Great North Dog Walk to go ahead as former Harton pupil steps up after former sponsor dropped out after Coronavirus outbreak

The organiser of the Great North Dog Walk has confirmed that the event will go ahead after a former pupil came forward as a sponsor.

By Sarah Sinclair
Thursday, 27th February 2020, 1:09 pm

There were fears that the 30th anniversary of the South Shields event would not take place later this year after the main sponsor was forced to pull out.

Chinese firm Pawfit said earlier this month it could not commit due to the impact the Coronavirus outbreak was having on the business.

Now former teacher Tony Carlisle, who has organised the “world’s largest dog walk” for the last three decades has announced that an ex-school pupil and local businessman, Mark Jensen has stepped up to ensure the event can go ahead.

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Great North Dog Walk organiser Tony Carlisle (right) with new sponsor Mark Jensen.

Mark, of Mark Jensen Fitness, based in Frederick Street, South Shields, was taught by Tony at the former Harton Technology College from 2005-2010.

Tony says he was contacted by Mark shortly after the news broke.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to him for supporting his former teacher,” he said.

“It’s such good news, because of him the dog walk has been resurrected.

Great North Dog Walk competitors taking part on The Leas, South Shields.

“I’m holding out hope that more people and local businesses will follow in his footsteps and step up to make the anniversary special.”

It was during Tony’s 24 years at the school that the Great North Dog Walk was founded, with some former pupils still helping out on the day.

The 30th anniversary, due to take place in June, is set to be a reunion event and anyone who attended the school from 1988 onwards is encouraged to go along.

Mark, who opened his gym just a year ago said: “I always got on well with Tony at school and it would have been a real shame if the dog walk had stopped.

The event will go ahead in June for its 30th anniversary.

“As a personal trainer, I’m always encouraging my clients to get their steps in and this is going to raise a bit more awareness of getting fit and active, so it works hand in hand.”

He added: “I just hope the day goes well and as many people get involved as possible.”

To sponsor or make a donation to the event contact: [email protected] or 07957249799