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What a Great effort up North

PUBLISHED: 13:45 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 06 July 2010

Former Kirkley High student Jo Hirst, centre, ran for Asthma UK with Emma Curtis, left, and Kate Fenn, right.

Former Kirkley High student Jo Hirst, centre, ran for Asthma UK with Emma Curtis, left, and Kate Fenn, right.

THOUSANDS of fundraisers slipped on their vests and tied up their running shoes to take to the streets of Newcastle for the Great North Run.

Among them were a Pakefield couple running for the Stroke Association and a former Kirkley High School pupil running for Asthma UK in memory of her brother.

Michelle and Gary Lansdale ran for the Stoke Association.

THOUSANDS of fundraisers slipped on their vests and tied up their running shoes to take to the streets of Newcastle for the Great North Run.

Among them were a Pakefield couple running for the Stroke Association and a former Kirkley High School pupil running for Asthma UK in memory of her brother.

Jo Hirst and her brother, Stuart Kiddle, were brought up at Pakefield and went through Pakefield primary and middle schools and Kirkley High School before flying the nest and setting up their lives out of the region.

Last year, fun-loving 34-year-old Stuart, who lived in Kazakhstan, died after suffering from a severe asthma attack. As a tribute to him Jo, 37, decided to participate in the 13-mile run to help spread the word about the potential seriousness of the condition.

“You never really appreciate that asthma can kill you as it's one of those things that so many people suffer with,” said Jo, a probation officer in Beverley, Yorkshire.

“His funeral was around the same time as the Great North Run, and even though I've never run a half- marathon before I said I was going to do it.”

Jo took part in the run with friends Emma Curtis and Kate Fenn, and between them they have raised more than £4,000 for Asthma UK. To give, visit www.justgiving.com/johirst

Also taking part were Gary and Michelle Lansdale, of Stradbroke Road, Pakefield. Gary, 35, and Michelle, 32, were both running in the event for the first time, and Gary described it as “one of the best days of my life”.

They ran for the Stoke Association to encourage Michelle's dad, Rod Cole, who had a stroke two years ago.

In total they raised more than £900.

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