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Bus staff volunteer their driving services for NECCR run

26 Apr 2016

Three employees from Stagecoach North East are donating their time to provide a shuttle service for a regional children’s charity race in Newcastle for the second year.

Service development officer David Sharp and duty manager Shaun Anderson, along with a colleague, are taking time from their normal shift to drive runners and spectators taking part in the Children’s Cancer Run on Sunday 15 May.

Now in its 34th year, the Children’s Cancer Run is a 5-mile cross country family fun run in Newcastle set up to raise money for the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund (NECCR).The run offers 5 mile, 3 mile and 'mini mile' cross country tracks and is one of the largest single charity run events in Europe.

Every penny raised goes towards the work of the NECCR to improve the lives of children with cancer in the North of England. In 2015, the Children’s Cancer Run raised over £189,000 for the NECCR, adding to the £5 million which has already been raised by the event over the past three decades.

David and Shaun, who work at the head office in Sunderland and Slatyford bus depot in Newcastle respectively, will be operating the shuttle service with a third member of the team from the Walkergate depot. The service will run from the Four Lane Ends Metro and Regent Centre Metro to the Children’s Cancer Run at Newcastle Racecourse, starting at 8.45am and running every 30 minutes until 2.30pm.

39-year-old David from Westoe in South Shields was happy to be involved again, after offering his services along with his colleagues at last year’s event. He said: “We helped out at last year’s event and it was good fun, so when we were asked to participate again this year we didn’t think twice about saying yes.

“The Children’s Cancer Run is such a well loved and popular event and attracts runners and visitors from across the region, so we were delighted to take part for the second year and help runners and visitors get to race and back and ensure a smooth service for everyone.”

There will be a small charge of 50p per journey to cover fuel on the day; however the drivers have agreed to donate their time and operate the service for free.

The NECCR was formed in 1979 by a small group of parents whose lives had been changed by childhood cancer, and every penny raised goes towards improving the lives of children with cancer in the north east. 

Three-year-old Dominic Halliwell from Low Fell in Gateshead was just 10 weeks old when his parents and doctors discovered he was poorly, and following a series of intensive tests and scans he was diagnosed with a rare type of tumour which affects only a small number of children worldwide.
After spending months at the Great North Children’s Hospital receiving gruelling chemotherapy treatment, and with support from the NECCR and the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, Dominic has slowly recovered from his cancer and recently began Bensham Grove Nursery School.

Dominic’s Mum, Natalie Halliwell, said: “We are very grateful to everyone at NECCR for the support we have received, following Dominic’s diagnosis in 2013. The work they are doing here in the north east is leading the country in childhood cancer research and without them; he might not be here now.

“For the first time, we are all taking part in the Children’s Cancer Run Mini Mile, which Dominic and his older brother Zach are very much looking forward to! They will be joined by friends from Dominic’s nursery and Zach’s classmates at Kells Lane Primary School, so it will be a fun and emotional day for the whole family.”

Janet Price, Fundraising Manager, NECCR, said: “We’re delighted to have support from Stagecoach at the Children’s Cancer Run again this year. We can’t thank the drivers enough for their tireless dedication and for giving up their free time. All the volunteers, families and fun-runners who take part in the event, will be helping to raise vital funds for research into children’s cancer, so we can finally beat the disease once and for all. Every year we’re overwhelmed by the support we receive.”

The shuttle service starts from Four Lane Ends Metro Station and calls at Regent Centre Metro and then on to Gosforth Park Racecourse, dropping off at the turning area within the racecourse grounds.

The first journey is 8.45am from Four Lane Ends Metro, 8.57am from Regent Centre Metro then every 30 minutes until 2.15pm and 2.27pm. Buses will leave Newcastle Racecourse to return back to Four Lane Ends Metro and Regent Centre Metroat 9.17am then every 30 minutes until the last bus at 2.47pm.