Memory of tragic Chris inspires hundreds

A jam-packed list of activities attracted bumper crowds across the region yesterday.

A jam-packed list of activities attracted bumper crowds across the region yesterday.

A record 1,200 cyclists turned out to support the Great North Bike Ride from Seahouses to Tynemouth to raise money for the Chris Lucas Trust.

Chris Lucas died in July 2000, aged 18, after a three-year battle against rhabdomyosarcoma, (CORR) an aggressive muscle cancer.

His parents, both called Lynn, of Lancaster Drive, Wallsend, set up the trust to raise funds to aid other cancer sufferers and their families and has already helped raise £200,000 to appoint a medical researcher with the NHS. This year's funds will be used to continue studies.

Mrs Lucas said: "It has been a fantastic day and I am so pleased with the number of people who have supported the cause.

"I never expected when we started this six years ago that it would grow so quickly."

Yesterday was also the first day of the Asian festival the Newcastle Mela, (CORR) organised by the Newcastle Asian Arts and Newcastle City Council.

Top Asian acts, including Bhangra (CORR) artist Malkit Singh (CORR) and Pakistani folk singer Arif Lohar, (CORR) performed to a crowd of several thousand.

Event director Taj Mohammed (CORR) said: "The aim of the event is for people to come and learn about different cultures. It has been a fantastic day and we are hoping for large crowds on Monday as well."

The Mela, at Newcastle's Exhibition Park, is free and continues today (MON) from noon until 7pm. Acts include the Crown Prince of Bhangra Jazzy B (CORR) and Honey and the Diva Dancers.

Visitors to Amble Lifeboat Day were treated yesterday to a fly-by from the RAF Sea King helicopter from Boulmer and a demonstration exercise with the lifeboat crew. Duchess Jane of Northumberland opened the show, which raises money for the RNLI.

More than 5,000 people were entertained by a Robbie Williams tribute band at Alnwick Castle Tournament.

The Northumberland Strongman Competition made its debut at the Alnwick Round Table event, where competitors had to complete gruelling tasks, including lifting a car and a boulder challenge. The competition was won by Ian Atkinson, of Wooler.

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