South Shields schoolboys set to launch 22-hour cancer charity event

Cancer survivors Harrison Cochrane and Charlie Mordey with Relay For Life organiser Ann Walsh and local fundraising manager Rachel Speight-McGregor.
Cancer survivors Harrison Cochrane and Charlie Mordey with Relay For Life organiser Ann Walsh and local fundraising manager Rachel Speight-McGregor.

Schoolfriend cancer survivors will cut the ribbon to kick off this year’s Relay For Life as they join others with their own story of battling the disease.

Charlie Mordey, eight, and Harrison Cochrane, nine, who are in the same year at Westoe Crown Primary in South Shields, will do the honours at the 22-hour fundraiser at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow on Saturday, July 14.

Walkers set off on last year's Relay for Life at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.

Walkers set off on last year's Relay for Life at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.

Charlie was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma bone cancer in his leg in 2010 at 18-month-old and still uses crutches or a wheelchair, but is in his sixth year of remission.

Harrison was diagnosed in 2014 with Hodgkin lymphoma, and like Charlie, he was treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he too was given chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

He has been in remission for three years.

They are among 38 survivors signed up for the relay, with 46 teams to take part for Cancer Research UK.

It’s a really emotional event, because it brings it all back, but it reminds us why we campaign and raise money.

Claire Cochrane

Since its launch 12 years ago, the South Tyneside campaign has raised £600,000.

Organiser Ann Walsh said: “It’s a 400m track and the idea is that everybody takes a turn and someone from the team is doing a lap at any one time.

“People raise money throughout the 12 months, but this is everyone coming together.

“It’s free to visitors to come along and support it and there’ll be entertainment, with bands, games and a family funday.”

Harrison lives in Hebburn with mum Claire, 41, a pharmacy dispenser at the RVI, and dad Peter, 35, an offshore driller.

Claire said: “It’s a really emotional event, because it brings it all back, but it reminds us why we campaign and raise money.

“It’s great for everyone who gets together, everyone understand each other’s stories.”

Angela, a teaching assistant at the boys’ school, lives nearby, is also mum to Ryan, 10, and Amber, 21, and married to offshore advisor Chris.

The family first took part when her dad Norman Johnson, who died two years ago aged 63, was fighting leukaemia while Charlie was also being treated.

Angela said: “Charlie loves the event because he remembers doing it with his grandad, and he loved him so much.

“There’s a really good atmosphere and he and Harrison look after each other and have a really good laugh.”

For more visit of www.cancerresearchuk.org.