There were major celebrations in Kirriemuir on Saturday when it was revealed the town’s biennial relay for life events, which raise funds and awareness for cancer research, have smashed targets.
Since the first relay in 2007, £750,725 has been raised, including the £71,727 from this year’s event, which was scaled down due to torrential rain.
Among those moved by the total was committee member James Arnott who, on his first day as president of Kirriemuir Rotary Club in 2006, invited Dorothy Rodger from Cancer Research UK to be the speaker.
He said: “She came up with Relay for Life and hoped we could maybe take it on, and it happened from there.
“A committee was set up and it has blossomed bigger than we could ever have thought.
“We just wanted to put something back to help families, but never in our wildest dreams did we think we would raise three quarters of a million pounds.
“There’s not one person in this room not affected by cancer – all my family have died of cancer.
“Here’s hoping this can help the fight against it.”
The 24-hour relay walking events are held outdoors with this year’s event moved to the Strathmore Hall in Forfar.
Vikki Merrilees, local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK north east Scotland, spoke of the vital work the Kirrie relays will help fund.
She said: “Last year, CRUK spent nearly £42 million on some of the highest scientific and clinical research in Scotland.
“Back in the 1970s only one in four people survived but today half the people survive.
“We want to get to the stage where three in four survive cancer by 2034.
“We do have a strategy in place to achieve this, through prevention work, early diagnosis, campaigns and optimising the best treatments.
“Although we fund the best research in the world, there’s always more research we can do, there’s clinical trials to be run, so your involvement with Relay for Life has a real impact on that.”
Committee chairwoman Heather Kelly thanked all those who have supported the relays with the funds coming from cash, Gift Aid and bags of clothes donated to Cancer Research UK, raising £30 a bag, during the first two relays.
She said: “I am thrilled to bits. Thanks to everybody who has supported us, we look forward to 2021.”
Retiring committee member Rhona Guild added: “We have regularly been one of the biggest relays in Scotland on a number of occasions in terms of the numbers of people participating.
“We have never really pushed fundraising, we have always been adamant participation at relay is all about being there.
“This a community supportive event and fundraising is a secondary by-product of it.”