Run for nun but the brave

Nuns got into a healthy habit running for fun and raising money for a Newcastle hospice yesterday.

Nuns got into a healthy habit running for fun and raising money for a Newcastle hospice yesterday.

The spectacular event - which organisers claimed was the world's first Nun Run - was held in Gateshead.

Runners dressed in nuns' outfits took part in a one-mile fun run around the Northern Fields of Saltwell Park cheered on by their families.

All the cash raised from the £10 entry fee and sponsorship goes to St Oswald's Hospice in Gosforth through the Association of Children's Hospices.

The event, sponsored by international financial services group Foresters, is also part of The Journal 175 St Oswald's Appeal.

Susan Wilmot, of Ventnor Crescent, Saltwell, Gateshead was one of many fundraisers with a special reason for taking part.

The 49-year-old took along her grand-daughters Shannon, nine, and seven-year-old Carla of Barmston, Washington, Tyne and Wear, to run in memory of her late husband Paul who died of cancer of the pancreas aged 54.

"Paul spent the last two weeks of his life in St Oswald's. It's the two year anniversary of his death on Sunday so he is in my thoughts more and I wanted to do this in his memory," she said. "They were absolutely brilliant at the hospice. The last days of Paul's life I couldn't have coped with him at home."

While Susan donned nun's robes for the event her grand-daughters chose to be a hula girl and a flower fairy.

Another runner, Joyce Guy, 49, of Kinross Close, Barley Mow, Birtley, Gateshead is a day patient at the hospice after learning 18 months ago that she had lung cancer.

She said: "The nurses and staff are brilliant. I wanted to say thank you to them all as they make the hospice such an amazing place

"It is a really good atmosphere here today. It will be quite a challenge for me but I have raised £200 for the hospice which feels great."

Joyce was cheered on by her son Chris, 27, his wife Claire, 31, and their daughter Georgia, four.

"Mum has been through a lot so I wanted to show some support," said Chris. "I am really proud of her. It is only 18 months ago since she lost her lung and it takes a lot of courage to come out and do something like this."

How you can help

St Oswald's Hospice is the chosen charity of a very special Journal appeal.

To celebrate our 175th anniversary on May 12, we are asking readers to help raise cash for one of the region's most deserving charities through the Journal 175 St Oswald's Appeal.

St Oswald's Hospice, in Gosforth, Newcastle, opened in 1985 and helps thousands of people with life-limiting illnesses in the region every year.

Based in Regent Avenue, Gosforth, St Oswald's has, over the last two decades, built up a world-wide reputation.

But the purpose-built unit - adult hospice and children's centre - costs £6m a year to run.

A staggering £4.5m of this has to be raised each year through donations.

It makes no charge for any of the services it provides.

How you can help.

Can you organise an event with a 175 theme?

Can you raise a team to relay swim 175 lengths, run 175 laps or cycle 175 miles or kilometres?

Can you do it yourself?

Can you keep silent for 175 minutes?

Can your local collect 175 £1 coins?

Can you play 175 holes of golf?

Could your workplace, school, club or circle of friends generate a donation to an organisation which helps thousands of people in the region every year?

Anyone who has a fundraising idea and would like to have it publicised can call Tom Patterson at The Journal on (0191) 201-6107.

You can also call the St Oswald's Fundraising Hotline on 0870 700-3030 or email fundraising@stoswaldsuk.org Alternatively, log on to www.stoswaldsuk.org

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer