COMPETITORS were left foaming in fun at a new support event for a worthy cause today.

More than 1,100 people took part in the first ever Bubble Rush in Durham to help raise funds for local charity, St Cuthbert’s Hospice.

The event, sponsored by MGL Group, saw participants run, walk and toddle through a sea of brightly coloured foam around the 5k route. at the St Leonard’s School playing fields, near County Hall, at Aykley Heads.

Stilt walkers and bubble artists from Ignite Entertainment were on hand to add to the entertainment.

Many of those who took part did so with someone special in their hearts.

It was a chance for people across the county to remember their loved ones and come together to say a big ‘thank-you’ to the Merryoaks hospice for its care and support.

Sarah Hindle, 36, from Chester-le-Street, took part with children Harriet, 13, and nine-year-old Elliot.

They chose to run in memory of her husband Andrew, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 41, following a coronary thrombosis, a blood clot in his heart. Both children were referred to the children’s bereavement service at the hospice to help them to express their feelings and come to terms with their loss.

Mrs Hindle said: “I thought Andrew was the best husband ever until he became a father. He was amazing!

“He adored our children and they were so close.

“Looking back I often wonder if their time with their dad was so intense for a reason, as we lost him so young and we lost him unexpectedly.

“We didn’t get to say any goodbyes.”

“The hospice provided my children with a life-line allowing them a safe place to express themselves.

“The bereavement team helped to prepare us for our new life without Andrew.

“My children had a safe place and someone to trust away from home to help them make sense of what was happening.

“Harriet and Elliot were able to bring their special memories of their dad back to life, using varies arts, crafts and their memory box.”

Thanking everyone who took part, Jade McArdle, St Cuthbert’s senior community and events fundraiser, said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many people here for our first ever Bubble Rush.

“Seeing everyone’s smiling faces while taking part has been great.

“Events like this help to raise money for the hospice which is essential, but they also raise awareness for those who haven’t accessed any of St Cuthbert’s services before.

“Many people don’t know that we also support anyone in County Durham who has been bereaved, as well as those who have lost a loved one at the hospice.”

The event is expected to raise £18,000-plus, with more expected in sponsorship over the coming days, an amount covering a month of care delivered by the hospice’s family support team.

Each year St Cuthbert’s must raise more than £2m to ensure its many vital services can be provided for free to people with life-limiting illnesses and approaching the end of life, as well as the bereaved.