Half marathon entry in honour of Rachel

A team from Ponteland High School are putting on their running shoes in memory of a former student who died in a car crash last summer.

And the Great North Run activity is just one of the initiatives that will raise money for a good cause under the Run for Rachel heading.

Some of the  team of forty pupils and staff from Ponteland High School who are running the Great North Run in memory of Rachel Blaylock.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Some of the team of forty pupils and staff from Ponteland High School who are running the Great North Run in memory of Rachel Blaylock.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Rachel Blaylock was pronounced dead at the scene after the car she was driving hit a tree in the early hours of August 3, 2014, just a couple of weeks before she was due to receive her A-Level results.

PE teacher Gordon Grier said the talented and popular pupil was going to take part in the Great North Run last September, so he suggested that a group from the school sign up for the half marathon in her honour. As well as staff and students, the 40 team members include some of Rachel’s friends who are now at university.

They will be raising money for the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA). It has been doing fund-raising activities for the charity since 2009 when former pupil Victoria Wilkinson was rescued from a site at Kielder Water following a boating accident. She died in hospital days later.

Mr Grier said: “We set up ‘Run for Rachel’ to do something positive out of something extremely tragic and it was quite an overwhelming response, which meant we had to draw the 40 names for the Great North Run out of a hat.

Rachel Blaylock

Rachel Blaylock

“It has snowballed since then and other staff and students will be doing cycling and swimming activities, along with a sponsored ski, to raise funds for the charity.”

Grahame Pickering, chief executive of GNAA, said the group had taken a quarter of the charity’s allocated places for the Great North Run.

He added: “It’s a huge boost for us and we are incredibly grateful to the team for getting involved – their fund-raising could benefit people in dire need of help.

“We wish them well and will be there to welcome them back at the finish line.”

For more information and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/pontelandhighschoolrunforrachel2015