Relay for Life fundraising tops $30,000

Participants in the Survivors and Carers Walk at the start of the
Derwent Valley Relay for Life on Saturday.

CANCER research and support will be boosted by more than $30,000 thanks to the efforts of the participants in this year’s Derwent Valley Relay for Life. Conducted at New Norfolk’s Tynwald Park over a 20-hour period from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning, the event attracted 264 registered participants as well as other supporters.

With many donations still to be added, the fundraising tally may well reach $40,000, Derwent MLC Craig Farrell said at the closing ceremony this morning. Mr Farrell urged all participants to encourage as many people as possible to take part in the next local Relay for Life in two years’ time.

“Whether you increase the size of your team or you know other organisations that you think should have a team, the way to grow this is really by everyone here encouraging people to become involved,” Mr Farrell said.

Milton Kennedy, left, Danny Yates and Governor Kate Warner
approach the Relay for Life starting line.

The relay started at 11am on Saturday, officially opened by the Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner, who spoke about her own cancer journey since being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins  lymphoma late last year.

Joining the governor in cutting the ribbon to start the relay were teenager Danny Yates who last year walked from Launceston to Sorell to raise funds for the Cancer Council, and his grandfather, cancer survivor Milton Kennedy.

While other walkers carried on with the relay, a special afternoon tea was held for cancer survivors and carers, provided by the Magra CWA with the support of the New Norfolk Guardian Pharmacy. The next major event on the program was the luminary ceremony at nightfall, remembering all those lost to cancer.

Bruce Lamb, left, Debbie Hutchinson and Katrina Foxton in
front of the “Hope” sign during the Luminary Ceremony.

The relay continued throughout the night, with walkers rugging up as the temperature plummeted and dew began to settle on the ground. Some team members opted to camp on site, while others headed home for the night and returned this morning. Among the early arrivals were members of the Lions Club of New Norfolk, ready to cook a breakfast of egg and bacon rolls.

The final lap was walked just before 9am, followed by the closing ceremony. Cancer Council representative Greg Peterson said 15 teams had registered for the event and he said the “Boyer’s Boisterous Bumblers” group headed by Peter Barry was top fundraiser. The award for the best baton went to “Pop’s Angels” (captain Tanya Russell) and the “Spirit of Relay” encouragement award went to the Claremont Fire Brigade team (captain Todd Bennetto).

Claremont Fire Brigade receives the Spirit of Relay award.

The other participating teams were (in no particular order): 65th Australian Cadet Unit (captain Justin Derksen), 98.9 Tyga FM (Roz Chapman), Cook’s Angels (Flo Ransley), Council Conquerors (Belinda Graham), Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (Matt Hill), Family Ties (Janelle Maw), Freedom Crew (Anita Vagg), Night Owls (Sonya Downie), Odd Balls (Hannah Mann), St Brigid’s Catholic School (Tracey Morgan), Team Red Caps (Tania Morgan), and Vick’s Angels (Suzanne Manser).

Professor Peterson said the recruiting of 264 relay participants was an outstanding achievement for the Derwent Valley event, being about one third of the number taking part in the state’s major Relay for Life in Hobart. “The Derwent Valley community is renowned for its generosity and that has been proven again in the last 20 hours.”

Congratulations to the organisers and all who took part. Online donations can still be made here.

See the New Norfolk News tomorrow for a photo gallery.

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