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Derry's biggest charity event to be staged online next month after it had to be cancelled because of the pandemic

Legenderry Relay for Life has raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK

Derry's biggest charity event to be staged online next month after it had to be cancelled because of the pandemic

The Relay for Life event in Derry has been a huge success.

Derry's biggest charity fundraiser is set to become a virtual event after the coronavirus pandemic forced organisers to cancel.

Now in its fourth year, the Legenderry Relay for Life has raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK and attracted teams from across the North West.

The 24-hour event takes place in St Columb's Park and includes live music and themed laps.

Fundraising for this year's event was already well underway with a Ladies Lunch and World Cancer Day collection when the coronavirus broke out.

"At first we thought we would wait and see what happened and there was talk of postponing the event to September but as time wore on it became obvious that probably wouldn't be possible so it was then that we decided to run a Virtual Relay For Life," explained co-chair Sean Hickey.

"With some of survivors and families being vulnerable we didn't want to take any chances with their health.

"It is the first time we have done it this way and hopefully it will be the last."

The Virtual Relay for Life is still taking shape but organisers hope to stream it on Facebook using a mixture of live feed and prerecorded pieces.

"We are calling the event 'Hope From Home' because hope is always such an important part of it," continued Mr Hickey.

"We are hoping to have as many teams involved as we can and we are asking people to go for a walk or a run, with social distancing of course, and to record their time and distance with the aim that we will make a total of 24 hours of activity across all the teams.

"We are planning snippets of music and themed laps which will be scattered throughout the event."

The relay's Candle of Hope ceremony which is held in memory of those who have lost their lives to cancer had become a highlight of the event for many participants will also be part of the virtual event.

"We wanted to be sure to include The Candle of Hope ceremony because it's so important," said Mr Hickey.

"People will be able to share pictures of their loved ones.

"The virtual event will be something to look forward and myself and my co-chair Laura Moore hope to make it as close to the real thing as possible."

The Virtual Relay for Life Hope From Home will be launched on Facebook at 1pm on Saturday June 20 and continue until 1pm on Sunday June 21.

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