Community support still strong for relay

MORE than 73 teams are tipped to walk through the night as Bendigo’s Relay For Life gets under way today.

Organisers have spent the past two days transforming the La Trobe University Athletics complex in Flora Hill into a colourful tent city, which will host more than 1000 people during the night-time event.

Bendigo Relay for Life chairman Rob Kean said the Bendigo community had been a strong supporter of Relay For Life, having raised more than $2.6 million for the Cancer Council since 2000. 

“For us to raise anything above $150,000 would be good this year. We have achieved some great amounts in past years, times are tough so anything after that is a bonus," he said.

Mr Kean said the relay was a fabulous way for the community to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against cancer.

“We have new teams, some returning and they do a great effort to fund raise and make the night fun,” he said.

“We are busy putting the finishing touches to the site, it’s colourful and there will be plenty of entertainment for participants and for those who want to watch.”

Mr Kean said 73 teams were confirmed but a few late entries were expected before today’s 5.45pm opening ceremony.

Louise Johnston from Bendigo Retirement Village said while her team the Village People is keen to get walking, they will also be making the most of the community atmosphere to remember loved ones.

“It’s what you make it and we intend to walk, celebrate, remember and fund raise as much as we can throughout the time," Mrs Johnston said.

"Our team has been busy baking and we will cook sausages, and the kids have been making wrist bands to sell, so we will raise funds while feeding the masses and then walking it off.” 

The Village People has a core team of 20 walkers, comprising work colleagues from Bendigo Retirement Village, their family members and friends, plus a support team.

We walk for those people at the village who cannot walk. - Louise Johnston

The residents are among the team’s biggest supporters and some are expected to participate in the relay.

“We walk for those people at the village who cannot walk,” she said.

“And while they cannot walk they do like to come and watch and some in the past have done a lap on a walking frame.”

See Saturday's Advertiser for more relay coverage, including a news review.

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