North East gears up to join in UK-wide relay from Tweed to Tees in recognition of key workers who kept country going during pandemic

A baton will be passed through the North East’s communities as the region joins a UK-wide celebration of the key workers who have steered the country through the coronavirus crisis.

The region’s stretch of the We Remember Them Relay is expected to be launched from the Scottish Borders at the start of May and make its way down to the Tees over a series of days.

It will be passed between sea swimmers, runners, cyclists, horse riders, paddle borders, kayakers and more, with a poem to be read at intervals in recognition of the work put in by frontline workers since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Its route will take in hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and other health care buildings and police, fire and ambulance, Coastguard and RNLI stations among other key locations, with the route still being drawn up and volunteers recruited.

The baton will make its way from the Scottish Borders, through Northumberland and then the pedestrian Tyne Tunnel, and then down to Teesside with the help of swimmers, walkers, runners, kayakers, paddle boarders and horse riders.

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A number of batons will be making their journey around the country, with the event to raise funds for the Laura Hyde Foundation, which offers mental health support for frontline workers, with September 25 pencilled in as the final day for the national effort.

Each baton has been given a name, with the North East’s called Grace Darling.

Outdoor swimmer Jane Hardy is co-ordinating the North East section of the We Remember Them Relay with the help of a team of volunteers.

The mammoth task of bringing its journey through the North East together is being led by Jane Hardy, from Alnwick, with a host of co-ordinators helping to plan the finer details, including representatives from of swimming groups.

Jane, who is being helped with her section by Nicola Tilt, said: “There are so many people who want to be a part of this.

"We know that what’s happened over this last year and the absolute strain our key workers must have been under.

“I think this is a way for us to recognise that hard work, for what they are doing which is incredibly worthy and to give them a thank you.

"It will also raise funds to help the mental health of key workers, who have had to deal with his trauma.”

Lindy Woodrow, who is organising the South Tyneside leg, added: “As we glimpse the light at the end of this tunnel we want to celebrate the passing of this darkest hour and be thankful to those who came to our aid, the shining light.”

British Triathlon is also lending its support.

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