CANCER survivors joined forces on a special weekend of virtual fundraising.

Colchester’s Relay For Life would have taken place at the Garrison on Saturday and Sunday, raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

Instead, because of the lockdown restrictions, organisers put together a fun-packed, but thought-provoking, timetable of socially-distanced events.

Highlights included a virtual relay, where survivors completed their own walks or runs, live music and a touching Candle of Hope ceremony, featuring the Colchester Cancer Choir, in memory of former choir member Val Gordon, who lost her fight with cancer in January.

In the process they raised £360, adding to the £218,000 raised by Colchester’s Relay For Life since the inaugural event in 2013.

Event chairman Ken Taylor said: “It was a successful weekend, in the circumstances.

“Obviously we had to change our plans, because of the situation with Covid-19, and the usual relay event at the garrison has been postponed until 2021. However, as a committee, we still wanted to put together a special programme of events.

“There were lots of highlights.

“Normally cancer survivors do the opening lap of the relay, so this time we put together a collection of photos and presented a slide show.

“We had live music from local singer Sarah-Louise, who is a great supporter of ours and put on a virtual concert from 12pm.

“Another highlight each year is a survivors’ lunch on the Saturday.

“As this could not happen as usual, the committee chose to deliver afternoon teas to the survivors instead.

“Meg Coppin, one of our wonderful fundraisers, made and donated 21 cream teas and a special survivors cake, that committee members personally delivered to survivors from Mersea to Felixstowe.

“We even used local shops to have cakes delivered to survivors as far away as Gloucester.”

The Relay for Life celebrates those who have survived cancer, remembers those lost and rallies people to fight the disease.

It usually starts at 11am on a Saturday and finishes at 11am on the Sunday.

Teams enter and the idea is that one person from each team is running or walking on the track during the 24 hours.

“Obviously things were different this year but we made the best of the situation,” added Mr Taylor.

“This was my first year as event chairman and I can’t thank or praise the committee enough.

“They worked so hard and are wonderful, committed people.

“We had a lot of fun but there was also plenty of time to reflect and remember.”

For more details about Colchester’s Relay For Life, see