THOUSANDS of people enjoyed the glorious weather as they took part in the 11th annual Relay For Life Rossendale to raise vital funds for cancer research.

Held at a sun-soaked Marl Pits Leisure Centre in Rawtenstall, the event saw participants walk or run around the athletics track from 11am on Saturday until 11am yesterday.

Some 566 walkers took part in 37 teams, all braving the warm conditions as they bid to raise £37,500 for cancer charity.

Organisers said ‘thousands of spectators’ came to watch the event, which included the lighting of a symbolic candle of hope in the battle against cancer, a celebration of the many years of fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

Kicking off on Saturday at 11am, the event saw 57 cancer survivors walk the first lap of the track, before teams of eight to up to 40 people started the relay, of whom at least one was on the track at any given time.

The weekend also featured a number of activities for children, including bouncy castles and a children’s craft stall.

There was also a range of music from local bands and singers including Francesca Di Michelle, ‘Spencer’ and rock and pop covers band ‘A Few Good Men’.

Drama also came from ‘The Cotton Shed Theatre’ group.

Event chairman Jacqui Kemp said: “The event has had a brilliant turnout and atmosphere with crowds of thousands of people enjoying the nice weather.

“It’s only the third year out of 11 where it hasn’t rained.

“The conditions were very warm but we made sure the participants had plenty of water.

“The event is a celebration of 12 months of fundraising and it aims to celebrate cancer survivors and raise awareness and money.

“I think we’re on track to raise our target of more than £37,500, which is what we raised last year.”

“It’s been a real success.”