Yate Relay for Life returns

YATE’S fundraising Relay for Life is back – after being on hold since 2019. 

And organisers are promising an event to keep families entertained all day.

The 12-hour non-stop walking festival at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex will take place on July 15.

It is part of Cancer Research UK’s national campaign to raise awareness and funds to beat cancer. Teams of sponsored volunteers will walk and run the track non-stop from midday to midnight.

Yate Relay chair Keith Hatherall, himself a cancer survivor, says this year the event will be bigger than ever.

They already have more than 20 teams signed up – each one will have at least one member walking or running the track throughout the relay.

Keith said the organisers are putting on a series of stage acts and bands to keep supporters entertained.

He said: “The event is free and open to the public to turn up whenever they like and offer support.

“We want to make it an event for people to come along and enjoy even if they are not in the relay teams.”

The day starts with a survivors’ tea, paying tribute to the medical research and NHS work which has helped so many live with cancer.

Keith said: “We want them to know they are the centre of this, so it will be a celebration of their success.  We want to raise money so more people can survive cancer.”

Entertainment will include dance and theatre groups, acrobatics and bands.

At around 10pm there will be a ‘Candle of Hope’ ceremony, when friends and family of people who have succumbed to cancer will gather with decorated candle bags and spell out the word “hope” on the track.

Keith will be among those taking part. He was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his hip when he was 48, and experts feared he might not walk again, but he says he still manages.

He said: “I can’t jog, but I can still walk – I was very lucky. It’s been ten years since my diagnosis and operation and I’m still going strong. That’s why I wanted to get involved.”

The last Yate Relay for Life was held in 2019 before the pandemic.  There had been plans to run it in 2020, but social distancing rules, and the vulnerability of many cancer survivors and patients meant it was not safe to go ahead.

Keith said local survivors were determined to get the event back on track this year.

Nationally Relay For Life raises over £2 million for life-saving cancer research every year.

To find out more or sign up to take part visit the website yaterelayforlife.org.uk.