This year, Cancer Research UK is bringing together thousands of people from across the country to raise vital funds to beat cancer and celebrate the lives of those touched by the disease.

Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life is an inspirational event that celebrates life and honours those touched by cancer. It kicks off with small teams of friends and families, neighbours and workmates getting together to raise money for the lifesaving work of Cancer Research UK and ends with a celebration at the event itself held in a local park, stadium or sports field, that lasts through the night.

During the Relay, team members take it in turns to walk round the track. When not walking, teams can enjoy a picnic, play games or take advantage of a wide range of entertainment, such as music, dance performances and sporting activities.

The event, which began in the US in 1984, now takes place in more than 20 countries around the globe, making it the world’s largest fundraising event. Since it first arrived in the UK in 1996, Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life has grown in popularity and this year celebrates its biggest year ever, as a record-breaking 100 events take place nationwide.

Between May and September, communities as far apart as the Welsh Valleys, Nottingham and Shetland will be holding Relay For Life events. It is hoped that more than £2.5 million can be raised as a result – helping the charity in its bid to beat cancer.

The event starts with a Survivors’ Lap of Honour, with cancer survivors walking the first lap of the course as a testimony to progress made in cancer research. In the evening, every Relay holds a Candle of Hope Ceremony, in which people are invited to dedicate a candle to those who have died from cancer, or to celebrate the lives of those who have survived the disease. Everyone in the local area is invited to come along to show their support and participate in the ceremonies that take place.

Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life is not a sponsored event – instead participants raise money in advance, for example through asking for donations and selling specially designed ‘Candle of Hope’ bags. A booklet with fundraising ideas is sent to each team on registration, and teams can top up their money with activities on the day.

In 2007 Cancer Research UK held 66 Relay For Life events across the UK, raising more than £1.5 million for the charity’s life-saving research. To find out how you can get involved, visit Relay for Life


For media enquiries, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8302 / 020 7061 8492 or the out-of-hours press officer on 07050 264 059.


  • Teams should be between 8-15 people
  • The entry fee is £10 per team member, which covers the cost of putting on the event
  • Each team needs a team captain to coordinate their members and organise a walking schedule, tents and fundraising activities
  • About Cancer Research UK

    • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
    • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
    • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
    • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
    • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
    • For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit our homepage.


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