A MATERNITY support worker whose grandfather ran the London Marathon seven times has launched a fundraising campaign for a 13-year-old girl to have a prosthetic limb.

Nicola Field, 49, who works at Denbigh Infirmary, never thought she would attempt a marathon herself despite words of wisdom from her grandfather, Emlyn Philipps, that one day she would.

However, since starting to run to improve her health four years ago she now finds herself in that very position, after unexpectedly receiving a rare ballot entry for this year’s race which means she is not required to fundraise to qualify.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was given a ballot entry, there is a one in 400,000 chance that your name is pulled out of the hat,” she said.

“My grandfather always said to me, ‘You’ll run it one day’, but I never thought I would. Now I don’t have a choice!”

Despite signing up to test herself after improving her fitness since joining Denbigh Harriers in 2015, the mum-of-three and grandmother-of-four soon found another motivation after realising that taking part in one of the world’s biggest marathons is a unique opportunity to fund a cause in Denbigh, where she has lived all her life.

Nicola began researching charities online and came across Ruby Bryan, a Denbigh High School pupil who was preparing to have her leg amputated at the knee to treat bilateral talipes, also known as ‘club feet’.

Nicola saw Ruby’s family and friends were trying to raise money to buy a prosthetic limb, which can cost thousands of pounds, so she decided to help by starting the ‘Running for Ruby’ campaign.

Denbighshire Free Press: Nicola and Ruby.Nicola and Ruby.

Nicola said: “As I'm a Denbigh girl I still wanted to fundraise for a charity in the town and when I read about Ruby on social media I thought it would be a great idea to help.

“I contacted Ruby’s mum and the three of us met to chat. Ruby is a lovely girl and I could see her condition caused her lots of pain, so decided I would start ‘Running for Ruby’.”

“I run for health benefits and it has improved my life. I wouldn’t want to see Ruby not be able have that. Having the option to walk taken away from you is the hardest thing."

Ruby had her operation at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry in late March. She will be given a prosthetic limb by the NHS for the next few years whle she is growing but a better quality or athletic model will be needed for her to move more freely in future.

“Ruby has given me motivation because I know no matter what I’ll go through it won’t be half of what Ruby has been through," Nicola said.

Denbighshire Free Press: Nicola and Ruby.Nicola and Ruby.

“When I’m running 20 miles in training and felt like giving up, I think about Ruby’s strength and it has kept me going.

“She still has a long way to go to recovery, but she is very determined and has strong family support.”

Nicola’s training routes have included running from Denbigh to Rhyl via St Asaph, before travelling along the coast and then back again.

Meanwhile, Ruby has been recovering in hospital, now taking paracetamol and using a Zimmer frame to walk.

Angela, Ruby’s mum, said: “Ruby is still healing but the process so far has been good.

“She has been taken off the strong painkillers needed to treat her foot and she’s been in a lot of pain after the operation, but she is still as positive as can be. She doesn’t want help either; you try to help her down the stairs and she won’t let you.

“We couldn’t believe when we were first told Ruby would need to have her leg amputated. She said, ‘No way’. It was shocking and an extremely difficult period.

“But it is unbelievable how kind people have been in supporting Ruby and so many people have helped to raise money, including Ysgol Frongoch, Ruby’s old school, who had an own clothes day and Marg’s Café where she worked before the operation.

“Ruby’s been told she still has the job, but she needs the prosthetic leg before she can return, and she wants to get back to school too.

“Nicola has really been a driving force behind the fundraising, and she is killing herself with her training. We’re really grateful to her.”

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 28.

To donate to 'Running for Ruby', visit Nicola’s fundraising page by clicking here.