A NEWCASTLE mum and breast cancer awareness campaigner is hoping to inspire people to Race for Life at Home and carry on the fight against the disease.

Bridie Lincoln, 48, is one of Cancer Research UK’s most dedicated fundraisers spending her free time raising awareness and money for the charity as part of her Know Your Melons group.

Founded in 2014 following a friend’s breast cancer diagnosis, Know Your Melons encourages people to be breast aware by checking their breasts for signs and symptoms of cancer with the tag line “I know my melons do you know yours?”

Bridie, who runs a haulage company with her husband Steven, said: “Ever since we started, the group has had fantastic support from family and friends and every year we take part in Race for Life Newcastle both running and collecting funds. Over the Race weekend we raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK and the people of Newcastle show their generosity by the bucket load. But this year we’re having to get creative and find a new way of raising those vital funds.”

Bridie and the Know Your Melons team, which has raised over £40,000, were supposed to be back on Town Moor this July, but Newcastle Race for Life is among events which organisers Cancer Research UK have postponed during the coronavirus outbreak.

But as the nation continues on lockdown, undeterred Bridie and others across the country are already completing their own challenge at home, in their garden or along the Tyne as part of the newly created Race for Life at Home.

Together with her family Bridie has set herself a Race for Life at Home challenge to complete a 5k run or walk every day along the river Tyne, just outside her back garden.

Bridie, who first began supporting Cancer Research UK in the memory of her dad, who died of bowel cancer, said: “Just like Know Your Melons, Race for Life at Home is aimed to be a bit of fun but with a really serious message. Cancer Research UK needs us more than ever and we can do our bit to keep the fundraising going despite lockdown restrictions.”

Bridie is taking on the challenge with her husband Steven and three children Eleanor, 17, Steven 12, and Holly, 11.

She said: “Even before the corona virus I’ve seen how the people of Newcastle can come together for a great cause, but at the moment as we all face this national crisis there is a real feeling in our community that we’re all in this together. It feels good to take back some control and plan something positive to help and keep the fundraising going and to help people who are going through cancer right now.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Thanks to the generosity of people across Newcastle, Race for Life participants last year raised £200,000 to support vital research to develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer – a disease that will affect one-in-two people in the UK at some stage in their lives.

Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Newcastle, said: “At a time when it feels like everything is at a standstill, there is one thing that hasn’t stopped, cancer.

“Our priority as a charity is ensuring that people affected by cancer are getting the support they need right now.

“People don’t want to see the charity lose out on vital funding. It’s truly humbling to see the response. So from their homes, we’d love for supporters to join us and Race for Life at Home.

“From a run or 5K walk around the garden to limbo in the living room, there is no wrong way to Race for Life at Home. With no entry fee, people might choose to twerk, limbo, star jump, squat, skip, dance, or come up with their own novel way of taking part and share it with friends. The message is very much that ‘while we might be apart, we’re doing this together’.”

People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own Race for Life at Home challenge. And the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook page will help people feel energised with weekly live workout sessions. Organisers are also inviting participants to join the Race for Life at Home community by sharing photos and videos on social media using the hashtag, #RaceForLifeAtHome.

Lisa Millett continued: “Cancer is still happening right now and we want to do everything we can to help give people more tomorrows with their loved ones.

“At a time when we’re having to keep apart from each other, there is still a way to unite. We appreciate that the current situation has resulted in financial uncertainty for many people, so people should only contribute sponsor money if they feel able to.”

Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies entirely on the public’s generous support. The charity was able to spend over £5 million last year in the North East on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

A new date for Race for Life Newcastle has been set for Sunday 4 October. **