SURVIVORS will open Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life at Garon Park tomorrow by taking part in an emotional lap of honour.

The 28 men and women, wearing special T-shirts bearing the word “Survivor”, will step forward on to the track as their names are called.

People are invited to watch the ceremony before joining in the fun and entertainment at the two-day community event, which will see the relay continue into the night.

The survivors’ lap will include mother-of-four Julia Day, 40, from Southchurch, who has been treated successfully for cancer and grandmother Leslee Fosset, 50, from Thorpe Bay, who has beaten breast cancer. They will then be joined by the person who supported them throughout their fight against cancer.

Following the opening ceremony, members of the 30 teams taking part will crowd on to the track as the fundraising festival gets under way. Each team consists of between eight to 15 people. Team mates take it in turn to run or walk around the track, making sure there is at least one member on the track at all times.

At 1pm participants of the Rossi Guinness World Record Attempt will take their place in front of the stage. Sixty volunteers, including the Southend-on-Sea Air Cadets (1312 Squadron), will organise up to 3,000 participants into a chain in readiness to lick a Rossi Ice Cream for one minute at 1.30pm. 

Kieran Meikle, volunteer chairman of Relay for Life in Southend, said: “It is a unique event with a celebratory atmosphere and everyone who joins in will take away something special. All the teams are coming together to celebrate their fundraising achievements. It’s a day of hope and remembrance and a time when they can see their efforts have really helped to make a difference.”

The money raised by Relay for Life helps to fund Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work to develop newer, kinder treatments and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

A range of fun activities are open to the whole community and thousands of people are expected to help raise funds.

For more information, visit or call 0871 6412602.

- Pictures of the event will be in Monday's Echo