KIND-HEARTED college staff are running to the rescue of a hospice whose fundraising efforts have been decimated by covid-19.

Supportive staff at Darlington College are dusting off their running gear to stage a virtual charity marathon.

Proceeds from the co-run will be donated to St Teresa’s Hospice, which needs to raise £3m a year to continue its work.

Marketing and engagement manager at Darlington College Claire Turner said: “When we heard about the plight of the hospice we all wanted to do something to help so we asked staff and came up with the idea of co-running a virtual marathon.”

For more than 30 years St Teresa’s Hospice has provided free care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

But its ability to generate income has been severely curtailed with the cancellation of events and the closure of its charity shops because of coronavirus.

Day services have been transferred to telephone only, while in-patient visitors must phone in advance, with numbers being limited to two per patient.

Vital community services, including home and rapid response care, are continuing but patients are asked whether they or any members of their family have exhibited coronavirus symptoms or been in contact with anyone who is self-isolating.

While the charity shops have closed, the hospice eBay shop is still being operated by staff .

An on-line appeal has been launched with a Just Giving Page  https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTsand members of the public can also become official ‘Friends of the Hospice’.

Darlington College has been an avid supporter of the hospice in the past and has just recently arranged a delivery of vital personal protective equipment for nurses and health care staff.

Claire said: “Each staff member who signs up has agreed to run a mile, documenting their journey along the way, either with a couple of pictures or a short video. We will use this to show progress on our website and social media.

“We will post reports on people’s progress each day and hopefully, if enough people join the event, we will be able to go even further. The mile documentation can be submitted at any time within the next two to three weeks and can be as creative as people want it to be.

“A college Just Giving page will be set up to take sponsorship and it is hoped we can raise as much money as possible for such a worthwhile cause.”

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “Support like this from Darlington College really does warm my heart. Not only does it raise much-needed revenue so we can continue our work in these unprecedented times, but it also shows that we are not being forgotten about.

“We can’t thank Darlington College enough for their help and I’m really looking forward to watching runners’ progress during this marathon effort.”

To sign up to take part runners should email marketing@darlington.ac.ukwith their details.