A COFFEE shop owner is taking his first day off in three months to take part in the Great North Run.

Paulo Pani (56) who owns Salute Coffee Bar in St Mary’s Chare, Hexham, decided to support charity Children North East after hearing about the work it does from regular customer and Great Whittington resident, Carol Taylor, who is the charity’s senior fundraiser.

“It will be my 17th Great North Run and I always do it for charity,” said Paulo. “I have raised £100 so far this year but hope to get more.

“I am very busy in the business but have got a friend to take over in the kitchen on Sunday so I can take my first day off in three months.”

Paulo, who originally hails from Sardinia, is a keen runner and does three five-mile runs a week, so is looking forward to Sunday’s event.

“It has a great atmosphere and in my opinion is the best race in the world,” he said.

“My best time ever was one hour 35 minutes, but I don’t go into it trying to hit a particular time. It depends on a lot of things, so I just set out to enjoy myself and raise funds for charity.”

Children North East creates life-changing differences for babies, children and young people in their families, schools and communities, offering support at those times when a little help can make a big difference. For example the recently launched Prudhoe Youth Project, a detached youth work programme in the town that’s funded by Prudhoe Town Council, is staffed by Children North East youth workers.

Carol said: “Paulo is really well known in Hexham and makes lovely coffee. We are thrilled and very grateful that he is supporting our charity in the Great North Run.

“The money he raises will be put to good use in our many projects that support children and young people across the region.”