Stanmer Park in Brighton was full of song, cheer and entertainment over the weekend as hundreds of people turned out to support Cancer Research UK's 24-hour Relay For Life. Richard Gurner spoke to some of those raising money for the charity.

The sun shone on those taking part in the Relay For Life on Saturday.

Teams ran, walked, skipped and jumped their way around the specially laid out course in Brighton's Stanmer Park - always having at least one person on the course for the 24 hours duration.

The event, which is set to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK, was officially started at 2pm by a group of cancer survivors, led by 43-yearold Sandra Carey-Boggans, completing a lap of honour.

Sandra, from Southwick, was first diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and underwent a mastectomy.

In August 2005 she was told her cancer had spread and she had two months to live.

Through her regular column in The Argus she has detailed her brave fight against the disease. The inspirational mother of two spoke to the assembled crowd before the start of the relay.

She said: "I've been living with terminal cancer for four years and although I must admit it's been pretty traumatic at times in many ways its been a really positive experience for myself and my family.

"We've met some pretty amazing people and we've done some amazing things and it's strange how your whole life can turnaround; it's not been a bad thing at all. Generally we just find people so supportive and kind.

"Statistics tell us that one in three people will get some form of cancer in their lives, which I think is alarmingly high.

"But the positive side to that is statistics also show much higher survival rates now, which is what gives me and people like me hope to hang on to because without hope and all the research where are we?"

Speaking after her lap she told The Argus she had received bad news.

She said: "My oncologist said they really can't do anything more for me now unfortunately so we've stopped all my treatment because I haven't responded to anything.

"I'm just on pain relief and I've been handed over to the palliative care team at St Barnabas Worthing.

"We've known it was coming so it wasn't a major shock."

Despite the news Sandra was determined to attend the event and spread her message of "Keep Smiling", which was emblazoned on the T-shirts of family and friends.

Hove MP Celia Barlow also spoke and congratulated the organisers.

Richard Carter, chairman of Relay For Life in Brighton, himself a survivor of bowel cancer, said: "Today is about enjoying yourself really. It's a fantastic family day. We're looking at people who have had cancer, celebrating people who have survived and we're looking at people who have died of cancer.

"The teams are walking for 24 hours right through the night to show that cancer doesn't sleep.

"This year we've got eight teams, last year we had three so it's getting bigger and bigger every year."

Last year £7,500 was raised and it is hoped this year's event, the second Brighton Relay For Life, will hit the £12,000 mark.

Retired 63-year-old Jo Etheridge, of Hangleton Road, Hove, took part in the relay with a team from Brighton and Hove Running Sisters.

She said: "Most of us in the club have been struck by cancer in some way and that's why we are here. It's been a fabulous day with a great atmosphere and we've been very lucky with the weather."

As part of their fundraising effort, the club was also selling cakes from its tent.

Roger Sisley, 53, a Xerox engineer, was part of a team of runners from the Habakkuk Harriers Christian running club in Woodingdean, Brighton.

He said: "My dad died of cancer when I was 19, I did my first marathon when I was 50 and became a Christian at 51.

"We've probably got about 20 team members running at various times and we are hopefully going to raise as much as possible."

Beverly Butterworth, a facilities manager from Brighton, ran in honour of her father who has been a cancer survivor for the past 15 years.

She said: "We came last year and it rained. It was so awful but this year the weather's with us."

Keeley Howell, a 17-year-old public services student from Brighton and Hove City College, ran with a group of students taught by Mr Carter.

He said: "I've come dressed as a surgeon because we're all doing a public services course and thought it would be fun to dress as different people from those professions and so far it's been a brilliant day."

Fellow student Andrew Donno, 21, dressed as a RAF officer.

He said: "We're trying to raise as much as we can for the course although I've had to take the costume off as it just got too hot."

To remember or celebrate those affected by cancer and to see the relay through the night, families and supporters each lit a Candle Of Hope at dusk in a moving ceremony.

The candles were then used to light the course until yesterday morning when another day of activities took place.

Clowns, magicians, face painting, aerobic and yoga sessions and even a welly throwing contest were all squeezed into the two-day event.

For more information about Relay For Life and how to donate money to Cancer Research UK, visit