Doing Grace proud

Excercise time before the race.
Excercise time before the race.
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FUND-RAISERS of all ages did their bit for a new children’s hospice at this year’s Race for Grace.

More than 400 people, many young children, took part in the 5km fun run at Herrington Country Park in Sunderland.

Despite windy weather and the threat of rain, those taking part were determined to get round the course and raise thousands of pounds in sponsorship for the Grace House children’s hospice, which is being built in Southwick.

But thankfully it stayed dry and 12-year-old Grace Jones – after whom the hospice will be named – was one of those who completed the route, along with mum Debra and dad Darren.

Debra, of High Barnes, said: “I think the race was the best ever.”

Broadcaster Kathy Secker, who founded Grace House when she heard the North East had the lowest number of hospice beds in the UK, hailed the “fantastic turnout”.

She added: “It’s also wonderful seeing children going out and doing something for other children.

“For me, that’s what makes it very, very special.”

The first person to cross the finish line was Jeff Kay, who is visiting Sunderland from Canada, as his father-in-law Joe Walt is originally from Fence Houses.

Karen Maclennan, regional fund-raiser for Grace House, said: “I want to thank everyone for turning up at this year’s Race for Grace.

“Every single penny that they have raised will help us to continue with the build at the hospice.

“Thanks also to all the volunteers and businesses that have helped make the Race for Grace, which is our flagship event, a success again.”

Work will now continue on the hospice, which could be open in time for Christmas 2012.

Once finished the facility will provide a home from home, which children with illnesses and their families can turn to for support.

See today’s Sunderland Echo for more pictures and comments from Race for Grace