FIVE friends are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise funds for a leading cancer charity.

Paul Cook, from Darlington, and his friends Mark Haymer, Mike King and Jamie and Charlie Gardner, hope raised more than £10,000 for Children with Cancer UK by the time they complete the 26.2-mile race on Sunday, April 13.

Mr Cook, who is a member of Darlington Harriers, ran the marathon for the same charity last year and hopes even more people with support the cause this time around.

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“I knew I wanted to raise funds for a children’s charity as I am a father myself,” said Mr Cook, 39.

“The more I learn about Children with Cancer UK, the more passionate I feel about the cause. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the children or their parents.”

To help them reach their fundraising target, the team has organised a charity ball and auction at Rockliffe Hall Hotel on Friday, March 7.

Top athletes and many local businesses have donated prizes for the event, including the Newton Aycliffe-based shower designer and manufacturer Roman.

Tickets have already sold out for the ball but people can still support the team by making an online donation at