A determined group of 80 cancer survivors and their friends helped raise an impressive £31,000 during a 24-hour relay to battle the disease.
More than 2,000 people ranging from four days old to 100 years old took part from 12noon on Saturday to 12noon on Sunday, helping Relay for Life, Luton, reach the £500,000 landmark in its eighth year.
Relay teams from across the town came together for the event to take it in turns to complete the 400m track at Stockwood Park Athletics Centre, marking the fact that cancer never sleeps.
“I’m thrilled that so many people supported us,” said Ruby Crowle, 52, co-chair of Relay for Life, Luton. “We had 100-year-old cancer survivor Ken Abbott walk the whole circuit – it was amazing!
“He used to be President of Bedfordshire Athletics Association, so he’s very fit, and it reinforces that fact that you can survive cancer and live to a ripe old age.”
The youngest member of Relay for Life, Luton, was four-day-old James Elijah Ayres who completed the track with his parents Thomas and Sarah, while the VIP Survivors accomplished an emotional lap of honour at the opening.
Throughout the year, the relay teams of 8-15 members help fundraise for Cancer Research UK, leading up to the big 24-hour event, with the after dark Candle of Hope Ceremony being one of the most poignant moments.
“The service was incredible,” said Ruby. “It’s to remember those who have lost their lives or suffered from the disease, as well as those who are working through.
“Luton sees a lot of bad press but it’s great to see diverse cultures coming together to do something positive - a lot of teenagers were involved this year, as well as the Mayor.“
The all-night event was started in 2008, after one of the former Relay for Life Luton Chairs, Judith Jerodiaconou, sadly lost her daughter Charlotte to cancer.
Meanwhile, Ruby, and co-chair Pauline Robb, are still hoping to add to their £30,000 total in the next few weeks, whilst planning a “bigger and better” relay for 2016.
> To donate or join a team, visit www.relayforlifeluton.com