YOUNG people who take part in a popular weekly run now have the back-up of a special child-sized defibrillator, just in case of emergency.

Organisers of the Riverside junior parkrun, in Chester-le-Street, appealed for donations to replace their borrowed adult defibrillator and funeral director Martin Morrell stepped up to cover the cost.

Mr Morrell, of Walker & Morrell Funeral Directors which has branches in Washington, Gateshead and Houghton Le Spring, said: “Running can be a strenuous activity for children and when many of them gather to take part in exercise, it’s only right they have the correct first aid equipment.

“Adult defibrillators must be applied differently to children under eight years’old, which can cause confusion and increase the risk of errors.”

He paid £950 for the defibrillator, which replaces the one borrowed from the adult Riverside parkrun.

The Riverside junior parkrun sees more than 100 children and parents run 2 km across Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street every Sunday morning, often including Mr Morrell and his family.

He said: “My wife and I regularly take our kids and because it’s run by volunteers it’s all self-funded.

“We knew if we didn’t step in, getting a new defibrillator wouldn’t be easy for the organisation.”