Portsmouth’s Relay for Life set to celebrate anniversary

COSTUME Heidi Angel from Portsmouth and her dad Mike Smith at last year's Relay for Life
COSTUME Heidi Angel from Portsmouth and her dad Mike Smith at last year's Relay for Life
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EACH year they walk with pride in memory of loved ones.

Now fundraisers are limbering up once again for the Portsmouth Relay for Life, and more people than ever this time will be taking part for charity.

The event sees hundreds of people who have overcome cancer and lost friends and families to the disease walk around a track at the back of the Mountbatten Centre in teams repeatedly over 24 hours.

This year’s fundraiser for Cancer Research UK, being held this weekend, is extra special as it is the 18th one held in Portsmouth and will have an 18th birthday party theme.

It is now the longest running Relay for Life outside of the US.

It will start at noon on Saturday with a lap of honour by cancer survivors, who will also be joined by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Steven Wylie.

In total, £900,000 has been raised since the relay began and last year £70,000 was generated. It’s hoped that figure will reach £80,000 this time.

Max Kirk, chairwoman of the committee in charge of Portsmouth Relay for Life, was diagnosed with skin cancer nine years ago and was given the all-clear in 2010.

She said: ‘We think this event is special.

‘We have got teams who have been doing it right from the very beginning.

‘It’s such an amazing event and we want more people to know about it.

‘We want people to know it is our 18th.

‘It’s special because of the atmosphere, it’s a celebration, it’s a commemoration, it’s about hope.

‘It’s just the most amazing way to spend 24 hours. We start together and finish together. In charity runs like Race for Life, people start together but don’t necessarily finish together.’

Thirty-four teams have signed up to the event and it will include a candle of hope ceremony where fundraisers will be able to light a candle in memory of a loved one.