AND THEY’RE OFF: Andrea Fayle-Harrison,  Angela Tunstall,  Bev Hesp,  Annie Dent,  Victoria Lee and Rebecca Kesterton
AND THEY’RE OFF: Andrea Fayle-Harrison, Angela Tunstall, Bev Hesp, Annie Dent, Victoria Lee and Rebecca Kesterton

SIX women from Barnard Castle have taken part in their own Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research after the main event was cancelled.

And for one member of the group, the six-mile walk last week had added meaning. Andrea Fayle-Harrison’s daughter, Miah Fayle-Smith, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma this spring. The 17-year-old is undergoing treatment at Newcastle where she is taking part in a European cancer drug trial.

Ms Fayle-Harrison has herself undergone treatment for breast cancer. She finished it in March and is now in remission. She said: “Miah’s treatment is intense but she is tolerating it quite well. She is having good and bad days. She would have taken part in the Race for Life herself if she was well enough. But we’re pleased she was selected for the European trial – staff at the hospital were over the moon.

“My own treatment was in Darlington and they were amazing. So are the staff at Newcastle. They have some very clever people.”

The six friends completed the walk around country lanes near Barnard Castle last Wednesday night in the pouring rain. As well as Ms Fayle-Harrison, also taking part were Rebecca Kesterton, Annie Dent, Victoria Lee, Bev Hesp and Angela Tunstall.

They had planned to take part in the Race for Life in Darlington but decided to organise their own after it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

They are raising cash for the Teesdale branch of Cancer Research, which has brought in more than £1million over the years for the charity’s Cancer Research’s drug discovery unit at Newcastle.

The pandemic has meant that Teesdale’s band of fundraisers have missed out on an estimated £20,000, as well as a significant number of donations made at funerals and in memory of loved ones.

The many events and fundraising activities cancelled include a school “colour run”, coach trips, bingo nights, supermarket collections, coffee mornings, London Marathon sponsorship, a sunflower competition, a curry night and stalls at local events.

Pam Ashmore, who has been involved in the branch for 30 years, said every penny now counts.

She said: “Everyone is affected by cancer in some way. With Miah going through treatment, the Race for Life meant a lot more to the girls.

“We are lucky because we get so much community support but we have been hit hard by the lockdown.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the Teesdale Branch of Cancer Research UK can give money to any of the six who took part, or contact Pam Ashmore on 01833 638652. She will be able to provide the branch’s bank details.