HUNDREDS of runners donned bright colours to run along the seafront in memory of an “amazing” woman who dedicated more than ten years of her life to Havens hospices.

A record 755 people took part in the Chalkwell Beach parkrun on Saturday morning in memory of Jane Hopkins after she sadly passed away following a battle with cancer.

Echo: Support - Friends from Jane's running club Castle Point JoggersSupport - Friends from Jane's running club Castle Point Joggers (Image: Geraldine Gapes)

Jane was a founding member of the Chalkwell Beach parkrun and worked as community engagement manager at Havens hospices becoming a beloved member of the Southend community.

Echo: Together - Havens hospices teamTogether - Havens hospices team (Image: Havens Hospices)

On Saturday morning, runners turned out in huge numbers to take on the 5k run in Jane’s memory and her husband Mike, who gave an emotional speech before the start of the event, was blown away by the support.

Speaking after the event, he said: “It was an emotional day, but I can’t think of a better way to give Jane a suitable send-off. I was totally humbled by the sheer numbers of those who wished to pay their respects to her.

Echo: Together - Jane’s husband Mike and her close friend Tracy, who wore Jane’s running vestTogether - Jane’s husband Mike and her close friend Tracy, who wore Jane’s running vest (Image: Geraldine Gapes)

“Thank you to the core team and volunteers for having to put up with extra work and Havens hospices for having a stall. Jane was a special soul who will be greatly missed by many but knowing she helped so many others helps.”

Havens hospices had a stall at the event which raised £800 on the day, with thousands of pounds in total raised for Havens in Jane’s memory.

Echo: Love - Ron Castle, Jane’s dad, joined the ParkrunLove - Ron Castle, Jane’s dad, joined the Parkrun (Image: Geraldine Gapes)

Echo Sports reporter Chris Phillips knew Jane well and took part in the memorial parkrun.

He said: “I was lucky enough to be friends with Jane and she was just the best.

Echo: Friends - Chris Phillips with Jane HopkinsFriends - Chris Phillips with Jane Hopkins (Image: Chris Phillips)

“Saturday was obviously an emotional morning, but I think the number of people in attendance really shows how special she was.

“Jane meant so much to so many people and although it was sad, it was nice to speak to people about our own memories of her.

“I did a lot of my training runs with Jane for the London Marathon in 2019 and we did a lot of our runs along the seafront which I was thinking about on Saturday.

Echo: Running - Southend FlyersRunning - Southend Flyers (Image: Geraldine Gapes)

“My favourite one would be the time during a run in truly awful weather where the waves were crashing us onto the pavement but only ever seemed to land on Jane wherever she moved to.

“Jane also did an awful lot for our community via her work with Havens and was just an incredible person. You always left after seeing Jane in better mood than you were before seeing her, and she will be sorely missed.

Echo: In memory - Jane HopkinsIn memory - Jane Hopkins (Image: Havens Hospices)

“My thoughts are with Mike who she adored and her many friends.”

Dozens of Havens Hospices colleagues and volunteers, past and present, came together to remember Jane, swapping stories and memories of their time working with her. 

Amy Dearing, director of fundraising and marketing, said: “It was heartening to see so many people come together at Parkrun. 

“It was the perfect way to honour Jane and her legacy to the community and to Havens Hospices.”