North Devon’s annual Relay for Life is going virtual this weekend with fundraisers invited to join the live event for its full 24 hours.

The warm up at Barnstaple Rugby Club for Relay For Life. Picture: Tony GussinThe warm up at Barnstaple Rugby Club for Relay For Life. Picture: Tony Gussin

Each year the poignant event at Barnstaple Rugby Club raises more than £20,000 for Cancer Research UK as teams take part in a continuous relay for the charity, punctuated with special events and live entertainment.

Covid-19 has hit the charity hard and put restrictions on the event, but all those traditions will continue with the Live 24 Hour Virtual Relay on Saturday, July 25 from midday as teams take part by camping in their own gardens.

The virtual event via Facebook will include the moving Candle of Hope ceremony in memory of those lost to cancer and a lap of honour by survivors.

Plus there will be live music from Mark Weeks aka Ultimate Buble and Bill Buckingham and visits to the inspirational cancer survivors as well as the teams camping out in their gardens.

Cancer survivors at a previous Relay For Life in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony GussinCancer survivors at a previous Relay For Life in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony Gussin

Organiser and chair Lisa Mackenzie said: “We have missed getting together with our many fabulous teams, survivors and supporters so hoping to all get together LIVE throughout the 24 hours!

“We would love for you all to join us to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back against a disease that has affected many of us.

“I’m gutted we can’t all be together, however we will be virtually and I’d love for you to join us. Now more than ever what we raise is so, so important into finding the kinder treatments, diagnosis and cures for many.

“My incredible committee past and present have all volunteered their time, energy and incredible ideas to making North Devon Relay so incredibly special, as have our amazing supporters and performers and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

As have other charities, Cancer Research UK has been hit hard by the pandemic and recently announced it would have to cut its spending on research by £150million in the next four to five years.

It also plans to cut almost a quarter of its jobs, with up to 345 redundancies over the next six months.

All are invited to get involved – go to the North Devon Relay for Life Live! Facebook page.