AN artistic director is running this year's Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in memory of a voice coach.

Damian Cruden, of York Theatre Royal, will tackle the 26.2 mile course throughout the city and surrounding countryside to pay tribute to Susan Stern, his former colleague, on October 12.

Susan was regularly involved with the theatre's in-house productions, and was also a writer and director working in theatre, radio and print media.

Last year she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was later transferred to St Leonard’s Hospice.

Damian, who was a close friend of Susan’s, visited her every day in the final stages of her illness at the hospice as her condition worsened.

He said: "I had known Susan since joining York Theatre Royal some 17 years ago, though it seems as though it were only yesterday.

"Susan came to help me and the company make theatre for our city, she did so with joy, generosity, experience and great skill.

"In the last weeks of her life I was privileged to see her on several occasions.

"Surrounded by her family, I detected a deep sense of all their love and above all dignity. St Leonards was a haven for them all, it is clear how much Jeffrey and the family valued the love and care offered by the hospice in those final days.

"I would also like to remember Carol Morrill our beloved receptionist who was also lovingly cared for at St Leonards in the last days of her life.