South Shields and Boldon trio take on Great North Run for veteran’s charity Walking with the Wounded

A South Tyneside trio are pounding the pavements to raise thousands for ex-servicemen and women.

Sunday, 14th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 14th July 2019, 7:00 am
(L-R) Joanne Foster, 42 Kim O’Brien, 34 and Kelly Chandler, 43 are taking on the Great North Run for Walking with the Wounded

Joanne Foster, 42, and Kelly Chandler, 44, from South Shields, along with 34-year-old Kim O’Brien, a former RAF personnel administrator, from West Boldon, are tackling the Great North Run for the first time in September, for veteran’s charity Walking with the Wounded.

The trio work for ex-military recruitment agency Demob Job, based in South Shields, which places those who have previously served in the Armed Forces. They will be joined in the half marathon by managing director, Adrian Cheesman.

Dubbed the ‘Demob Angels’ they have already raised more than £1,000 for the charity, which is in the process of launching a North East Hub in Gateshead, to provide support to the ex-service community in the region.

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(L-R) Kelly Chandler, Adrian Cheesman, Joanne Foster and Kim O’Brien are taking on the Great North Run for Walking with the Wounded

“We wanted to give something back to those men and women,” said Joanne, whose son is currently serving in the Royal Navy.

“They have sacrificed so much for us, that those 13 miles should be doable.”

Despite none of the women being runners, they have been putting in the miles and in the last six months Joanne and Kelly have lost more than five stone between them.

“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been up and out and training, it’s been hard,” said Joanne.

“We also joined Slimming World and we’re well on the way to getting our three stone award, which is great.

“It’s going to be tough on the day, but we’re confident that we’re all going to get round and finish it.”

Having hit their fundraising target of £1,200, they don’t intend to stop there. The three were collecting donations in Asda on Coronation Street, South Shields on Friday July 12 and are continuing to fundraise, including online.

“We’re just going to do as much as we possibly can to get as much as we can for the charity,” said Joanne.

“I know that a lot of people in the North East have charities that are close to their hearts, but these men and women and the sacrifices that they have made for us, it would be great if we can give something back.”