Gallery: Rain fails to dampen Race for Life

HUNDREDS of fundraisers shrugged off a torrential downpour in Ipswich to help fight cancer.

Simon Tomlinson

HUNDREDS of fundraisers shrugged off a torrential downpour in Ipswich to help fight cancer.

The heavens may have opened but their motivation was not dampened as they took part in the Race for Life around Chantry Park for Cancer Research UK.

Many were taking part in the 5km course yesterday because friends or relatives have been affected by the disease.

Ten-year-old Abbie Blackburn ran in tribute to her grandfather, who passed away before she was born.

The Gusford Primary School pupil completed the course with her mum, Tessa, in just over 30 minutes.

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Mrs Blackburn, 39, of Pinewood, Ipswich, said: “Abbie never met her grandfather because he died of lung cancer so it was her idea to take part.”

Three sisters, their cousin and a friend joined forces to tackle a disease which has blighted several members of their family.

Laura Wright, 18, and her sisters Hannah, 24, and Sarah, 15, their cousin Hazel Wheeler, 30, and friend Clare Sherman, 31, dressed up in pink ballet skirts and hope to raise around �600.

Meanwhile, 54-year-old Hilary Banks, from Otley, was competing in her first ever running event.

She initially signed up for the challenge, but her preparations took a poignant turn when she discovered her sister, who is from Bolton, had been diagnosed with bowel cancer three weeks ago.

Mrs Banks, who tutors a Portuguese course at Suffolk New College, completed the course in an impressive 35mins.

She said: “I have never run before. I have been trying to run for 54 years and I have done it. I have been training for two years.

“My sister has had part of her colon taken out and she is about to start chemotherapy. She is currently on a boat in Scotland somewhere trying to deal with it.”

Each year the charity's flagship event brings together thousands of women across the country to walk, jog or run a 5km course.

Have you or your family been affected by cancer? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

This year, it is estimated 680,000 women will take part to raise more than �62.5million.

Events take place across the country from May to July and women can walk, jog or run the 5km courses.

Now in its 16th year, it is the largest, women-only fundraising event in the UK.

Every pound raised goes towards Cancer Research UK's pioneering work to beat cancer.

The charity funds the work of over 4,500 scientists, doctors and nurses who dedicate their work to helping more people beat cancer.

So far, four million women have helped raise more than �240million.