Up Front 08/12

In any one month we help promote hundreds of charities and local fundraising events through the pages of this magazine. At one point recently someone did a rough calculation of how many events we had featured over the last ten years and it was a jaw-dropping figure. So we’re only too aware of how much hard work goes into putting on what are largely volunteer-led projects, and even more aware of the impact they have on the local community. From big events such as the Buckham Fair which has raised more than £70,000 for local charities to small fetes that raise money for their churches or village projects, the effort that people put into these events is tremendous—which makes it even more heart-breaking when all that effort is dashed by the weather. However, much has been made of British resilience over the last few months and one event that I attended recently, which thankfully wasn’t affected by the weather, was a real highlight of how people can work together to make a difference. I found myself surrounded by a sea of pink as speakers blasted out warm-up music for those attending Cancer Research’s ‘Race for Life’ at Westpoint in Exeter. Since ‘Race for Life’ began in 1994 over six million participants across the UK have raised more than £457 million to fund the work of researchers, doctors and nurses dedicated to helping people beat cancer. This has led to an overall drop of around 16 per cent in the death rate from all cancers since it began. The atmosphere at Exeter was electric and as emotionally charged as any event I have ever attended. The energy created by this enormous human effort was huge. Afterwards tearful, breathless and elated people hugged each other and promised to be there again next time. And although it’s not really my colour I did spot a nice pink wig on a smiling rocking horse at home this morning, that just might keep the sun off next year.