Join Bethany at the start line of the Great North 10k Family Events, open to children of all ages up to 15 years old. Enter at: Greatrun.org/North10k
A youngster whose step-father lost his life saving her when she got into difficulty in the water while on holiday is to take on the Great North 10k Family Mile to raise funds to support water safety courses for children.
Bethany Potts, 13, got into difficulty in the sea with her step-dad Carl Dunlop while they were on a family holiday in Salou, Spain, last October.
Thanks to a water safety course she had recently completed that summer, Bethany was able to pull herself to safety, but tragically, Carl, died aged just 48. Bethany’s mum Joy, 38, was left heartbroken after the loss of her soul mate who she intended to marry after their first family getaway abroad turned into a nightmare holiday.
Now Bethany, who saw Carl as a father figure, has signed up to the Great North 10k Family Mile in Gateshead on 3 July as a way of raising funds in her step-dad’s memory.
Joy, from Jarrow, South Tyneside, said: “We are all so proud of Bethany for how she is handling this. “When I met Carl, it was really important that I found someone who Bethany would get on with and he looked after her like she was his own. Bethany saw him as a father to her, which makes it even more sad.
“Bethany has completed the Junior Great North Run before but this year will be the first time she has taken part in an event and raised money for charity.
“The Great North 10k Family Mile will be a great way for her to raise money for the RNLI in her step-dad’s memory.
“She will then take part in the Junior Great North Run in September so this will be a good way to kick-start her efforts.
“On the day we went to the beach, it was the hottest day of the holiday and it was very crowded. I’m not a strong swimmer so I only went in for a little while but Bethany was in up to her waist.
“There was no sign of panic and the sea was full of holidaymakers, we think what happened was just a freak accident.
“Around an hour later Bethany came running out and she looked panicked, she said she had struggled in the water and Carl had tried to help her. She ended up clawing at the sand to escape.
“She said she saw Carl looking panicked but then had lost him and I heard people shouting for a lifeguard and when I heard sirens, I just had that awful sinking feeling that they were looking for Carl.
“She described how she was enjoying herself one moment then found herself fighting against the water. It shows how quick things can change and that people need to be aware of the dangers.”
Bethany took part in two Amateur Swim Association (ASA) safety courses during her summer holidays last year and Joy believes that they played a part in saving Bethany’s life. She wants to attend another course this summer and hopes to raise awareness about the importance of children learning how to be safe in the water.
Joy added: “We all still really miss Carl but Bethany said she would like to do run in the Great North 10k Family Mile and the Junior Great North Run in his memory.
“It’s really important to support the RNLI in their quest to educate children about what they should do if they start to struggle in the water."
The North East’s biggest 10k running event is returning to Gateshead on Sunday 3 July and participants will cross the finish line inside the iconic Gateshead International Stadium.
For the first time this year, The Great North 10k Gateshead will feature the Great North 10k Family Mile and Great North 10k Toddler Dash, two events that are designed for families to enjoy getting active together.
With limited entries available, enter the Great North 10k Gateshead and the Great North 10k Family Events here: Greatrun.org/north10k
Visit Bethany’s Giving Page here: Justgiving.com/BethanyPotts