AN ARMY of pink runners brought a massive splash of colour to Witton Park as they united in the fight against cancer.

Hundreds of survivors, supporters and loved ones proudly raised thousands for Cancer Research UK at the Blackburn Race for Life yesterday.


Dressed in pink T-shirts, wigs and even tutus, the 1,686 young and old fund-raisers helped to spread the charity’s motto ‘Jog on cancer’.

Organisers said the annual event raised a huge £75,000.

Even though the hot weather had disappeared, a buzz of excitement was evident as scores of people queued to get into the park.

Before the race, crowds of pink-clad runners stood in silence for a minute before 60 seconds of celebration to remember loved ones.

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Eight-year-old Charmaine Chitenje of Romany Walk, Blackburn said: “I’m taking part because my mum had cancer but she beat it. We are showing cancer who is boss.”

Amna Hassan, 18, of Sandpiper Close, Blackburn said she was running for her late father who died from kidney cancer.

She said: “This is the first time I’ve been able to take part with exams and things. I want to show my support and run in my father Hassan Akhtar’s name.

“This is such a good cause. Cancer affects so many.”

Anne Ellwood, 55, of Pinewood Drive, Accrington said she was taking part in memory of her mother who died of breast cancer in 2002.

She said: “These events are incredibly important as they bring people together.

“I was involved in organising the first Race for Life event 19 years ago in Blackburn.”

Some took part for fun, while others raced to the finish line to celebrate the memory of loved ones who lost their battles with the disease.

Shelley Wood, 26, of Tunnel Street, Darwen, ran for her mother-in-law, Kathy Jones, who is battling breast cancer.

She said: “It’s all about raising awareness and raising enough money to find a cure.”

Mum and daughters trio, Nicola Parkinson, 39, Libby, 12, and Lucy, 10, travelled from Leyland to take part.

Nicola said: “We are running for my mum Lorraine Hailey. It would of been her birthday but she recently died of stomach cancer.

“We really just wanted to mark her birthday and this seemed perfect. To see so many turn out to unite against cancer is amazing.”

Cancer survivor, 24-year-old Danielle Smith, started the race.

The teacher at Holy Trinity Primary School in Nelson was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year after finding a large tumour in her neck and on her chest.

Danielle, who lives in Blackburn, underwent chemotherapy at The Christie in Manchester.

At the same time she was receiving treatment, her grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She said: “Things are looking really good for me now. I feel I can finally start looking to the future and do all the things I had to put on hold.”

One of the youngest participants was four-year-old Blake Lee from Haslingden. He was running with his mum, Jayne.

He said: “I’m running for my grandma Anne Whittaker. We are raising awareness.”

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The winner of this year’s event was Katie Trickett, 31, from Accrington who crossed the line in a little over 17 minutes.

Running as part of the Springhill Primary School Chicks, she said: “It feels great to win but it feels even better to know I’m doing it for my mum who has been diagnosed with cancer.”

Second to cross the finishing line was Maddie Elliott, 13, from Tintagel Close, Blackburn. She was running in memory of her auntie, hairdresser Sarah Gornall who died of cancer last year.