A COMPANY boss has run his first marathon and raised almost £9,000 in memory of a beautiful young woman from Colwyn Bay who died suddenly from a rare condition.

Paul Hollingsworth took part in the Chester Marathon last month and has now more than doubled his original £4,000 fundraising target in aid of Ataxia UK.

He ran the 26 mile race to remember Scarlett Salisbury, the daughter of his close friend Jeremy, director of St Asaph based Salisbury chartered accountants. Scarlett died in March, just days after celebrating her 21st birthday with family and friends, including Paul and his wife Suzanne.

Scarlett, of Colwyn Bay, was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia when she was eight, which is the most common form of Ataxia - the name given to a group of neurological disorders which affect balance, coordination and speech.

The former Rydal Penrhos pupil, who never let her condition dictate her life, was weeks away from gaining a degree in Media Studies at Bangor University when she died at Glan Clwyd Hospital from heart problems associated with her condition.

Paul, 54, managing director of Hollingsworth Group in Sandycroft, said: “Scarlett, or Scally as we called her, was an absolutely beautiful girl and so full of happiness and life. Running a marathon is not easy, but at the points where I found it hard, I only had to think of Scarlett and what her family, are going through and I used that as a driver. I am immensely proud of the amount raised and really touched by the generosity of the sponsors. There were more than 100 donors. I can’t quite believe the amount raised and it will be great to hand this over to Ataxia UK to continue supporting other families and trying to find a cure.”

Jeremy, said: “We are all thrilled at Paul’s achievement and the fantastic sum of money he has raised in Scarlett’s memory. “These moments are hard for us. It brings our loss back into focus but it also helps because we know Scarlett is not forgotten and was looked upon so fondly by people, like our friend Paul."