A WOMAN has spoken of how she dealt with the tragic sudden death of her husband.

Maria Ward, 52, from Bingley, lost her husband, Arran, to a heart attack 15 months ago.

She has credited bereavement charity Sue Ryder for helping her "know how to live" following Arran's death.

So much so that Maria is running the London Marathon later this month to raise funds for the charity.

She said: “My husband Arran died in November 2022 quite suddenly following a heart attack.

"He was a fiercely loyal person and so self-assured, but also the kindest person.

“It was without a doubt the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me."

Maria was not aware of Sue Ryder’s bereavement support before coming across the charity's services in Leeds city centre. 

She added: “I went into town to find a dress for my husband’s funeral and I saw Sue Ryder’s Empty Chair campaign, where they had a table set up encouraging people to sit and talk about their grief. 

“I had no idea about Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind bereavement counselling but the woman I spoke to told me all about it and how to get the right help. 

“Once I contacted the service and had my initial appointment I was referred for bereavement counselling.

"From the first moment I knew it would help, the person I spoke to really understood what I was going through and everything was so relevant to grief.

"For the first time, I thought ‘this is going to help me’. 

“I had six counselling sessions and they have been life-changing for me. I still get sad of course, but now I know how to live.” 

After completing the counselling sessions, Maria was inspired to find her passion in life again.

She said: “One of the things the sessions taught me was about doing things for you that serve you. I was trying to find things that were good for me, and a few people suggested Parkrun.

"I went, and it was amazing. It’s now the reason I get up on a weekend."

Maria added: “I am so grateful for all the people who have supported me, I have now hit my fundraising target of £2,000 and I am thrilled.

"People have listened to my journey and heard what a difference the counselling has had and have wanted to support that. I don’t know what I would have done without Sue Ryder.”