement can have a devastating impact on some young people who are not offered professional help at the right time.

The 27-year-old, who works as a dental practice manager in Sale and has a two-year-old daughter of her own, is on a mission to raise awareness of Winston’s Wish and the invaluable support it provides to children and young people going through similar experiences in the North West. The charity works extensively in Greater Manchester and Wigan, offering drop-in sessions with experienced child bereavement specialists.

Sophie decided Winston’s Wish was the perfect charity to nominate when she signed up for the Great Manchester Run which takes place on Sunday, May 22.

It’s her biggest physical challenge to date, but Sophie has already had a taste of what’s in store. She took part in three Race for Life 5Ks last year in aid of Cancer Research UK following the death of her aunt to cancer.

Sophie said:

“I lost both my parents at an early age and unfortunately didn’t receive any support. Running for a charity like Winston’s Wish is something I’m very passionate about. If anything happened to my daughter I would not want her to feel unsupported or alone.”

Sophie is eager to raise as much money as possible. She already has lots of ideas for fundraising and is grateful to her boss and work colleagues who have all been very supportive. Her JustGiving page can be found at

Each year, Winston’s Wish reaches more than 40,000 bereaved children and young people through an array of dedicated services. These specialist support programmes include support following death as a result of accident, illness, homicide, suicide and military service.