It’s a family affair as three brothers run for a reason in London Marathon | Action Medical Research

It’s a family affair as brothers prepare for London Marathon

11 December 2015

Three brothers are getting ready to run for a reason by tackling next year’s Virgin London Marathon in aid of children’s charity Action Medical Research.

The trio have kicked off their training programme after gaining places on the world-famous event on 24 April 2016.

And it’s a family affair with Will, Ferg and George Bostock inspired by George’s wife Dr Joanna Cook’s research at Imperial College London into premature birth; with the help of funding from Action Medical Research, Dr Cook is looking for a new way to identify expectant mothers who are at risk so they can receive extra monitoring and care designed to protect their babies.

Will (pictured above left, in the right of the photo), 32, who lives in Cranleigh, Surrey, completed the London Marathon in 2007 and 2009 and says Dr Cook’s study to predict which women might go into labour too soon galvanised him into action for Action.

“We know how hard she has worked and the impact of the funding she has received from Action Medical Research,” says Will, who’s dad to one-year-old Phoebe. “The three of us have all got young children and we appreciate that while we’ve been lucky enough to have healthy children, others aren’t so fortunate so we wanted to do what we can.”

Together with father-of-two Ferg (pictured above left, in the left of the photo), 34, a trainee GP who lives in Exeter, who completed the London Marathon in 2003, and 36-year-old George (pictured above right), an anaesthetist from Ipswich who has two daughters, he’s preparing to tackle the 26.2 miles in April.

“Our training will begin in earnest in January – it doesn’t really feel real at the moment but I know we’ve got the motivation to get us out there,” adds Will.

Dr Cook was awarded a Research Training Fellowship in February 2014 for her research which aims to develop a simple blood test that could be used very early in pregnancy to identify women who are at high risk of going into labour too soon.

“During my work as a doctor, I have cared for many women who’ve gone into labour early and witnessed the distress, and sometimes tragedy, this can cause,” she says.

Sadly, premature birth is the biggest killer of babies in the UK1. Babies who survive are at increased risk of developing lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy, blindness and learning difficulties. They are also more vulnerable to high blood pressure and diabetes during adulthood.

“Frustratingly, we don’t fully understand why some women go into labour too early and are therefore often unable to stop this from happening,” adds Dr Cook.

With the help of its supporters, Action Medical Research has played a significant role in many medical breakthroughs for more than 60 years, from the development of the first UK polio vaccines to the use of ultrasound in pregnancy. In addition to premature birth, it is currently funding research into meningitis, Down syndrome and epilepsy, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

To support the trio, please visit


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  1. Office for National Statistics. Child Mortality Statistics: Childhood, Infant and Perinatal, 2012. Table 6 Live births, stillbirths and linked infant deaths: ONS cause groups and birthweight. [Website accessed 12 June 2014]

For more information on Dr Joanna Cook’s work, please visit



For a photo of Ferg (left) and Will Bostock after the Geneva half marathon, please click on the link below:

For a photo of George Bostock with his daughters after 2015’s RideLondon event, please click on the link below:


For more information on Action Medical Research, please contact Ellie Evans, Fundraising Communications Officer, on:

T: 01403 327480



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Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity working to save and change children’s lives through medical research. We believe that the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children can be beaten. We have been funding medical breakthroughs since we began in 1952 like the first polio vaccines in the UK, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine – helping to save thousands of children’s lives and change many more.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world. Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284.

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