We're under starter's orders

HUNDREDS of caring Echo readers are getting ready to Race for Grace tomorrow.

Fund-raisers will gather at Herrington Country Park for the Echo's 5km fun run and walk in aid of the Grace House Children's Hospice Appeal.

Among those taking part are broadcaster Kathy Secker, who founded the charity, stars of the kids' television show Byker Grove and children's author Terry Deary.

Grace Jones, five, from High Barnes, after whom Grace House will be named, will also join in, with her parents Debra and Darren.

Ashleigh Whitfield, new breakfast show co-presenter at Sun FM, will be providing the entertainment and commentary.

She said: "It's great to be doing something worthwhile for a Sunderland charity. It's a chance to give something back to Sunderland.

"I will be there to give all the information people need to make sure the day goes as smoothly as possible."

Ashleigh joined Sun FM three months ago as a co-presenter to breakfast show host Simon Grundy.

She said: "It's brilliant. I think the listeners are getting used to me now and I'm getting used to Simon."

North Tyneside Steel Band will also be providing entertainment .

We're hoping the Race for Grace will bring in thousands of pounds for the appeal, which aims to raise 5million to build a children's hospice in Sunderland.

The Echo has received fantastic support from clubs and businesses across Wearside and East Durham.

Members of Sunderland Harriers and Athletics Club are organising and marshalling the course. Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Sunderland are car park stewards.

Among the teams taking part are Echo staff from the editorial and advertising departments, Thornhill School, Little Tiggers Creche, Sunderland Housing Group, police from Sunderland's central community team, McKenzie Bell Solicitors, staff from Dr Brown & Dr Lefley's practice at Pallion Health Centre, the Prince's Trust and Sunderland Arc.

Prizes are on offer for the fund-raisers who collect the most sponsor money.

The top adult and junior fund-raisers will each receive a mountain bike, courtesy of Warburtons.

Two junior runners-up will get a set of Horrible Histories books signed by author Terry Deary.

The team (of up to 10 people) which raises the most sponsorship will get 10 tickets for a Sunderland football match at the Stadium of Light, with passes for the Black Cats bar and a presentation on the pitch, courtesy of Sunderland Football Club.