KIRRIE RELAY FOR LIFE A ‘PHENOMENAL SUCCESS’

The Lady Gaga team who participated in the Relay for Life. From left - Elaine Whittet, Susie Clark and Kathleen Gourlay. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

The Lady Gaga team who participated in the Relay for Life. From left - Elaine Whittet, Susie Clark and Kathleen Gourlay. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

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AFTER twenty four hours of walking round the track at Kirrie Showfield this weekend, the sun-kissed 550 participants in Kirriemuir Relay For Life 2011 discovered their efforts had already raised an incredible £125,000 for Cancer Research UK, far exceeding the £100,000 the organisers had hoped to reach.

“We’re utterly astounded by the amount raised,” said Keith Hopkins, volunteer chair of Kirriemuir Relay for Life.

The 30somethings dressed as characters from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. From left - Carol McLeod as Peter Pan, Mike Watt as Captain Hook and Amanda Duthie as Tinkerbell. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

The 30somethings dressed as characters from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. From left - Carol McLeod as Peter Pan, Mike Watt as Captain Hook and Amanda Duthie as Tinkerbell. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

“We were hoping to make it to the £100,000 mark but over the weekend, the donations and sponsorship money kept rolling in – and there’s still more to come!

“We won’t know the final total until early October, when a formal cheque presentation will be arranged.

“We would like to thank everyone who contributed towards Kirrie Relay for Life raising so much money to support Cancer Research UK’s ground-breaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, including the teams; the thirty Survivors who walked the opening and closing laps; the local businesses who sponsored different aspects of the event; the anonymous donor of the spectacular firework display; the volunteers who helped ensure the weekend went so smoothly; the performers; and everyone who made a donation or sponsored team members.

“We’d also like to say a special thanks to everyone who used Relay for Life as a reason to tidy out their wardrobes and cupboards.

A wave of the arms as the participants in the Survivors Lap of Honour complete the opening lap in the Race for Life. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

A wave of the arms as the participants in the Survivors Lap of Honour complete the opening lap in the Race for Life. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

“The donation bags have raised an incredible amount of money – and Cancer Research UK has informed us that, as well as being the third biggest Relay for Life in the UK in terms of number of teams, we’re at the top of the list for the number of collection bags!”

Rhona Guild, volunteer secretary, explained that, although the emphasis of the weekend was on having fun with friends and family, everyone present was aware of the excellent cause they were supporting by participating in Kirriemuir Relay for Life.

“As always, the opening lap, the Survivors Lap of Honour, was very emotional, especially when all the teams applauded as the Survivors - who have had cancer, are currently going through the cancer journey or have supported a family member through cancer – walked by,” said Rhona.

“Having completed their first lap, the Survivors were treated to a spot of pampering, with a glass of champagne, freshly-picked local strawberries, delicious cupcakes, and chocolate fondue.”

A snap-shot of Relay for Life participants warming up ahead of the 24-hour event on the outskirts of Kirriemuir. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

A snap-shot of Relay for Life participants warming up ahead of the 24-hour event on the outskirts of Kirriemuir. (Picture by photosonlocation.co.uk).

The Candle of Hope Ceremony, where candles were placed around the track in memory of loved ones lost to cancer, to celebrate loved ones who have survived cancer and to support loved ones currently undergoing cancer treatment, provided a poignant reminder of just how many families are affected by this disease.

“As the ceremony came to an end, everyone walked round the track behind our piper – Andrew Clark - and the sky was lit up by a fabulous fireworks display,” continued Rhona.

Many of the teams entered the fancy dress competition and walkers around the track included Lady GaGa look-alikes, Smurfs, characters from Peter Pan and ‘Charlie’s Angels’, who were voted the winners of the fancy dress competition.

To ensure there was no shortage of things to do and see, there was also a packed entertainment programme, which included performances by local bands from DD8 and Kirrie’s Got Talent 2011, which was won by Amy Baigrie.

“After 24 hours of walking, everyone was tired but happy,” continued Rhona. “Seeing everyone on the track for the very last lap highlighted just how momentous an occasion this event had been.

“The consensus from many who attended is that this was the best yet!”

Despite having been on the go for 24 hours, Elaine Findlay, team captain of Pan’s Pirates, enjoyed the weekend so much, she’s already put her name down for the next Kirriemuir Relay for Life!

“Everyone in my team had a fantastic weekend,” said Elaine. “It’s wonderful to see how many children and young people have taken part and I would like to say ‘well done’ to my team and to everyone who participated. I’m already looking forward to the next one!”

Team captain Dr Michelle Watts was equally enthusiastic. “Great atmosphere, really strong sense of community spirit and very good fun,” Dr Watts said. “And it’s all for a good cause – what a great way to spend the weekend!”

Until August 30, donations of unwanted household goods or clothing can be handed in at Cancer Research UK, Castle Street, Forfar (quoting Kirriemuir Relay for LIfe); Strathearn Funeral Directors, 29 Roods, Kirriemuir, between 10am and 3 pm, Monday to Friday and on Saturdays, between 10 am and 11 am.