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Warwickshire Relay for Life event aims to raise £40,000 to help fight cancer





A RETIRED police officer and cancer survivor is leading a county-wide campaign to raise £40,000.

Neil Brunton, who lives in Binton, was diagnosed three years ago with stage three bowel cancer.

After surgery and treatment, he’s in remission but is passionate about raising awareness of the disease and fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

As part of this he’s spearheading Relay for Life, which will bring together people from all ages and levels of fitness for a family festival at Binton Social Club on 6th July.

Neil’s wife Amy is volunteer chairwoman of the event, after the couple were approached by Cancer Research UK because they’ve raised so much money, including making personalised video messages where Neil dresses up as Father Christmas.

Amy and the committee are asking people to raise as much money as possible in the months leading up to the relay event.

Amy Brunton, centre, along with her Relay for Life Coventry and Warwickshire event fellow volunteer committee members Etty Martin, cancer survivor chair, and Paul Bayliss, team chair, will be taking part in the event at Binton Social Club in their Bowl Buster team along with colleague and treasurer Deborah Barleggs, not pictured. Photo: Mark Williamson.
Amy Brunton, centre, along with her Relay for Life Coventry and Warwickshire event fellow volunteer committee members Etty Martin, cancer survivor chair, and Paul Bayliss, team chair, will be taking part in the event at Binton Social Club in their Bowl Buster team along with colleague and treasurer Deborah Barleggs, not pictured. Photo: Mark Williamson.

Activities can be anything from bike rides and bake sales to bingo and quiz nights and through sponsorship and donations from friends and family, monies raised will fund life-saving research.

The festival on 6th July is a chance to remember loved ones and honour everyone affected by cancer and celebrate progress in beating the disease.

During the non-stop 10-hour event, team members will take it in turns to walk around a track, while the rest of their teammates and spectators listen to live music from X-Factor contestant Jordan Williams, the Mike Davids Band and Shades of Black.

Other attractions are bouncy castles, face-painting, ice-cream vans plus coffee, cocktail, Indian street food and pizza stands.

There is also a cancer survivors’ VIP afternoon tea and during the day anyone who attends will be given a bag to decorate with messages to their loved ones.

As darkness falls, the Candle of Hope ceremony takes place where the bag is filled with sand and an LED candle is lit, transforming the track into a sea of flickering lights to honour all those affected by cancer.

Amy and Neil, who have six grandchildren plus another due, say 20 per cent of the £40,000 target has already been raised but they’re urging those who want to set up their own team, or join another, to get in touch.

There’s no limit on team members, with numbers ranging from 17 to four.

If this year’s event is a success, Amy plans to make Relay for Life an annual fixture.

Sponsors include insurance company Gallagher, commercial cleaners Millsales, Ronnie's Bar in Warwick and JBS website design.

Neil, 59, who is training for the three peaks challenge, said: “I’m still on the monitoring system so have regular blood tests and scans but I’m pretty much doing everything I did before my diagnosis, including playing football.

“I feel so passionate about fundraising because the data shows almost one in two of us will get cancer, so that means every family is going to be affected by it.

“It’s the research side that will help future generations – hopefully, there’ll be a cure for all cancers during the lifetime of our grandchildren.”

Amy added: “We need everyone in Warwickshire to sign up now.

“Thanks to our relay-ers and supporters, people are being diagnosed earlier, have access to kinder and more effective treatments and in some cases, cancers are prevented completely.

“By taking part in Relay for Life every person, every team and every pound raised will be helping Cancer Research UK scientists to make new discoveries.

“We hope as many people as possible will join us for an unforgettable experience.”

The day kicks-off at 12 noon with an opening ceremony that will see cancer survivors complete a lap of the track while being cheered on by friends, families and supporters.

The event, which runs until 10pm, opens to the public from 2pm, with tickets costing £5 for adults and under-12s free.

For more information about Relay for Life, to offer your support or start fundraising, visit cruk.org/relay or call 0300 123 1026.



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