Charity champions join together in battle against cancer

Great North Dog Walk 2014.'Event organiser Tony Carlisle with German Shepherds Simba and Elsa (R)
Great North Dog Walk 2014.'Event organiser Tony Carlisle with German Shepherds Simba and Elsa (R)

A pair of South Tyneside charity champions are joining forces to boost the fight against cancer.

Just weeks after toasting the 25th anniversary of his Great North Dog Walk, Tony Carlisle will be hoping to inspire more fundraising feats at the launch of the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life, in Jarrow, on Saturday, July 11.

Relay For Life organiser Ann Walsh (R) hands over funds from 2014  event to Cancer Research UK volunteer Joanns Evans. Back from left Cancer Research UK volunteers Marrisa Buckingham and Rachel Speight-McGregor

Relay For Life organiser Ann Walsh (R) hands over funds from 2014 event to Cancer Research UK volunteer Joanns Evans. Back from left Cancer Research UK volunteers Marrisa Buckingham and Rachel Speight-McGregor

The former Harton Technology PE teacher has been invited by organiser Ann Walsh to start the annual extravaganza, which sees people complete laps of Monkton Stadium over the course of 22 hours.

It will be a poignant moment for the father-of-four, who has faced a series of health battles himself, including having a cancerous growth removed from his arm in November of last year and on his back in April.

Mr Carlisle will be returning the charitable favour, as the Relay for Life will be an official beneficiary of the next Great North Dog Walk.

Mr Carlisle will complete a lap of the relay for life – taking a 40-year charity journey full circle.

The dog walk boss said: “It is fantastic to be involved with the Relay for Life.

“Ann Walsh asked me to be involved and next year the Relay for Life will be supported at the Great North Dog Walk.

“We are both Best of South Tyneside Award winners and would like to team up to launch and promote the event.

“I have been invited to start the event as a cancer survivor.

“I was very proud of the 25th anniversary of the dog walk, but July 6 will mark the 40th anniversary of the first piece of charity work I did.

“I organised a charity football match for a man called Brian Donohue, from Belfast, who was attacked in Sunderland, due to his accent, with tensions high due to the IRA.

“The match was held to raise money to fly his parents over from Belfast and since then I’ve raised £6.3million for charity, doing everything from bungee jumps to handgliding.

“My aim is to hit the £10million mark and I am very confident – health permitting – in achieving this.”