AS 1,300 runners gathered at the start of the Race for Life, it was fitting that the sun broke through the clouds over Seaton Carew as Julie Bell gave an emotional speech to get the event underway.
Julie, mum of Hartlepool’s little princess Becky Bell, was given the honour of starting the race after her brave seven-year old daughter lost her courageous battle with cancer in January.
Becky’s story touched the hearts of thousands, and runners chanted “Julie, Julie” as the 40-year-old struggled to compose herself on the stage at the start line.
There were tears as Julie spoke of Becky’s tragic tale, followed by cheers as she urged people to dig deep to help the cancer charities which have helped her family.
Flanked by family and friends sporting t-shirts beaing a photo of Becky’s beaming smile, Julie somehow composed herself before telling the crowd: “Me and the girls are doing this for my little girl. She was our angel.
“We had hope when we were told her tumour had shrunk, but in January we found out it had come back bigger and faster than ever.
“From then, we only had our princess for another 11 days.
“The support she had was fantastic, and without the support of the RVI in Newcastle, Clic Sergeant and Cancer Research, she may never have got that treatment.
“We lost our princess, but give as much as you can to help others who are battling cancer.”