Nine friends of murdered Leeds woman Poppy Devey Waterhouse will join her father and brother to run the Leeds Half Marathon next month.
Poppy, 24, was murdered by her long-term partner Joe Atkinson, 25, in the flat they shared in Richmond Hill last December. The former couple had ended their relationship around two months before her death, and Atkinson stabbed her multiple times in a jealous rage. She had been due to move out just days later. On Friday, Atkinson was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years.
Joe Atkinson: Profile of a 'Jekyll and Hyde' killer who suddenly snapped
Poppy was a high-flying maths graduate who met her killer when they were students at the University of Nottingham. She was originally from Somerset, but Atkinson's family are local and he grew up in Wetherby. She took a job as a quantitative trading analyst at William Hill's offices in Leeds in 2017.
Nine of Poppy's colleagues from William Hill are planning to run the Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday May 12 in her memory, alongside her father Rupert and brother Zebedee.
Ironically, Poppy has signed up for the race herself last year in aid of a charity which had cared for Joe Atkinson's mother when she was dying from cancer in 2011.
The group - Dan Cockerill. Charlie Holt, Lewis Ballantine, Liam Mosley, Dominic Scott, John Bassett, Antonio Ostios, Gustav Ljungqvist and James Smith - have already raised over £5,000 towards their £6,000 fundraising target, and will split the money between St Gemma's Hospice and Martin House Children's Hospice.
The team's statement on their Virgin Giving fundraising page says:-
"We are running in memory of our beloved friend and colleague Poppy Devey Waterhouse, who was tragically taken from us in December last year. Poppy was a wonderfully bright and joyful person, with an adventurous spirit, always keen to visit new places, meet new people, and experience new things. An exceptionally kind and caring person, Poppy gave much of her own time to give something back, including helping to form a Volunteering and Fundraising committee at work, and we hope to continue in her honour by coming together and raising money for charity.
"The idea to run actually began with Poppy; she had decided that 2019 would be the year that, among other new experiences and challenges, she would complete her first half marathon, in aid of charity. In turn, as was her nature, she was determined to bring some of her many friends along for the ride. Her infectious energy, and determination to never accept ‘no’ as an answer, meant she had already convinced a few of us, and was hard at work towards coaxing others. As a result nine of us from William Hill have signed up, together with Poppy’s younger brother, Zeb, and father, Rupert. This challenge will be a first for most of us, and until recently some of us hadn’t run a single mile in over 10 years, let alone 13 miles, but it is a challenge that we are determined to see through. Our inspiration is someone that brought out the best in all of us, forever encouraging us to do something out of our comfort zone, and motivating us to be better versions of ourselves.
"We have chosen two wonderful local charities to help raise money for, both of which were central to the work that Poppy began, so please help us in any way that you can – share, donate, volunteer, or simply wish us well :)
"Finally, we want to encourage anyone that visits this page to try to embrace all of the joys of life as much as possible, just as Poppy did each and every day - challenge yourselves, experience the world, meet new people, help others, and most importantly, smile."
To donate to Team Poppy, click here