HUNDREDS of fundraisers got messy in the sunshine as a police hero’s widow and daughter started a forest fun run in aid of a North-East hospice.

The fifth Rainbow Dash took place in Hamsterley Forest, with Kezi Smith and her five-year-old daughter Tilly setting just under 300 runners on their way before taking part themselves with family and friends.

Kezi’s husband, PC Gavin Smith – a member of the Durham Constabulary team who starred in the TV programme Police Interceptors – died of cancer, aged 34, last year.

The Rainbow Dash is staged annually in aid of Butterwick Hospice, and Kezi said she wanted to start the event in recognition of the “fantastic support” she and Tilly had been given by the charity since Gav’s death.

There is a bench in Gav’s memory at Hamsterley Forest because he loved visiting the beauty spot with Kezi and Tilly.

Obstacles were introduced for the first time this year as the participants covered the five-kilometre course in the glorious sunshine.

Organiser Helen Kirby said: “It’s always such a popular event, with people coming back year after year to take part, and this year couldn’t have gone any better. We can’t thank people enough for their support.”

Around £4,000 had been pledged in sponsorship ahead of the event but the total will rise because money was still coming in yesterday.

A 30-strong team of volunteers were on hand, acting as powder-throwers and marshals to ensure the event was messy but well organised.

The Butterwick Rainbow Dash was one of the first colour runs in the North-East when it was initiated five years ago and has grown in popularity. The coloured powder used is biodegradable so there is no harm to the forest environment.