Hundreds of people have so far raised £45,000 from a non-stop 21-hour relay walk in aid of a vital cancer charity.
More than 300 participants put their best feet forward for Relay for Life at Ickworth Park, in Horringer - taking turns within teams to pass on the baton as they completed laps around a track.
The 19 teams raised funds through a variety of activities in the run-up to the event, which was held for the sixth time and has now raised about £300,000 for Cancer Research UK since it launched in 2009.
Starting at noon yesterday, the relay was held through the night with a break at 9pm for a Candle of Hope ceremony when hundreds of dedicated candles were lit in memory of loved ones and placed around the track creating a circle of light.
Lorraine Cockerton, relay event chairman, said: “It was absolutely brilliant and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Everyone is touched by cancer at some point and we have all benefitted from the research that’s being done.”
She added that the success of the event is a testament to the participants’ fund-raising efforts and the committee of volunteers who organise the relay.
The opening ceremony featured guest speaker Dr David Kent, from the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, and saw about 33 cancer survivors, led by the Glenmoriston Pipe Band, complete a ‘lap of honour’ around the track.
School pupils Eva Torfinn, of St Edmunds Catholic Primary, and Ava Hooper, of Sebert Wood Primary were given the chance to hold the starting ribbon after being named winner and runner-up of a drawing competition.
There was a carnival atmosphere with fun for all the family including eight bands, demonstrations, games, novelty laps and fund-raising stalls run by the teams.
Among the survivors was three-year-old Henry Dalgoutte, of Bury St Edmunds, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged just 13 months.
He currently has ‘no evidence of the disease’ and his mum Katie, 34, runs a charity Henry’s Holiday Help to provide support to families of children with cancer.
She said: “It’s lovely seeing everyone here raising money and raising awareness.”
Team The Folly Dollies were taking part in the event for the fourth time and yesterday had so far raised more than £2,000.
They included Lisa Hisscott, of Bury, who successfully battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being diagnosed aged six. The 33-year-old, who is a pharmacy dispenser, said: “It’s nice to give something back as I was given all that help all those years ago.”
Also relaying for the Folly Dollies was Judi Clark, 57, of Lawshall, who beat breast cancer and praised the event for its contributions to cancer research.
Barbara Wallis, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, was taking part with team Wallies Walkers - made up of family and friends,
The 72-year-old, of Icklingham, lost her husband Andy to prostate cancer and brother-in-law Chris to a brain tumour in 2013.
She said: “This event is a brilliant way of raising funds - without the proceeds going to cancer resaerch we’re not going to move forward in terms of treatment.”
Accountant Sam Jackson, 44, of Bury, was leading team Hope, Love and Faith, which had already raised more than £7,000 through a band night, barbecues, quiz night and coffee morning.
She started taking part in the event as her dad John Leeves had pancreatic cancer and passed away a month before the relay in 2013.
Mrs Jackson, who was holding a birthday cake baton to celebrate her husband Ben’s big day, said: “We’ve all lost someone to cancer and have people fighting it now. This event is fun but there’s a poignancy to it as well.”
- For more pictures see Friday’s Bury Free Press newspaper.