A North East charity fun run attracting around 10,000 runners annually has this year raised over £249,000 for research into childhood cancer.

Organisers, North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR), who in 2017 celebrated the Children’s Cancer Run’s 35th birthday, launch a fresh appeal in the New Year for volunteers as the planning for the 2018 run gets underway.

The North East is recognised as an international hub for research into childhood cancer. The Children’s Cancer Run is crucial to the effort of raising vital funds for clinical trials and research into less aggressive treatments for childhood cancers – and they couldn’t continue to do so without the invaluable support of an army of volunteers.

Volunteers such as Kim Peacock, mother of the now Chairman of NECCR, Chris Peacock – who himself is a survivor of childhood cancer, having been diagnosed with a kidney tumour at age three, now clear of cancer 40 years this year.

Kim, who has volunteered for the Children’s Cancer Run since it began in 1981, said: To me the Children’s Cancer Run is one of the most inspiring and wonderful events I have ever been a part of and none of what we have achieved so far could have been possible without the commitment of our team of volunteers.

“The NECCR charity was originally formed by a consultant at the RVI, Professor Craft, and a group of parents with children who had been directly affected by cancer in order to fund research into better methods of treating the illness.

“In the early days of the run we organised the event from Kings School, Tynemouth, who took it on as a project. We completed all the admin work by hand, collating application forms and signing and sealing each envelope with around 1,000 fun runners taking part at Gosforth Racecourse in the first year.

“Fast forward three decades and from modest beginnings we have grown to now having over 75 schools taking part each year and around 10,000 runners signed up to take part.

“In 2016 we reached a milestone in the charity’s history when we were able to use £500,000 of the funds raised from the run to support the opening of the £5.5 million Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre in Newcastle, following a joint fundraising campaign lead by NECCR and Newcastle University.

“From day one Greggs has supported the run and we have seen continued, loyal assistance from St John Ambulance, South Tyneside Sports leadership young people, the Army Cadets and in more recent years the valuable support of Metro Radio. We can’t thank all the supporters and volunteers enough for their hard work and commitment.”

When the run began, approximately 75% of young people who contracted cancer died from the disease. Now, thanks to developments in research, funded by charities such as NECCR, approximately 75% survive, with the Northern Institute of Cancer Research at the forefront of this research.

Fundraising manager for NECCR, Janet Price, said: “We want to say a special thank you to 270+ volunteers who dedicated their time and resources at the 2017 Children’s Cancer Run to help us raise over £249,000 and indeed to everyone who has given their time to support us over the last 35 years.

“As a charity we are heavily reliant on our volunteers to help make our events as successful and enjoyable as possible. It’s the goodwill and generosity of people like Kim who help our team continue to make the run such a success.

“Ahead of this year’s run we’re appealing for local people, who may be considering their New Year’s resolutions at this time of year, and are able to give their time to assist with the organisation and delivery of the event in whatever way they feel possible, whether that’s through marshalling, cheering on runners or helping to promote the event.”

To date, the Children’s Cancer Run has raised over £7million in funds which go directly to helping the cause of finding new treatments and cures for children’s cancer.

To apply to volunteer at the 2018 Children’s Cancer Run visit: www.childrenscancerrun.co.uk