December 20 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, June 22, 2014
They arrived in their hundreds, most with a story to tell and all with a common goal of raising money to fund research into cancer.
Nearly 2,000 women and children converged on Nowton Park near Bury St Edmunds this morning to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life and “show cancer who’s boss”.
A further 800 joined the afternoon races, opting to run, walk or dance their way around the five kilometre or 10km routes mapped out around the perimeter of the park. The circuits took in areas of woodland, grassy banks and a stunning avenue of trees.
The weather was perfect for the event, which organisers hope will raise a combined total of around £180,000.
Cancer Research UK’s area events manager, Rachel Parrat, said several women had signed up for the “extra challenge” of the new longer 10km route this year, with around half of the participants opting to go the extra miles.
She said: “Nowton Park is such a lovely setting and we couldn’t have asked for the weather to be better.
“The only issue has been keeping the ladies well hydrated but that’s a good problem to have when you consider the wet and windy weather conditions we have faced in the past.
“We have around 2,800 people taking part today and it is absolutely amazing to see people coming back year after year. We are also starting to see the younger generation coming along to take part with their mums which is brilliant. If everyone gets their sponsorship back to us as soon as they can, we hope to raise around £180,000.”
Before each race, volunteers took to the stage to share their stories. Brave Bury mum Amanda Coppins, who was due to speak before the morning race, lost her brave battle against breast cancer last week, so a minute’s silence was held in her memory. In the weeks following her diagnosis in May, Amanda managed to raise more than £5,000 for West Suffolk Hospital.
Among the younger Race for Life participants was 10-year-old Rebecca Morley, from Tuddenham near Bury, who joined her mum Jeanna and brother Daniel, seven, for the 5km circuit. Rebecca said: “I am doing this in memory of our next door neighbour Shirley. It’s a really good cause to do it for and I wanted to do something to make a difference.”
Other mother and daughter teams included Evie and Natalie Jackson, and Sue and Lara Smith, who were embracing the ‘pink’ theme and running as the ‘Pink Ladies’.
“It’s such a great event and we thought it would be lovely to take part with our daughters. So far we have raised £400 between us,” Evie said.
Lynne King, Clare Nixon, Kerry Fuller and Julie Armstrong were taking part with their netball team mate Jane St Ledger, who is a breast cancer survivor. She said: “We all know people who have had cancer and I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. We are doing this for breast cancer research to give our support to other people who are going through this. Between us we have already raised well over £1,000.”
And it wasn’t just two legged participants showing their support on the day. Sisters Andie Holloway and Liz Hook brought their dogs Bertie and Rustie along for the 5km jaunt. They dressed entirely in pink for the occasion, including wigs and trainers. Andie said: “We lost our sister to ovarian cancer seven years ago and we also have several friends who have had cancer so we felt we needed to do something.”
Race for Life has been taking place at Nowton Park annually for more than a decade. Menfolk who came to cheer on their wives, girlfriends and daughters were able to browse a number of stalls selling merchandise and refreshments.