Teams gear up for Relay for Life

The survivors' lap of honour during 2012's record-breaking Relay for Life. Photo: Kevin Jones

The survivors’ lap of honour during 2012′s record-breaking Relay for Life. Photo: Kevin Jones

The sun is set to shine until Sunday, according to weather forecasters, which should mean favourable conditions for tomorrow’s Relay for Life.

The all-night fund-raiser, which has expanded to feature stalls and events in the preceding after­noon, is being held at Clickimin with all money raised going to Cancer Research UK for use in the north-east of Scotland.

The big day will start at 2pm, when a gala afternoon will have dance mats, beat the goalie, bouncy castles, parachute games, candy floss and lots more family fun.

This year there are 124 teams from Sumburgh to Unst booked to take part, slightly fewer than the 2012 relay, but the number of people taking part, 2,200, is slightly more. All have been sponsored to take it in turns to make their way round the running track in a 12-hour effort, starting at 8pm.

Events were supposed go off with a bang, as the Army Reserve based at Fort Charlotte was to have fired a ceremonial gun at the start of the relay and again at its end at 8am on Sunday.

The large gun, similar to the one o’clock gun fired in Edinburgh, was last fired (with blank rounds) to welcome the Tall Ships, and had been on the mainland for maintenance. It returned on Thursday night’s boat – but will not be used this weekend.

Sergeant Daniel MacKinnon of the Army Reserve said by the time the risk assessment to satisfy CRUK had been done it was too late.

However, the Army Reserve is very much involved with the relay, with two teams, each seven strong – the Fort Charlotte Army Reserves and the 105 Regiment Royal Artillery – taking part. They will be carrying 35lbs rucksacks, the weight normally used on army marches.

Sgt MacKinnon said of the relay: “It’s incredibly important. Everyone’s been touched by cancer and it’s a cause close to my heart – my Nan died of cancer in October.” He added: “It’s important for the Army Reserves to be seen to support the community.”

Prior to the relay there will be a cancer survivors’ lap of honour, when around 100 survivors will make their way round the track. The importance of this ceremony will be marked by the Jarl’s Squad.

Another important point will come in the Candle of Hope ceremony at 10pm, when the candles, in their bags around the track, will be lit, illuminating poignant messages in memory of loved ones.

Throughout the night there will be music and food, all made possible by the generosity of the sponsors, plus an exercise marquee.

About Rosalind Griffiths

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