Stagecoach North East is assisting a north east children’s charity fun run for the third time and this year brings additional logistical support as the event’s official transport partner.
The local bus operator will again be operating a Metro shuttle service for North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR) and its 35th Children’s Cancer Run on Sunday 21st May, and will also be providing an enhanced park and ride service from Quorum Business Park and Sage Great Park.
As transport partner, Stagecoach North East will provide travel services in and around the event venue of Newcastle Racecourse. The Park and Ride system has been further improved to ease traffic flow around Gosforth Park, and will operate as a free service from *Q7 car park at Quorum Business Park on Benton Lane and Sage Park and Ride (Great Park) to the event venue at Gosforth Park. Stagecoach buses will run from 9am every 20 minutes, with an approximate journey time of five to ten minutes between locations.
As last year, employees from the bus company are donating their time to provide a shuttle service. The service for runners and spectators will run from the Four Lane Ends Metro and Regent Centre Metro stations to the Children’s Cancer Run at Newcastle Racecourse, starting at 8.45am and running every 30 minutes until 2.30pm.
Celebrating a 35 year anniversary, the Children’s Cancer Run is a 5-mile cross country family fun run in Newcastle set up to raise money for 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 2016, the Children’s Cancer Run raised over £200,000 for the NECCR, adding to the £6 million which has already been raised by the event over the past three decades.
Service development officer David Sharp and six colleagues from the Walkergate and Slatyford bus depots in Newcastle are taking time from their normal shift to drive runners and spectators taking part in the popular run. The local bus operator will be providing six buses for the event - twice as many as in 2016 - and which attracts more participants each year.
40-year-old David from Westoe in South Shields, who works at the head office in Sunderland, is helping the fun run for a third year. He said: “We were delighted to come on board as transport partners this year and show our support for such a fantastic event and much loved regional charity. We are looking forward to a great day and to helping participants, supporters and the general public to keep on the move.
“With the Children’s Cancer Run becoming such a popular event, we recognise how important it is to get people where they need to be. As traffic will be extremely busy, we encourage people to plan their journey in advance and use public transport, the shuttle bus service and park and ride facilities where possible to help keep everyone on the move and ease congestion.
“We want to help reduce travel pressures and hopefully it will make it a lot easier for people knowing the buses will be running every few minutes. We wish the best of luck to all taking part and hope they have fun.”
There will be a small charge of £2 for a Metro Shuttle return service and £1 for children to cover fuel on the day; however the drivers have agreed to donate their time and operate the service for free. The Park and Ride service is free of charge.
6-year-old Maya Sehgal, from Ponteland, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in December 2012, aged just two years old. Maya received treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital at the RVI in Newcastle, with support from the NECCR, until being given the all-clear at the end of 2015. Throughout her treatment for blood cancer, Maya’s parents Aman and Nisha, together with friends and family, have fundraised for the children’s cancer ward, and are looking forward to taking part in the run this year.
Aman Sehgal, Maya’s father, said: “Having been through the rigours of treatment with Maya we have experienced first-hand the amazing and life changing work carried out by the Great North Children's Hospital as well as other children's cancer hospitals throughout the UK.
“The fantastic efforts of all those involved with NECCR and the fundraising from all the runners goes a long way towards not only helping cancer research but also raising awareness for a disease that is sadly so prevalent in our society. We are incredibly fortunate to have world class cancer treatment facilities right on our doorstep and charities such as the NECCR play a huge part in that. We are very much looking forward to being a part of this year's run.”
Janet Price, Fundraising Manager, NECCR, said: “We’re very excited to have Stagecoach once again providing a shuttle bus service to and from the Children’s Cancer Run. With more busses running throughout the day than we’ve ever had before, runners and spectators will be able to access the venue in good time and with ease.”
The NECCR funds life-saving research into more effective and less harsh treatments for childhood cancer. All of the research is carried out by a team of world class researchers based in the NECCR laboratories at the Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre in Newcastle. Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of non-accidental death among children in the UK, so every step we take towards finding better treatments is vital.