Record amount raised was a great team effort

Now that all the donations are in, charity officials are delighted to announce that its Great North Run fundraiser runners raised a record £32,000 in aid of Berwick’s Cancer Cars.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:30 pm
Runners from Berwick and District Cancer Support Group: Andrew Smith, Gillian Mitchell and Roger Peaple. Picture by Nikki Robertson.

For this year's 40th anniversary of the world-famous half marathon, the Berwick and District Cancer Support Group team comprised of 53 runners.

Three youngsters took part in the Junior and Mini Great North Run event – Caitlin Anne Baptie, aged 14, and brothers Jake Younger, seven, and Jude Younger, three – and the 50 senior runners all completed the main Great North Run.

Several of the runners recorded personal bests, with 11 of them finishing in under two hours. This was despite the tougher new route that the run organisers had put in place to ensure the event could happen and be as safe as possible.

Caitlin Anne Baptie. Picture by Ashley Anne.

First across the line for Berwick and District Cancer Support Group was Neil Craig with a time of 1:37:07. Lisa Nisbet recorded a time of 1:56:09 as the charity’s fastest female finisher.

Berwick Cancer Cars media representative, volunteer driver and Great North Run runner, Roger Peaple, said “Like many other charities, we rely heavily on this incredible annual event to help us raise the funds needed to keep our cars on the road and so that our team of volunteers can continue to arrange transport for clients to reach their cancer-related appointments and treatments.

“The scale and generosity of fundraising donations has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“For me personally, it was an absolute privilege to wear a Berwick’s Cancer Cars running top at my very first Great North Run – an unforgettable experience being part of an incredible fundraising team, many of whom have been affected in some way by cancer.

Jake and Jude Younger. Picture by Elaine Younger.

“The thing that will always stay with me the most was being stopped in my tracks whilst on a training run around the Berwick town walls by a cancer sufferer who was using the Cancer Cars at the time. She shouted to me, ‘Keep on going, you’re doing great and you’re doing this for me. Thank You!’

“It was quite an emotional moment and hit home to me just how important all those miles were and what an impact our running team and cars volunteer team make to people’s lives.”

The charity’s chairman, Great North Run organiser and himself a Great North Run runner for many years, Andrew Smith, said: “We were blown away by our amazing Great North Run fundraising running team, who between them raised an incredible £32,000.

“Each and every one of them trained so hard, putting in literally hundreds and hundreds of miles over the weeks leading up to the Great North Run day itself.

“Whenever we hit the streets of Berwick for training, we received tremendous support with cars tooting and people waving and cheering our runners on.

“We are also so grateful to all the amazing local businesses who kindly sponsored our very recognisable “I am supporting Berwick Cancer Cars” ‘yellow butterfly’ running tops, many of whom do so every year.”

The running team were also joined by Lisa Harris from Dunfermline, completing the 13.1-mile run in 2:00:11 wearing a home-made, sponsored ‘She-Ra Princess of Power’ costume.

She said: “This was my third run for Berwick’s Cancer Cars and I’m over the moon to be supporting a charity that is so close to my heart.

“My auntie Sue used the cars to travel to Newcastle when she was receiving treatment for cancer in 2016/17. It was a horrific time for her and unfortunately the cancer defeated her.”

Jon Bainbridge, originally from Berwick but now living in Norfolk, travelled more than 300 miles to take part in aid of Berwick and District Cancer Support Group.

He said: “I have a close family member who called upon the services of Berwick’s Cancer Cars. The charity transports local residents to and from their life-saving appointments at hospitals 40 to 60 miles away, taking away the worry and concern of getting to hospital for people suffering from cancer.

“They are the pride of Berwick for me. All volunteers, playing their part in saving lives.”

Great North Run team runner Susan Howlett said: “My mum was diagnosed with myeloma five years ago and since then has attended regular hospital appointments.

“The friendly and helpful Berwick’s Cancer Cars volunteers make sure she arrives on time and relaxed. The charity not only help people in our area with cancer but also their families, meaning that we as a family can still go to work knowing that mum is in safe hands.”

Referring to her weekly training runs, Great North Run team runner and Berwick’s Cancer Cars volunteer driver Gillian Mitchell said: “If ever I question why I am taking part in the Great North Run, I am reminded by the number of addresses I pass when I'm running where I've picked up people for treatment – it's a sobering thought and spurs me on.”

The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group was founded in 1992 and its main service is to provide free transport to any locally based cancer sufferer to all major hospitals in the North East.

The group is entirely made up of volunteers who rely on the help and support of everyone in the community.

For more details on the service that Berwick’s Cancer Cars provide, go to www.berwickcancersupport.co.uk