THE SKIES above Southend were filled with purple balloons to mark the launch of Southend Relay for Life.

People attached personal messages to a loved one to each of the 2014 balloons.

They were released outside the Victoria shopping centre, in the High Street, on Saturday, while the front of the centre was lit purple, the colour chosen to raise awareness of cancer.

Relay for Life is Cancer Research UK’s overnight family celebration event and will be held at Garon Park, Southend, on July 26.

Cancer survivors walk a “survivors’ lap”, before teams set off on their way.

Claire Marmion, Cancer Research UK’s fundraising manager for South Essex, said: “Southend Relay worked incredibly hard to raise an astonishing £30,000 in 2013 and we are hoping to beat that in 2014.

“They can only do that with the support of the public with new teams signing up.”

Kieran Meikle, event chairman added: “Cancer Research UK has made enormous progress in the fight against cancer and continues to do so. However, it has only been able to do this, thanks to the dedication and commitment of our teams, volunteers and supporters of Southend Relay, without whom we would not be able to help Cancer Research fund the vital research.”

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