A COMMUNITY rallied in support of a popular village resident whose death from a brain tumour at the age of 47 shook his family and many friends late last year.

Villagers old and young pounded the streets of Croft-on-Tees, near Darlington, in a 24-hour Jog for Jonny which ended at midday today (Monday May 2), raising funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity along the way.

A handful of old pals of Jonny Preston in the village organised the event, but up to 150 local people are believed to have taken part by completing at least one lap of Croft, along the banks of the River Tees.

Each lap started and finished at the Village Hall, which was the focal point for the event, serving refreshments, breakfasts and other snacks for participants and well-wishers.

But there was a rousing round of applause as the mass last lap was completed at the hall, at 12-noon today, to round-off the challenge, observed by Mr Preston’s mother Judy, bother Chris and sister Jane, the latter two who travelled from Horsham in Sussex and Tadcaster, respectively, to be present, while his ex-wife Julia and children Will, Alex and Holly, were also in attendance at the climax of the Jog for Jonny.

Organiser Danny Pyrah said it seemed to arouse a great “public spirit” in the village and he was delighted at the wide age span of those who took part, whether it was at dog-walking pace, brisk amble, jog, or more committed run.

“We had about 150 different runners who signed up to do at least a lap, from school age to 70-plus.

“We had raised about £2,500 through Just Giving donations, but with the tombola, raffle, bar sales, teas and other refreshments it will hopefully be more than £5,000 when everything is tallied up.”

Read more: Grandad walks garden marathon for brain tumour charity

Mr Pyrah was among the “hardcore” of participants who started the event on Saturday lunch-time and kept it going through the night.

He also referenced the efforts of Andy Dobson, Jorg Schmidt, Andrew Waugh, Ben Ellis, David Davies and Richard Coates, who sported distinctive white Brain Tumour Research charity t-shirts.

Mr Pyrah also thanked the “epic” efforts of the volunteers, particularly those staffing the Village Hall for their time and service over the 24 hours.

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