Cancer Research UK Relay for Life Luton - are you ready?

The Tweenteens team. Members also fundraise in the run up to the relay.
The Tweenteens team. Members also fundraise in the run up to the relay.

Cancer Research UK Relay for Life Luton is coming to the town to celebrate surviving, party with Mary Poppins, and promote ongoing research.

On September 16 and 17 the charity’s landmark event will offer remembrance, colour and fun, as teams from Luton and its neighbouring villages and towns get ready to complete a 24 hour relay at Stockwood Park Athletics Centre.

The teams ranging from large groups of families and friends to just one person, complete laps around the athletics track, and there must always be one person from each team on the track during the 24 hours.

The Luton VIP team chair and volunteer spokesman, said: “We also have cancer survivors - or VIPs as we call them - whom arrive at about half past 11 for drinks and then complete an honourary survivors lap to start the event.

“They then go to the VIP tent for coffees and food - we’ve got a Mary Poppins theme this year and people are dressing up as Mary Poppins, chimney sweeps, and old fashioned waitresses with black dresses and white caps !

“At 8pm on the Saturday we have the Candle of Hope ceremony. It gets very emotional, so we have some quiet time before the music goes on again.

“ The whole reason we do it is because of the survivors and the more survivors we have means the fundraising must be working - there are more people who survive nowadays than ten years ago.”

The CRUK volunteers are keen to emphasise that teams can walk round the track - no 24 running sessions are required - and that the survivors lap goes slowly, as some people will of course be poorly or still going through treatment; there is no requirement for survivors to complete 24 hour team laps.

Some laps even have special dress up themes for teams to join in with, for example, on Saturday at 2pm there will be ‘sun hats and shades’ to raise awareness for skin cancer, and at 9.45pm ‘pyjamas and onesies’ representing the fact that “cancer never sleeps”.

There will be music and entertainment on the main stage, while every team has a stall at the centre to raise money, with members running raffles and tombolas.

The relay starts at 12pm on September 16. To contact local relay chairs, Reece Lowen and Paul Rogers, call: 07923 234361 or email: relayforlifeluton@gmail.com.