TWO teams will be taking on the biggest half-marathon in the UK to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

Four members of staff at Middlesbrough cafe Jean's Kitchen are taking part in this weekend’s Great North Run.

For manager Louise Matthews this will be her fourth Great North Run and she will be running with colleague Gemma Brighty, who completed a half-marathon in Liverpool last year, and newbies Rachel Andrews and Ashley Shea.

The quartet are fundraising for the wards at the James Cook University Hospital which have treated their loved ones.

Staff member Rachel Andrews, who started training at Christmas, said her father is an out-patient at the Cancer Day Unit and her sister is receiving care after having an operation.

She said: “That ward is brilliant. They look after people from all over with different types of cancer.

"I used to go to support Louise when she was taking part. She asked me to do the Great North Run and when my dad got poorly I thought it was the right thing to do.”

Ashley’s stepdad is also receiving support from the Day Unit following two years of cancer treatment while Gemma is running for the Motor Neuron Disease Care Centre in tribute to her grandad.

In Darlington, a family will be taking part in memory of baby Hari Snook.

The Northern Echo:

Hari’s dad, Ben 39, from Darlington, his auntie Rebecca, 40, and her partner Adam, 45, from Teesside, will be pounding the streets of Newcastle to raise funds for neonatal charity, Leo's, which supports families when their baby has been born sick or premature and requires neonatal care.

Hari, who alongside his twin brother Oscar, was born at 24 weeks in 2013, weighing 1lb 7oz, less than a bag of sugar.

Both twins, after being born at the University Hospital of North Tees, were immediately transferred to the neonatal unit, where, four days later, Hari needed life-saving surgery and was transferred to the neonatal unit at the Leeds General Infirmary.

At just 30 days old, Hari took his last breath in the arms of his dad, Ben.

Ben Snook, Oscar and Hari’s dad, said: “Being the daddy of an angel baby is one of the hardest things to deal with.

"It makes absolute sense to do what I can to raise money to support a charity providing such invaluable support.

"I know that thinking about my boys will help me through this challenge.”