Gallery: Cancer survivors finish Bury St Edmunds relay in rain

AROUND 450 people, including cancer survivors, their relatives and friends, defied wet and windy weather at the weekend to complete a 21-hour relay and raise thousands of pounds for research.

The Cancer Research UK Relay for Life and charity fun day took place at Ickworth Park on Saturday and Sunday. The event opened with a moving speech from local cancer survivor Pam Clarke, before walkers set off at midday on the first stages of the relay.

A focus of the weekend was a moving ‘candle of hope’ ceremony at 9.30pm.

Relay chairman, Lorraine Cockerton, said although bad weather had threatened to bring proceedings to a halt early on Sunday morning, the decision was made to soldier on.

“At about 6.30am, stallholders were having to hold on to their canopies because the wind was so strong and everyone was completely soaked through from the torrential rain,” she said.

“This was the first time we have ever experienced anything of this kind and we agonised over whether to cancel it, but most people thought it would be a terrible shame to give up so near to the finish.”

Several cancer survivors joined in the first part of the relay, including twins Megan and Gracie Garwood, who have both battled and beaten leukaemia.

Most Read

Ms Cockerton added: “It was very moving and inspiring to hear Pam Clarke saying that us raising all this money was the reason why she is still here – because of the research we have helped to fund which also helped save her life. She spoke about what that meant for her.

“We don’t have final totals yet of how much we have raised but we think it will be somewhere in the region of �60,000 which is wonderful.”

Relay participants were able to enjoy musical entertainment provided free of charge by bands such as Eureka Stockade and Flaming June, and choirs, Dowsing for Sound and The Voice Squad. The Bury Gymnastics Club, Green Dragon Morris Dancers and theatre in the park performances all helped to lighten the mood.

For those who stuck it out to the end, Ickworth Hotel cooked breakfast and presented the tired, wet and hungry walkers with welcome bacon rolls.

Ms Cockerton concluded: “It was a marvellous effort by everyone concerned, from those who took part in the relay and others who took the trouble to make costumes and set up a wonderful array of stalls in the grounds, to those who gave their services and time free of charge to help us raise such a staggering amount for cancer research.”