A TEACHING assistant will run the Fleet half-marathon, on Sunday, in memory of a Bordon schoolgirl who died after contracting viral encephalitis.

On October 14 last year, Nicola Stonehouse, a former pupil at Woodlea Primary School (where teaching assistant Maria Knights works) and who was studying at Mill Chase Secondary School, died aged 12. The cause of death was determined to be viral encephalitis.

Her funeral took place at Guildford Crematorium where One Direction songs were played and mourners wore purple, Nicola's favourite colour.

Nicola, who was a year-eight student at Mill Chase, was always "smiling and cheerful" and is missed by friends and family, Mrs Knights said.

Mrs Knights, who taught Nicola from age six to 11, is running the Fleet half-marathon to raise money for a memorial garden at the school, where the children can remember Nicola and keep her memory alive.

Mrs Knights said: "I will be running in purple as this was Nicola's favourite colour."