A Ponteland couple is running the Edinburgh half-marathon for the sixth time to raise money for a trio of good causes.
Jason Atherton and his wife Jill are seasoned marathon, half-marathon and fun runners and they have handed over more than £10,000 in sponsorship money to a number of North East animal rescue charities over the last few years.
With less than six weeks to go until the run, the couple are currently clocking up more than 80 training miles a week – with some of their rescue dogs running alongside them.
Mr Atherton, a director at Westway Veterinary Group, said: “This will be our sixth time doing the Edinburgh run and we are hoping to beat last year’s sponsorship total of £2,000.
“Money is tight for everyone at the moment and animals are bearing the brunt of that, with many of them ending up homeless through no fault of their own.
“Figures from the Dogs Trust show that there were over 24,000 stray dogs in the North East last year – that’s a lot of dogs looking for new homes and every penny we can raise will help an animal in need.
“Animals cannot help themselves, so we’re hoping the region’s kind-hearted pet lovers will be as generous as ever. Last year, we had everyone from pensioners sending us a pound to children donating their 50p pocket money, and every little bit helped.
“We are also hoping that some of the region’s businesses might step in with either sponsorship or donations in kind. Rescues are always desperate for food, bedding and toys for the animals in their care.”
The money raised will be split between well-known North East rescue Brysons, Northumberland-based People’s Animal Rescue and Rehoming Team (PARRT) and the Westway Stray Fund, which is used to treat, rehabilitate and re-home stray and unwanted animals.
PARRT, which has a charity shop in Amble, runs tombolas and raffles at various locations and events, where people can also meet animals available for adoption. It promotes responsible pet care and pet ownership.
For more information and to ask for a sponsorship form, call Westway on 0191 2747910.