CANCER survivors and their supporters braved the blistering heat to take part in a 24-hour relay raising thousands of pounds for good causes.

The sixth annual Relay for Life was hailed as the ‘biggest and best’ yet by organisers at the start of the event on Saturday afternoon.

While the mercury topped 34 C about 200 people were out in force raising money to fight cancer from midday to midday Sunday.

From its humble beginnings six years ago the fundraiser - which raises money for Cancer Research UK - typically raises tens of thousands of pounds, last year topping £31,500.

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This year, organiser Jacquii John said that she expects to smash that target.

She said: “We have teams that fundraise throughout the year and we all come together this weekend as a celebration.

“The weekend is about honouring our survivors.

“It has really grown, the first year was tiny and we had one team and maybe 30 people.

“This year we have got 200 people, the most we have had, and 16 teams.

“Last year we raised £31,500 so we are hoping to top that this year. So far [since the beginning] we have raised £127,000.”

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She also praised the community with local businesses and groups providing much of the entertainment and essentials needed for the 24-hour event.

Among the families, friends and cancer sufferers and survivors taking part was eight-year-old Evie-Mae Crawford, who was recently re-diagnosed with leukaemia.

She opened the event which was held at Oxford Harlequins Rugby Club’s new home at Horspath Sports Ground at 11.30am.

Speaking of those taking part Jacquii said the event was particularly poignant this year.

She said: “It is an emotional event. More so this year as we have had three committee members that have been affected by cancer this year.

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“And Evie-Mae Crawford, whose cancer has returned.”

Throughout the day participants of the relay - who are grouped into teams - walked the circular course at the Horspath ground.

As they took part music was played by Shrewsbury-based entertainer Chris Warrander who volunteered his time to keep the walker’s spirits up.

There was also ‘themed laps’ with relay walkers dressing up in various costumes.

New for the event this year was a cycling challenge in which people could use a static bike continuously to go alongside those who were taking part in the 24-hour walk.

The event is expected to return again next year.

Donations are still being taken and to give money to the Oxford Relay visit