THEY ran in their thousands - young and old, in varying states of health.

The annual Darlington Race for Life saw 3,000 women run, jog and walk 5km around the town's South Park wearing pink in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Many ran in memory of friends and family who had died from cancer, others were cancer sufferers or survivors themselves.

The women ranged from babies of a few months old to elderly pensioners. Bringing up the rear were 73-year-old Joan Whittam and Jean Baul, 68, from Hurworth, near Darlington.

Decked out in pink, cancer sufferer Mrs Whittam said: "Last year at this time, I was having an operation and I said to myself, if I am still here this time next year, I will walk this race."

Mrs Baul said: "I am running for my husband John, who died two months ago and should have been here today."

Elza Stevely, 33, from Norton carried eight-month old daughter Rona, in a fluffy pink hat, accompanied by grandmother Petro van der Merwe, 65, from South Africa.

Susan Stephenson, 57, from Darlington, brought god-daughter May Eastham Haithwaite, aged five. She said: "I'm running for my husband Michael, who has died of cancer and May is running for Grandad Peter and Grandad Eastham."