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Community / Relay for Life back as hundreds turn out for fundraising event

Welcome to Shetland News’ live coverage of the return of the Relay For Life – the huge fundraiser for Cancer Research UK.

The event, which usually takes place every two years, has not been held since 2018 due to the Covid pandemic.

The relay itself – where teams walk around the Clickimin track through the night – kicks off at 8pm, and it will run through to 8am.

Earlier in the day a gala event was held featuring music, stalls and food.

We’ll be updating this post with reactions and photos for the next few hours.

The 2022 Relay for Life got under way with the Survivors’ Lap of Honour.

29 May 2022 00:03

That’s us clocking off – but for some the night is only getting started as the relay continues through to 8am.

28 May 2022 23:57

The poignant candle of hope ceremony, which offers people a chance for reflection, did not take place at 10.30pm as planned due to the levels of wind.

However, people were asked to turn on lights on their phones and hold them aloft while names of loved ones were displayed on a screen – all while a lit-up sign saying hope/cure overlooked the Clickimin.

If the wind settles then organisers may look to light the candle bags which were placed around the running track at later time.

28 May 2022 22:44

All funds raised at the Shetland Relay for Life will be used for cancer reach in Scotland, the national charity has confirmed.

Cancer Research UK’s relationship manger Niamh Crawford said that of the £421 million the charity is spending on cancer research annually (2020/21 figures), £35 million is being spent at research centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The vast majority of funds collected by the charity annually come through donations, legacies, the organisation’s own shops as well as events such as the Shetland Relay for Life. To compare, the UK Government pays around £112 million annually towards cancer research.

Crawford said: “Cancer Research UK is the biggest funder of cancer research in the UK.”

She said there were seven similar relay events in Scotland, and the Shetland relay was one of the larger ones she is involved in.

“We are delighted to see it back and see the community come together to help beat cancer,” Crawford said.

28 May 2022 21:56

Martin Henderson and Relationship manager with Cancer Research UK Niamh Crawford.

Chairman of the Relay for Life Shetland committee Martin Henderson said he wanted to thank the local community for the outstanding contribution it makes to vital cancer research in Scotland.

He said that despite the pandemic – and the cancellation of the Relay event in 2020 – fundraising never stopped, as £135,000 has been raised for Cancer Research UK during lockdown.

“It’s great to be back. I am an a great believer in getting going again and focus on organising another event,” Martin said.

He said he joined the Relay to Life committee because of the statistics. One in two people will be affected by cancer during their life, either directly or indirectly. When he joined the committee he wasn’t, but that has now changed.

28 May 2022 21:44

The 12-hour walk is the focal point of the relay, but fundraising takes place throughout the year.

The relay teams organise their own fundraisers while other events – such as Shetland’s Got Talent – helps to add to the total.

Nearly £200,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK through the last relay in 2018. And last year, even without a relay event, the community raised an astonishing £130,000 to help cancer charity fund research into the illness that affects so many people and families.

Since the first relay in 2007, Shetland has raised more than £1.3 million.

28 May 2022 21:39

The relay offers perhaps one of Shetland’s longest nights of live music – with musicians playing right through to the morning.

First up was Freda Leask and there is a packed schedule through to the last act at 6.30am. It is up to Odesa to finish things off in their usual high-energy style as relayers complete their final laps.

Freda Leask.

28 May 2022 20:46

As usual, the survivors’ lap official opened the relay. This year it was led by young people.

Cancer survivors of all ages were invited to take part in the lap and walk in unison, “being part of a community of people that demonstrates that more and more people are surviving cancer”.

28 May 2022 20:41

The teams are well underway with their relay, with hundreds of folk walking about the Clickimin track.

Here are some photos as the teams began to stretch their legs on the first couple of laps.

Cancer survivors Etta Hannah (left), Sophia Cheatle and Fiona Irvani.

28 May 2022 19:47

Here are some more photos from the gala day event, held at the Clickimin between midday and 4pm. There were plenty of smiles on show – as well as some drizzle, but when has that ever stopped anyone? Inside the leisure centre there was also some organised chaos as bouncy castles and soft play allowed bairns to let off some steam.

Thanks to Sophie Whitehead for the photos.