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CRUK head says isles’ fund-raising is ‘mindblowing’

The Gilbertson Park was bathed in sunshine for the biennial Relay For Life event on Saturday evening. Photo: Geoff Leask

CANCER Research UK’s head of volunteer fundraising has delivered a glowing verdict on the “mindblowing” sums of money raised by Shetland’s Relay For Life events over the past decade.

Simon O’Leary was in Shetland for the 2016 relay at Gilbertson Park on Saturday and Sunday. This year’s event has raised over £127,000 already, taking the overall sum since 2006 passed the million pound mark.

O’Leary said that was unusual even for communities with much larger populations.

“Most relays raise between £40,000 and £50,000, so to raise £127,000 in a community as small as this is simply mindblowing,” he told BBC Radio Shetland, “and to have passed £1 million – again, no other relay has done that in the UK.

“What sums it up to me is the survivors’ reception – we had over 150 survivors, and about half of them were male. We don’t get that in many other events.

“Males are not that good at coming forward and being open about their illness, we’re not very good at that, us blokes, so that shows that people in Shetland are just prepared to get out, get on with it and they trust the community will be with them and support them.”

Fundraising for this year’s relay will continue until 31 August.