On the weekend of the 16th and 17th of July, I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of photographing the Ascot Relay for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK with my good friend Neil Graham.
Neil and I were approached by the event organiser, Rose Dalton, earlier in the year. When we met Rose she told us all about the relay, the money that's raised and some of the stories of the survivors. It was clear that Rose has a passion for charity with a steadfast attitude that cancer will be beaten! There was no way we could say no to an event like this after Rose pulls on your heartstrings and inspires you with such enthusiasm! Neil and I were both only too happy to offer our time and services for the weekend to make sure that this event had the coverage it clearly deserves.
"Cancer never sleeps", Rose explained, which is why this relay takes place for a full 24 hours, with at least one member of each relay team having to walk a circuit around The Royal Ascot Racecourse for the full 24 hours. You would think then that by the time the sun comes up on the second day of the event, with the team's having walked non-stop through the cold night, that those taking part would be tired and grumpy! But such is the amazing spirit and togetherness of this event that people were smiling the entire time. The sense of togetherness at the Ascot Relay for Life was evident the entire weekend. Everyone was working together to fight cancer. It was a very humbling experience and only serves to put a great many things in life into perspective.
With 2016 being the 9th year this Relay has taken place, Rose - along with her husband Dave - have worked tirelessly to organise this event each year. Their efforts have seen them grow this event over that time, attracting a huge number of relay teams that have to date now raised well in excess of £750,000!
Rose and Dave's efforts are absolutely fantastic. They selflessly give their time and energy to this amazing cause. So much so that their efforts were recently deservedly rewarded with The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service; an award equivalent to an MBE for a charity. Congratulations to Rose and David!
With this years' theme being colours of the rainbow it was sure to be a bright and colourful event. I'm pleased to share with you the photographs I made for the 2016 Relay for Life:
[Note: Click / Tap the images to view at a larger size. To download these images please visit this gallery]