Charity worker Vicki Turner had no idea that planning a Race for Life event would lead to the love of her life and a marriage proposal.
But the Devon event manager hadn’t planned on meeting Dan Barritt who was one of the volunteers assigned to help signpost the event course that weekend.
The couple met across a muddy field in June 2019 and spent that first afternoon going round the 5K course to assess the area and plot the route.
They met, married and have a baby on the way in September and will be cheering on the men, women and children at this weekend’s Barnstaple event held at the amazing Castle Hill Estate in Filleigh on Sunday 19 June. It is anticipated there will be around 400 people taking part.
The event will be held for the first time at Castle Hill where participants get to see the amazing gardens and splendour of the estate whilst helping to raise funds to beat cancer.
Vicki, 35, who lives in Tiverton, said: “As soon as I got chatting to Dan that afternoon at the Yeovil event, I knew I wanted to see him again. We didn’t stop talking and he came back the next day.
“We did the event season together, me as the event manager and Dan volunteering, helping to set up the course and he stayed to pack the event kit away at weekends.
“By the September we went on our first holiday together, came back and booked another holiday as we got on so well. We moved into together after six months even though it was with my parents. It didn’t put him off and I knew he was a keeper.”
The couple survived lockdown and spent the past two years living in Tiverton, with Dan moving from his home in Cheddar to be with Vicki.
The couple took on Race for Life events together around the South West and their close bond grew stronger each week.
When Dan, 33, proposed in the September 2020 they had hoped to be married soon after, but Covid meant the wedding had to be put on hold. So, in December 2021 they finally got to tie the knot and spent their honeymoon in New York on Christmas Day.
The happy couple are now expecting their first child together in September.
They are both proud to be supporting the event season and have vowed to help out at events this summer, even though Vicki has handed over the reins of the job to one of her colleagues.
But they are now welcoming thousands of participants, who choose to walk, jog, or run either 5 or 10k to help beat cancer as both will be volunteering and ensuring the events run to plan.
They are gearing up once again to help out the events held from Barnstaple in North Devon to Yeovil, Plymouth, Taunton, and Exeter.
Although Vicki is now working for the charity as a community fundraising manager, she volunteers her time at weekends with Dan to help out at Race for Life and would like to invite more prospective volunteers to join them.
She added: “It is great fun and people can get involved in everything from marshalling the event to welcoming participants on to the course - or giving out medals and water bottles at the end. They will meet a whole range of wonderful people and it really is rewarding work.”
Every year around 37,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the South West and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime. Money raised at Race for Life enables scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer - helping to save more lives.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
Ali Birkett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in the South West, said: “It really is lovely to hear how Vicki and Dan met and of course if anyone else has found love or friendship at a Race for Life event then we would love to hear from them.
“Sadly, cancer affects all of us in some way. Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer, or signing up to protect their own children’s future, everyone has a reason to Race for Life. So, we’re asking people across the region: “Who will you Race for?”
To enter, visit raceforlife.org
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