Jill Dando’s cousin runs Marathon in her memory, 20 years after death
Jill Dando’s cousin runs the London Marathon in her memory 20 years on from the journalist’s untimely death as she pays tribute to her ‘best friend who brought her so many happy memories’
- Judith Dando is running the London Marathon in cousin Jill Dando’s memory
- Judith, 59, will run marathon Sunday 28th April 2019 for Jill’s favourite charity
- On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on her doorstep
Judith Dando, cousin and best friend of late journalist, Jill Dando, has revealed she is running the London Marathon in her memory – 20 years after her untimely death.
Judith, 59, from Western Super Mare, will raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) – a charity that was close to Jill’s heart, as she underwent life saving heart surgery as a child and later became a fundraiser for the charity.
Judith, who moved to London with Jill in the nineties where they purchased a home together, also told how she warned her beloved cousin to move somewhere with tighter security when she moved out to Fulham by herself.
On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, aged just 37.
Judith Dando, 59, from Western Super Mare, is the cousin and best friend of late journalist, Jill Dando, seen right, has revealed she is running the London Marathon in her memory – 20 years after her untimely death on 26th April 1999. They are pictured together in the nineties
Speaking about her tragic loss, Judith said: ‘Jill was loved by all who knew her which is why I and the whole family found her death so incomprehensible. It was a terrible shock and one that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.’
Jill and Judith were only 18 months apart in age and became close friends as young adults.
Remembering their early years in London together, Judith said: ‘Jill was one of my best friends and when she was offered her first job at the BBC we moved in together in London.
‘Shortly after, we bought a house together where we lived whilst her journalism career was blossoming’.
Jill and Judith were only 18 months apart in age and became close friends as young adults. They are seen together as children
As Jill’s career continued to take off, she purchased her own home in Fulham – which would become the scene of her murder – one which sent shock waves across the nation.
And Judith revealed that she warned her cousin Jill against buying a house which was so easily accessible, revealing to FEMAIL how she advised her to get a house with tighter security.
But Judith is keen to keep their happy memories together alive, recalling one of her favourite memories when they were hanging out the washing in their back garden.
Judith remembered how Jill became so involved in a ‘gossipy conversation’ with Judith and Judith’s mother that she slipped and fell into the pond, with the washing landing on top of her.
On 26th April 1999, BBC journalist Jill Dando, was fatally shot on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, aged just 37
The pair had a great time living together, with Judith recalling how they often hosted parties together – often with famous TV names.
Recalling the day of her death, Jill’s cousin admitted she was devastated and found it ‘unfathomable that she would have any enemies who would do this’ – and still thinks of her every day.
And her decision to raise money almost exactly 20 years to the day since Jill’s death is one she says the late presenter would be proud of.
‘Choosing which charity to raise money for in Jill’s memory was easy. Living with her, I was familiar with the huge scar that ran down her chest which was an everyday reminder of her life-saving surgery’, Judith said.
‘She knew that if she hadn’t had heart surgery as a child, she wouldn’t have been able to do all of the amazing things she did’.
Although Judith has never enjoyed running, with this year’s London Marathon falling only two days after the tragic anniversary of Jill’s untimely death, she decided that taking on the event was the perfect way to pay tribute to Jill.
‘I know that if she were still with us today Jill would want to raise money for the BHF, so I’m doing this for her.
‘Running the London Marathon will be very emotional as it will be the culmination of a week of events to mark the anniversary. I know it will be tough but I am so glad to be doing this for her,’ she added.
Judith, pictured, from Western Super Mare, will raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) – a charity that was close to Jill’s heart, as she underwent life saving heart surgery as a child and later became a fundraiser for the charity
Karen McDonnell, Marathon Event Co-ordinator at the BHF says ‘We are thrilled that Judith has chosen to run for the BHF in Jill’s name.
‘Jill was an avid supporter and it’s truly fantastic to see her commitment to our cause kept alive through Judith.
‘All money raised by Judith will help fund life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases, which currently account for one in four deaths each year in the UK. We are hugely grateful to Judith and wish her the very best of luck for the big day.’
Judith D will mark the th anniversary of Jill’s murder by aiming to raise £10,000 for the BHF, which the public can donate to, with the support of those who knew her from near or far.
Jill’s life will be remembered in a BBC documentary airing on 2nd April at 9pm where Judith will be talking about her beloved cousin and the impact of Jill’s murder.
Judith revealed that she warned her cousin Jill, seen before her passing, against buying a house which was so easily accessible, revealing to FEMAIL how she advised her to get a house with tighter security
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