The mother and sister of teenager Miranda Williams have paid tribute to a ‘special person with lots of potential’ ahead of what would have been her 20th birthday.
To mark the occasion, friends and family members will gather at her resting place in Winchester this Sunday to celebrate her short life.
Her sister, Emily, is running a marathon in honour of ‘artistic’ Miranda, who her family said loved her ‘amazing friends’ who have been left heartbroken by her death last October.
An inquest is set to be held shortly but her family accept she was likely to have taken her own life after struggling to cope three weeks after starting at Bristol University.
Emily and her boyfriend Michael Trent, both 22, are training for the Midnight Marathon in August, a hilly route through the South Downs at night.
They are running on behalf of Papyrus, a charity which works to prevent young suicide and has helped the family through their grief.
Emily, 22, said: “This Sunday it’s Miranda’s birthday so we’re going to run our own half marathon and start fundraising for Papyrus.
“When we set up a Justgiving page for the charity just after Miranda died it gained £7,500 in a month.
“Our target was £500 but that was broken in half an hour. So many people donated, friends, family, my dad’s cycling club and Miranda’s boyfriend’s family.
“It really helped us cope and made us think can we raise some more?”
Both Emily and Michael admit taking on a hilly 26.6-mile route up and down the South Downs, starting at 9pm, is a huge challenge for their first ever marathons.
Emily said: “Some days I really don’t feel like running, grief really takes its toll in different ways.
“Some days it’s OK but then others I think ‘oh god how am I going to run a marathon’.
“But running has really helped me cope.”
Michael added: “Some days we’ve just had to turn back and say we’ll run tomorrow.
“But it’s been really nice to have something positive to focus on.”
Emily wants families and friends who suspect someone is suffering to try to speak about mental health problems.
“She was struggling but it slipped through her friends, family, everyone. There were no red flags,” she said.
“She had a cool and strong exterior, she never asked for help but inside she was obviously vulnerable.”
Emily and mum Nikki Williams described Miranda as someone who loved her friends and to socialise, a highly intelligent person who gained top GCSE grades at Chichester High School and A’Levels at Havant College.
Nikki said: “She was a really special person who had lots of potential.
“She was a person who couldn’t walk past a homeless person without helping them, she hated inequality.
“She was very empathetic and didn’t ever want to hurt people’s feelings, which is probably why she didn’t tell us about her problems because she didn’t want anyone to worry.”
Donate to Emily and Michael’s marathon cause at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Emily-Michael-Marathon
And to find out more about the suicide prevention charity Papyrus click here
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