Fundraisers collect tens of thousands at Relay for Life

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: Ross Stringer (31) from Portsmouth with his daughters (left) Alisha Stringer (8) and Ruby Stringer (6) during their walk around the track.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1327)

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: Ross Stringer (31) from Portsmouth with his daughters (left) Alisha Stringer (8) and Ruby Stringer (6) during their walk around the track.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1327)

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THEIR legs ached and they looked exhausted by the end of it – but nothing could dampen the spirits of fundraisers who walked, marched and jogged during a 24-hour relay.

Hundreds of families, friends and local traders formed 28 teams that took part at this year’s Relay for Life at the Mountbatten Centre, in Stamshaw, Portsmouth.

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: (l-r) Lucy Grafen (52) and Sharon Maclean (58) dressed up for Relay For Life.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1347)

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: (l-r) Lucy Grafen (52) and Sharon Maclean (58) dressed up for Relay For Life.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1347)

Starting at midday on Saturday, teammates took it in turns to make their way around a 400m track.

And in between their efforts during the bad weather they slept in tents they had pitched on the field.

The event, which supports Cancer Research UK, was organised by volunteers and raised more than £64,000 towards the charity’s efforts.

Jason Lindsey, 39, of Fareham, led a team of 13 adults and children called ‘Matthew’s Mates’.

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: Chris Bairstow (42) from Gosport, running around the track with his daughter Eve Bairstow (4).''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1353)

14/7/2012 (NEWS)''Relay For Life took place on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.''Pictured is: Chris Bairstow (42) from Gosport, running around the track with his daughter Eve Bairstow (4).''Picture: Sarah Standing (122397-1353)

Jason named the team in honour of his son Matthew, six, who recovered from cancer a year after he was diagnosed with the condition when he was three.

‘I wanted to give something back to Cancer Research UK because it gave us some fantastic support,’ Mr Lindsey said.

‘This event means everything to us. This is the third time we’ve done it. It’s incredibly emotional. The family went through a tough time when Matthew was going through his treatment. Our lives were put on hold.’

A highlight of the event was a Candle of Hope ceremony that took place at 10pm on Saturday. Participants lit candles in memory of loved ones that had passed away and pictures of them were put on display.

Alex Newton, 23, of Commercial Road, Landport, walked in memory of his friend Richard Barnes, 23, who died of a brain tumour in 2003.

‘Loads of Richard’s family and friends have been here taking part and doing their bit to raise money,’ Alex said.

‘I didn’t get off to the best of starts because it bucketed it down with rain. I’m exhausted but it’s definitely been worth it. The thought of Richard spurred me on.’

Family duo Nick Stephens and Melvyn Evans walked the track non-stop with ruck sacks weighing 50 pounds each on their backs. Mr Evans, 56, of Cosham, took part in memory of his father Leslie Evans, 83, brother-in-law Malc Stephens, 50, and uncle Trevor Evans, 77, who all died of cancer in the last four years.

Mr Evans said: ‘It’s been difficult, more so physically than mentally. The atmosphere was amazing.’

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