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Relay challenge is just a walk in the park; ++ RELAY FOR LIFE ++ RELAY FOR LIFE ++ RELAY FOR LIFE ++ RELAY FOR LIFE ++ RELAY FOR LIFE ++.

Byline: By Warren Manger

HUNDREDS of fundraisers in Coventry and Warwickshire raced around the clock at the weekend to raise more than pounds 40,000 to fight cancer.

More than 20 teams of walkers gathered at Stoneleigh Park for the region's second annual Relay for Life event in aid of Cancer Research UK.

About 300 people took turns to walk laps of the track, with at least one member from each team walking throughout the marathon 21-hour relay.

The relay was launched by a special survivors lap for fundraisers who had beaten cancer, before family and friends joined them for the second lap.

Survivors taking part in this years event ranged from toddlers, such as 18 month-old Euan Hendry from Bulkington who was diagnosed with a tumour in his neck and chest when he was just 18 weeks old, to Leamington pensioner Annette Deeley.

The 74 year-old, who beat breast cancer 18 years ago without telling most of her family and friends, was taking part in the survivor's lap for the second year running.

"I take part because it is the best thing I can do to help other cancer sufferers and let them know they can get better," she said.

"This year I have come well prepared with my Mackintosh and extra socks because it was pouring with rain last year."

There were lots of entertainments and activities, including live music, themed laps and fancy dress to keep to ensure spirits remained high throughout the walk.

As night fell on Saturday candles were lit around the track and there were candlelit messages of "hope" and "cure" on the big screen.

Jeff Reading, chairman of Cancer Research for Leamington and Warwick, helped to organise the Relay for Life and took part in the survivors lap.

The 56-year-old had been a Cancer Research fundraiser for more than 20 years before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago.

"Being diagnosed with cancer comes as a huge shock, but being a fundraiser somehow helped me to cope with it better," he said.

"I knew it was not the death sentence that others think it is.

"This year's event is even bigger and better than last year's - we had to move it from the Old Leamingtonians rugby ground to Stoneleigh Park to accommodate all the extra people.

"Hopefully that means we will raise lots more money for Cancer Research UK."

Pat Drummond and her friends from Warwick Tennis Club took it in turns to complete laps of the track throughout Saturday night.

"Getting soaked through last year didn't put us off," said Pat.

"We were sitting around in the pouring rain at 3am last year and wondering what we could dress up as this year.

"We chose clowns because only a clown would do this in the rain."

CAPTION(S):

MS160808RELA13 MESSAGE OF HOPE... Organiser of the relay Jeff Reading (below left) at the start of the marathon and (inset) little Isabelle Watkins, who is in remission from Leukaemia. Pictures: Michelle Sperry; CLOWNING AROUND... The Warwick Tennis Club team (top) and (above) one of the teams taking part included (back, from left) Shenagh Grant, Leanne Grant, Colin Malinowski, Paige Carter, Nathan Grant and (front, from left) Louise Grant, Katie Cullinane, Roisin McCluskey, Jessica James and (centre) Catherine McSheffery. MS160808RELA6 MS160808RELA5 MS160808RELA2; LAPPIN' IT UP... Hundreds of fundraisers (far left) turned out for the annual Relay for Life; (left) 18-month-old Euan Hendry, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer aged only 18 weeks and (below) Isobel Barnsley walking with her grandma who has survived cancer. MS160808RELA8 MS160808RELA1 MS160808RELA7
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 18, 2008
Words:597
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