Charity supporters are gearing up to put their best foot forward and raise vital funds in the fight against cancer when the Relay for Life returns to South Tyneside this weekend.
The emotionally-charged 22 hour relay is taking place at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July, with all money raised going towards Cancer Research UK.
While registrations have closed to take part in the unique fundraising event, spectators are encouraged to support those involved by cheering them on, visiting the stalls and enjoying the music and entertainment on offer.
The event is free all day for visitors to attend and is supported by members of South Tyneside Council.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "The Relay for Life is such as special event. It not only raises money for a really worthwhile cause, but brings people together to celebrate life and remember those lost to cancer.
"It is always an incredibly poignant occasion combining a message of hope for the future with an amazing day of music, games and entertainment throughout."
During the event, team members take turns to run or walk around the track with one member on the track at any one time over the 22 hour period.
The event, now in its 11th year, begins at 11am on Saturday with the emotional Opening Ceremony and Survivors' Lap of Honour which sees cancer survivors walk the first lap, cheered by supporters, to show the great strides being made in the fight against cancer.
Another highlight of the event is the moving and unforgettable Candle of Hope ceremony which takes place at 10pm. Hundreds of tea light candles are placed around the track lighting the way throughout the night, serving as a message that cancer never sleeps.
The final lap at 9am on Sunday is followed by a closing ceremony. At the end of the relay, everyone comes together for a final lap to celebrate their fundraising achievements and reflect on an incredible experience.
Organisers are aiming to raise at least £75,000 from the event and have already collected £50,000 online.
Ann Walsh, Chairman of the Relay for Life Jarrow Committee, said: "The Relay for Life is so much more than a fundraising initiative. It has a real celebratory atmosphere as we reflect on the strides we have made against cancer while recognising the challenge that still lies ahead.
"It involves so many people, whether they take part, come along and support on the day or contribute in anyway. Everyone who does attend always takes away something special.
"This year we are expecting more than 680 participants across 55 teams. I would urge people to join us and support those taking part, enjoy the event and help us to raise much needed funds to help make cancer a disease of the past."
The Relay for Life has helped to raise more than £500,000 since it started in South Tyneside 11 years ago. Money raised goes to Cancer Research UK to fund world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and learn more about how best to prevent, diagnose and treat different forms of cancer. Trials and research carried out at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research in Newcastle are funded by some of the money collected.
Councillor Dixon added: "Ann works voluntarily and tirelessly alongside the Relay for Life committee to organise this event every year. The committee deserves a great deal of credit for the amount of work they do in helping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK. It would be great if people could come out in force once again to support this really great cause."