Kirriemuir’s Relay for Life registered two ‘firsts’ this year when the 24-hour event went ahead at the weekend.
Not only was it the biggest relay yet in Kirrie, with 51 teams and more than 700 participants, it was also officially the biggest Relay for Life in Scotland this year and has so far raised around £75,000 for Cancer Research UK.
The community banded together at the weekend to overcome some challenging conditions at Kirrie Showfield arising from torrential rain on Friday but with some judicious placement of woodchips, and occasional adjustment to the track onto dryer ground, organisers managed to keep the relay walking.
Relayers were treated to a huge variety of entertainment including many local bands, as they took turns walking round the track between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Tents and Gazebos as well as participants were decked out in a variety of fancy dress to suit their team names, and the sense of community spirit from the crowd was overwhelming.
At 10.15pm, the whole relay stopped for 30 minutes for the poignant ‘Candle of Hope’ ceremony, when 500 candles in decorated bags were placed around the inner track, lighting up the Relay throughout the night in memory of those lost to cancer, or in celebration of those who are surviving the disease.
After this many took the opportunity of a few hours’ rest, while others enjoyed quieter entertainment including a silent disco, bingo and quizzes.
Spirits on the track remained high despite a bitterly cold night but walkers were treated to a dazzling sunrise as an overnight fog cleared. The mood was lifted further by the smell of bacon and sausages wafting onto the track from the main tent.
The relay wound up at midday, after a performance from the Police and Community choir, although vice-chairwoman and secretary Rhona Guild embarked on her own epic trip by starting her week-long, 790-mile solo cycle around all the relay sites in Scotland.
She was accompanied on the start of her journey by fellow cyclists from Angus Bike Chain and the Ladies’ Leisurely Cyclists.
Rhona is hoping to raise a further £5000 for Kirriemuir Relay for Life as well as raising awareness of the relay throughout Scotland. Donations to her ‘Round the Relays’ ride can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/rhona-guild/ and her journey can be followed via her blog on www.roundtherelays.blogspot.co.uk