Nine novice runners, from Crafter’s Companion in Newton Aycliffe, will complete the Great North Run in the hopes of raising more than £3000 for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families caring for a seriously ill child.

Sunny Pahal, Amy Gray, Katy Jones, Chantel Gray, Paige Todd-Archbold, Jade Craggs, Sarah-Jane Grainger, Hillary Delve and Di Kinrade work across different areas of the company including product development, marketing, trade and social media. The team will join more than 40,000 runners taking part in the Great North Run on September 8.

Apart from Sunny, who has already participated in two half marathons this year for Rainbow Trust, this is the first time that the group has trained for a running event. Marketing manager, Meg Lidster, who will be nine months pregnant at the time of the Great North Run, is also fundraising for the charity by walking the equivalent 13.1 miles during the summer with Sunny.

Sunny discovered Rainbow Trust and was inspired by the charity’s work and how it aligned with Crafter’s Companion’s ethos to support community causes. After showing the charity and its work to the rest of the company, the group of runners assembled to support the dozens of families that use the service in the North East.

Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child aged 0-18 years with a life threatening or terminal illness. The charity offers support for the whole family including the unwell child, parents, carers, brothers, sisters and grandparents. Family Support Workers help families at home, in hospital and in the community, wherever they can, to make life easier.

There are currently eight teams of Family Support Workers across the UK. The North East regional team covers Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Teesside, Redcar and Cleveland.

Sunny, head of soft crafts at Crafter’s Companion, said: “When I came across Rainbow Trust I was instantly moved. It’s an extremely family-orientated organisation and provides a vital support network for people who have so much to cope with on a day-to-day basis.

“The backing from Crafter’s Companion and comradery in our running team has been great. None of the girls started out as runners so the effort and time that they are giving up to train for the Great North Run, to raise money for a really important cause, has been fantastic.”

Oonagh Goodman, director of fundraising and marketing at Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity said: “When serious illness affects a child, family life is turned upside down and time becomes more precious than ever. Rainbow Trust pairs each family with a dedicated expert Family Support Worker to help them face and make the most of each new day.

“Families can be overwhelmed with grief and worry about their child’s illness and getting them to hospital appointments that may be hundreds of miles away, all the while trying to keep life as normal as possible for their other children. Our Family Support Workers support the whole family with whatever they need so that families don’t have to manage alone.

“This year we are hoping to raise enough money through the Great North Run to support over 17 families for an entire year so it’s really important that people, like Sunny and her colleagues at Crafter’s Companion, get involved with these events because without fundraising, we wouldn’t be able to offer this vital support.”

Anyone who wishes to support Crafter’s Companion’s fundraising efforts and donate to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity can visit: