Memories of Chloe and Liam spur on Great North Run fundraising team

Claire Lines.
Claire Lines.

Runners say memories of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry helped them complete the Great North Run for a trust set up in their names.

Love for a South Tyneside couple killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack helped to spur on their friends who took on the Great North Run in tribute to the pair.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.

The image of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry was plain to see on the backs of T-shirts worn by a number of runners.

Each one was raising funds for a trust set up to celebrate the lives of the young couple who were killed in the terror attack in May.

For some, the run is something they had faced before, but for others it was the first time they had took on the daunting 13.1-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields.

But for every step they took, they kept Chloe, 17, and Liam, 19, firmly in their hearts and thoughts.

Ryan Little.

Ryan Little.

Callum Amess was taking part in his first Great North Run alongside his 20-year-old girlfriend Sam Doyle.

The 19-year-old, who had gone through school with Liam, stepped up to captain the under-19s cricket team following Liam’s death.

He said: "I found it tough, but we had to get through it for Liam and Chloe. The John Reid Road seemed never-ending when we were on it.

"But it was the fact we were running for Liam and Chloe helped us through it."

Jack Errington.

Jack Errington.

Claire Lines, from Chester-le-Street, who is a friend of Liam’s family, said: "I felt really honoured to run for the Trust. It was very emotional.

“The amount of people who were shouting ‘Liam and Chloe’ as I made the way along the route from start to finish, it was so emotional talking about them.

"This is the second time I have done the run, but this year was really hard. But I just keep thinking about them. I held them in my thoughts as I was going round. I just wanted to complete it for them.

"I saw some other T-shirts about 100 yards from the finishing line - it was just lovely."

Callum Amess and Sam Doyle.

Callum Amess and Sam Doyle.

Another runner raising funds for the Trust was Ryan Little. He had known Liam all his life and after securing a place in the Great North Run, chose the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.

He has already completed the run three times, however, this year was the first he had worn a fancy dress outfit, completing the run in 2 hours 11 minutes.

The 21-year-old from Biddick Hall said: "It was a bit of a struggle in the costume, but it was all right. It was a good laugh and it attracted quite a bit of attention."

Musician Jack Errington went through school with Liam, and just like Ryan, Liam's love of cricket was passed on to Jack who followed his best friend into the game.

He was taking part in his first Great North Run.

The 19-year-old said: "The atmosphere was brilliant, I was running it by myself - it was fun.

Team Together Forever before the Junior Great North Run.

Team Together Forever before the Junior Great North Run.

"I had loads of people asking about the Trust. It was brilliant from start to finish."

The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust was launched by the families of the couple in celebration of their lives.

The Trust aims to support those who have a passion in performance or sport, to nurture their talents through the help of bursaries.

The families are keen to keep their names alive by helping inspiring performers or sportspeople to fulfil their potential - Chloe had a gift for performing while Liam was a talented cricketer.

It came after Saturday was also a hugely emotional day for the family of Chloe Rutherford who were doing their first Junior Great North Run without her.

For the past five years Chloe had joined her South Shields family in taking part in the event to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

But, this year the teenager's family were doing the run for the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Foundation.

Chloe's aunt, Louise Rowe, 32, said: "It has been so emotional for all of us. This is the first time we have done the run without Chloe and there have been a lot of tears."

"We could never have imagined not having her here with us. She was such an important part of the day, it is not the same without her."

Mum-of-four Louise said: "We are such a close knit family and we all share each other's pain, but we support each other as well.

"We are really close to Liam's family as well now, we are like one family. It is just such a shame that we are united through tragedy."

The Team Together Forever, was made up of Chloe's cousins, Beth Rowe, 11, Eve Rowe, nine, and three-year-old Ethan Rowe.

Joining them were friends, Sofia Pardoe, eight, Ellen Knowles, seven, Katie Weedon, seven, Sophie Wilson, eight, Isobel Pardoe, 11 and Grace Knowles, 11.

During the course of the two-day Great North Run, several other people who cared for the young sweethearts, were also putting their best feet forward to raise money in their memory.

These included David Gibson, a former teacher of Chloe's, and youngsters Matthew Olley, six, from South Shields and Martha Finnigan, five, from Houghton.