An Andover councillor has spoken of the "nightmare" of losing both of her grandparents ahead of a marathon run in their memory later this year.

Councillor Tracey Tasker, who represents Romans Ward on Test Valley Borough Council, is set to run the Brighton marathon to raise money for charities which were close to their heart. Her grandfather passed away in December from Covid, while her grandmother battled Covid, dementia and a heart attack before passing away from a fall in May.

“I feel both were stolen from us all,” she said. The only comfort I had was that they were both reunited after 68 years of being married and should always be with one another, where they belong, together.

“My grandparents were my life. They did all they ever could for me and I owe this marathon to them.”

Cllr Tasker has previously run two marathons – the London marathon in 2014 and the Brighton marathon in 2015. In addition to the difficulty of running over 26 miles, she has the added challenge of dealing with the back condition scoliosis.

“I struggle with my back as I have a curved spine so I go to a chiropractors every eight weeks without fail,” she told the Advertiser. “After a certain distance I get a dull ache, but you just have to persevere.”

As lockdown was introduced, she suffered personal tragedy when her two grandparents passed away.

“My grandad was taken to hospital and got Covid at 88 years old, bless him, before passing away,” she said. “Then my nan got taken to hospital on Christmas Day with Covid, but she was suffering with dementia so wasn’t aware my grandad had died and couldn’t go to his funeral.

“Then she was in a convalescence home to get her back up and going but then she was moved to Salisbury where she got worse and had a fall before losing her.

“It’s all been a bit of a nightmare really. It’s awful.”

In their memory, she is in training for another marathon, and aims to raise £1000 for three charities – the British Heart Foundation, Dementia UK and the Countess of Brecknock Hospice – causes she says are ‘close to her family’s hearts’.

“I’ve trained harder for this one,” she said. “Having done it before, I know what to expect, and because of lockdown I’ve had the time to train for something. It’s given me more of a push to train for it.

“I’m trying to do it an hour quicker than what I’ve done before, so I’m trying to be around three hours and 45 minutes. It seems impossible but hopefully it’s doable.”

The marathon takes place next month on September 12, and if you would like to donate to her fundraiser, visit: