AIRLINE Flybe is to be main sponsor for Cancer Research UK’s 2018 Relay for Life event in Shetland.
CRUK has been the airline’s chosen charity partner nationwide for nine years, and having started three new routes to Sumburgh operated by Eastern Airways in September this year, Flybe’s interim chief commercial officer Ronnie Matheson said “the relationship was a natural one just waiting to happen”.
The sponsorship deal for the biennial community walk – the largest of its kind in the UK which has raised some £1.18 million since it began in 2006 – was confirmed at a launch concert in Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre last Thursday.
Matheson said: “It is the perfect way for us to extend naturally our long established partnership with the charity and, at the same time, further show our commitment to Shetland.
“Flybe works closely to contribute wherever possible to the local communities it serves and our extensive regional network specialises in connecting people and places.
“Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life year-round fundraising challenges bring communities together to beat cancer. The Shetland fundraising committee does fantastic work here to make their own relay so hugely successful and we look forward to working with them to help make 2018 their best one ever.”
Relay for Life committee chairman Martin Henderson said: “We’re really delighted to have Flybe as the main sponsor for Relay for Life Shetland 2018. Their support will be a great boost to the event, which moves back to Clickimin in 2018.”
Next year’s event will take the form of a fun day and night of celebration on 26 and 27 May at the Clickimin Leisure Complex, and the registration process for teams wishing to take part in now open.
The local committee plans to hold several roadshows throughout Shetland with a view to assisting teams and survivors with the registration process.
Among those performing at last Thursday’s concert, a “heady blend of local music and comedy” described by several audience members as the “best laugh” they’d had in ages, were comedian Marjolein Robertson, humorous songsmiths Elsbeth Clark and Steven Robertson (all of whom “genuinely reduced the audience to tears at times”) and music from Fjanna, the North Ness Boys and Kansa.
An impressive £761 was raised via the raffle alone, and Martin said he wanted to “sincerely thank all the artists who took part in the relay launch concert; Derek Hendry and GAry Smith for providing the sound and lighting, and everyone who bought tickets for the event itself”.
The record-setting 2014 event, when 120 teams with over 2,000 individuals participated, raised a staggering £306,000 and Martin said: “We know it’s a very tall order indeed to try and beat that, but we’re up for giving it a go”.
He said all the usual social atttractions, including a tea tent and live music marquee, would feature this time around, but it would be the commitment and generosity of local folk that would make the event.
“We’re really looking forward to hearing from as many teams as possible, plus any cancer ‘survivors’ who would like to take part,” Martin said, along with anyone who would be willing to help out ahead of and during the event.
He also acknowledged the support and help of Shetland Recreational Trust and staff at the new Anderson High School, saying the layout of the leisure centre and school “should make the logistics of next year’s event even better still”.
“All in all we believe this will be another fantastic and successful Shetland relay year, helping raise funds to, hopefully once and for all combat, or better still eradicate, this awful disease which affects so many people both in and outwith the islands. All we need now is the weather,” he added with a smile.
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