MORE than 200 people and pooches completed the inaugural Durham Poppy Run to raise funds for the Royal British Legion on Saturday.

The charity's first ever 5k funrun in Durham, held at Aykley Recreation Ground, helped– along with similar events across the UK– to raise £85,000.


Peter Milne, community fundraiser for Durham, Sunderland and North Tees, said: "It was a great place to hold the event, the community is a strong supporter of the Poppy Appeal and Forces past and present and we are the Durham County Council Chairman's chosen charity.

"It was a great event. Over 230 people aged three to 70plus took part, there were individual runners, families and dogs.

"It was not just about raising money but also, this year being the centenary, it was a way for generations and youngsters to say thank-you to all who served and sacrificed and changed the world."

Runners included the family of the late Danny Cassidy, of Seaham, who helped raise over £13m for the Poppy Appeal in Northumberland, and Invictus Games athlete Ian Young.


Mr Cassidy's wife Cath did the course in memory of her husband who died earlier this year after years of service for the Royal British Legion.

She said said: “The Poppy Appeal was so close to Danny’s heart and I felt this was the best way I could honour his memory."

The couple met when ex-soldier Danny was stationed in Northern Ireland and Cath worked in the local post office in Ballykinlar in 1970.

They were married a year later after Danny left the Army and the couple moved to Seaham and raised their three children.

Mrs Cassidy said: “Danny joined the local branch of the Royal British Legion and it became a huge part of his life, as he was determined to put something back and help our local armed forces community.”

Danny, who lost a great uncle in action during the First World War, had been planning to be at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Day this year, to mark 100 years since the Armistice.

At his funeral, the family asked for donations to be made to military charities.

Mr Milne said: “Danny was a huge support to all the team in Northumbria and the wider Poppy community.

“During his tenure he mentored hundreds of volunteers and helped to raise over £13 million. This money has helped countless servicemen and women, veterans and their families for whom he cared dearly.

“His enthusiasm, charm and professionalism would captivate audiences from primary school children to a room full of dignitaries.

"He would entertain and enlighten them on all things Poppy Appeal."

He said it was a privilege that his family took part in the Durham 5k in his memory.