A FORMER pupil and the inspiration behind one of the region’s most popular fun runs dropped in to talk to pupils about how his life changed.
Chris Peacock was a student at The King’s School in Tynemouth when he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and given just a 30 per cent chance of survival.
But he was back at the school on Monday to talk to pupils and highlight the importance of the North East Children’s Cancer Run, which was set up 30 year ago by then headteacher Colin Gregg to support Chris and raise awareness and funds for children’s cancer research.
The first run took place at the school, and over the years has raised nearly £6m – now being held at Gosforth Park in Newcastle.
Chris, who lives in Tynemouth and is now chairman of the run committee, addressed staff and pupils in a special assembly at King’s to mark the 30th anniversary of the run, which this year will see runners receive a commemorative medal made of metal and enamel.
He said: “I was a bit nervous at first but soon felt at ease when I saw pupils I know waving at me. It was also fantastic to be able to meet and speak to pupils the age I was when I was ill.
“It was quite emotional. King’s was a great influence on me and set me up for life.
“They’ve been involved in the event since the start. King’s staff ran the administration before the world went on the web and King’s Sports Leaders have always, and still, help at the finish line too.
“So it was appropriate that King’s was the first school I should talk to in this celebration year.
“We are hoping for a target of 12,000 runners this year so I’m keen to increase knowledge of the history of the event and to encourage more involvement and sponsorship.”
King’s PE teacher Chris Johnston, who has been involved in every race, said: “King’s has raised more than £100,000 since the first race when only a couple of hundred pupils from our school took part.
“Chris was given a 30 per cent chance of survival when he had the illness. Meeting him again as a proud father of two children himself and now chairman of the race committee was an inspiration to us all.”