Dog walkers got their teeth stuck into some serious fundraising to help a hospice fight back from the pandemic.

St Teresa’s Hospice’s annual Bark in the Park charity event had to be virtual again this year because of continued COVID restrictions.

But that didn’t stop 59 teams of people walking with their dogs over a weekend, some as far away as Wales and Hadrian’s Wall.

Durham University Biosciences Society lecturer Gillian Campling encouraged her students to join the event. She and her dog Baxter walked about eight miles around Darlington, including a visit to South Park, the usual venue for Bark in the Park, raising more than £1,000 so far. (https://www.justgiving.com/team/Biosci).

Meanwhile, as part of the challenge, a group of her students walked a marathon 42.195km along part of Hadrian’s Wall, from Hexham to Newcastle.

The team comprised Clara Tyler, Sam Smith, Flora Turner, Sophia Brown, Sascha Lo, Eben Shadbolt and James Barber.

Clara said: “Fuelled by custard creams, tangerines and questionable music taste we trekked the full distance.

“We were all complaining about our aching feet, but it was only when we got to the station and Sophia took off her shoes to reveal humungous blisters that we understood her complaining was justifiable.

“It was most definitely a challenge. I can’t say we would all be rushing to do the same again next weekend, but it was a really enjoyable day and amazing to be able to raise money for St Teresa’s Hospice. It is a really worthwhile cause and one that will have missed out massively due to COVID.”

Gillian said: “Although we have all been busy with preparing for exams and working remotely, I am so pleased with the response. In particular I applaud the efforts of the team from St Cuth’s who got organised very quickly to do their Hadrian’s Wall hike and did a great job of raising sponsorship in a short time.

“Baxter and I enjoyed a long walk around Darlington and finished up in South Park. It was a lovely day and of course it is always a pleasure to do anything to help raise funds for the hospice to help them carry out their great work.”

Walkers in South Park took part in a treasure hunt trail and the winner collected a prize hamper donated by Jen Mitchell Photography and a hand-crafted bird feeder donated by Brin Nowell.

All entrants are being sent a voucher to collect a goody bag donated by the event’s principal sponsor, the pet supermarket Jollyes Darlington.

Bark in the Bark is expected to raise more than £3,000. Now in its sixth year, the event has raised £50,000 for the hospice since being launched in 2016.

St Teresa’s Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “It is heartening to know that so many people are still thinking of the hospice at the most difficult time in its history. So many annual fundraisers have been cancelled by the pandemic and until recently our superstore and charity shops were closed, which has had a major impact on our funding.

“I hope that Bark in the Park will mark the return of some form of normality and with the help of our wonderful community we can continue to recover and carry out our vital work.”

An emergency appeal, launched at the start of the pandemic, is still running and donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.