Express & Star

'My son died at 16 days old and now I'm running the London Marathon in his memory'

A Dudley dad is set to run the London Marathon to raise vital funds for a premature baby charity in memory of his son who died at 16 days old.

Matt will run the London Marathon in memory of his son, Sam

Matt Wilkinson will make his way down to the capital city for the event on Sunday in the hopes of raising as much as he can for The Smallest Things.

When Matt's twins, Harry and Sam, were born 15 weeks early in 2015, they weighed just 1lb 12oz (780g) and 1lb 10oz (750g).

Matt in the NICU where his son's, Harry and Sam, spent 107 days

After 107 days in neonatal intensive care (NICU), Harry came home and despite various hospital trips over his first few years of life, is now a happy eight-year-old who likes exploring outside and playing with his big sister, Isabelle.

Sadly, Sam died at 16 days old as he was too fragile and weak.

Matt's wife, Sally, only had the chance to hold and feed him a few times.

Matt said: "We know he fought hard during his short time, so he could play with his brother and sister but sadly he was so tiny and too poorly to make it."

Matt pictured with his eight-year-old son, Harry

The 45-year-old dad became involved in The Smallest Things in 2017, initially fundraising then becoming a trustee to support managing the charity and developing its initiatives.

The charity is run by volunteers who have had premature babies and aims to raise awareness of early births and the needs of families following intensive care.

Now, Matt will don his trainers and run more than 26 miles across London in aid of The Smallest Things.

He has already more than doubled his initial fundraising target of £1,000, raising £2,183 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Matt, who works for the Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust in Brierley Hill, runs regularly but began training for the London Marathon in October last year.

Matt will run the London Marathon in memory of Sam, his son who died at 16 days old

He said: "I enjoy the challenge of running to help my physical fitness and mental wellbeing but I am doing the marathon and supporting The Smallest Things for Sam.

"Sadly, Sam's life was very short. He didn't get to play with his brother or chase after his big sister.

"But I'm determined Sam's legacy will be to make a difference and I hope by running the London Marathon it will raise awareness of prematurity and allow us to share Sam's story."

To help Matt reach his target, visit and to find out more about The Smallest Things go to