Search

Marathon is sister’s tribute to tragic Leah who died aged 15

PUBLISHED: 09:54 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:54 25 September 2018

Keata Wilby is running the London marathon in memory of her sister Leah who died aged only 15.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Keata Wilby is running the London marathon in memory of her sister Leah who died aged only 15. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

With just 14 months between them Keata and Leah Wilby were more like best friends than sisters.

Rarely apart they moved from battling over Barbies to singing into their hairbrushes to the likes of JLS and One Direction, their favourite bands.

Leah’s death aged just 15 from cancer, her prom dress hanging unworn in the wardrobe, was unthinkable - something the family knew was coming but held at arm’s length taking every day as it came.

Now seven years later Keata, of Garrison Road, Great Yarmouth, is pulling on her running shoes with the best of inspirations - her beautiful big sister who never complained and always thought of others first.

The 21-year-old hotel receptionist is running for the charity set up in her sister’s name - The Leah Wilby Foundation, which operates a holiday unit Leah’s Lounge - and carrying on her caring legacy.

Leah Wilby (left) and her sister Keata.Leah Wilby (left) and her sister Keata.

In the seven years since Leah died it has provided treat trips and much needed holidays for families from all over the UK with a seriously ill child.

Keata, who enjoyed sports at school but has barely jogged round the block since, said she was daunted by the London Marathon challenge, but excited to be part of such a big event in the capital.

Training is about to start in earnest helped by the gift of a free gym membership by the Marina Centre in support of the foundation.

“When my sister died when I was 14 it was difficult to understand,” she said. “They were using words I didn’t know.

Picture of 12-year-old Yarmouth girl Leah Wilby (front) who after recovering from two devastating bouts of cancer will run Race for Life in Norwich this year, with the help of her sister Keata aged 11.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy:  Kim Briscoe
For: EN
Archant pics © 2008
(01603) 772434Picture of 12-year-old Yarmouth girl Leah Wilby (front) who after recovering from two devastating bouts of cancer will run Race for Life in Norwich this year, with the help of her sister Keata aged 11. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Kim Briscoe For: EN Archant pics © 2008 (01603) 772434

“We were like best friends. Like two peas in a pod. At school I would sit with her at break time and lunch time. “I was always with her and she was protective over me but if anyone ever upset her I would be there straight away to stick up for her.

“We tried to forget about the cancer and carry on with normal life not thinking that the day was going to come when she was going to die.”

Now she is planning her wedding with security guard Daniel Dyball, 24, a process made bitter sweet when venues ask if she has a sister she would like to be a bridesmaid.

Keata, a fashion and textile graduate is hoping to raise £1,000.

Picture of 12-year-old Yarmouth girl Leah Wilby (L) who after recovering from two devastating bouts of cancer will run Race for Life in Norwich this year, with the help of her sister Keata aged 11 (R) and mum Debbie Wilby (centre) who will walk with them.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy:  Kim Briscoe
For: EN
Archant pics © 2008
(01603) 772434Picture of 12-year-old Yarmouth girl Leah Wilby (L) who after recovering from two devastating bouts of cancer will run Race for Life in Norwich this year, with the help of her sister Keata aged 11 (R) and mum Debbie Wilby (centre) who will walk with them. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Kim Briscoe For: EN Archant pics © 2008 (01603) 772434

To donate click the link here.

Keata Wilby is running the London marathon in memory of her sister Leah who died aged only 15.
Picture: Nick ButcherKeata Wilby is running the London marathon in memory of her sister Leah who died aged only 15. Picture: Nick Butcher

Other News

56 minutes ago

Police are appealing for help to trace a woman following a theft in Great Yarmouth.

Residents in Great Yarmouth will be able to enjoy having their favourite fast food orders delivered right to their doorstep thanks to a new delivery service.

10:29

A child had to be released by firefighters after becoming stuck in a stool.

08:51

Ask any hotel manager and they will tell you that some guests are noisy and messy, while others never say boo to a goose.

Most Read

Yesterday, 13:10

The man who was killed in a fatal stabbing in Great Yarmouth has been named.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Mon, 11:17

A man remains in hospital with serious injuries after his car crashed into a telephone pole and tree before landing in a ditch.

Read more
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Mon, 13:37

A man has been arrested on suspicion of multiple driving offences including drink driving in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:29

A man who threatened to kill a woman he bombarded with abusive phone calls has been jailed.

Read more

Portraits and silhouettes of soldiers, nurses and munitions workers lined two Norfolk beaches as part of a Remembrance Day tribute by filmmaker Danny Boyle.

Read more
Remembrance Day 2018

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy