A record 14,000 people turned out for the Relay for Life Candle of Hope ceremony at the Curragh on Saturday, August 13, with 8,300 candles, representing loved ones lost to cancer, lighting the night sky.
“It was absolutely marvellous. The atmosphere was electric. It was emotional, it brought a great sense of happiness and contentment for people. I never had as many people coming up to me afterwards saying how much it meant to them, it was truly amazing,” said Peter Whyte of the Relay for Life committee.
Newbridge Gospel Choir added a very poignant touch to the ceremony with their touching performance.
“It was the first time we had a choir at the ceremony and it really enhanced it,” added Peter.
The 24-hour event began at 2pm at the Curragh Racecourse last Saturday 13 and ran until 2pm the following day.
There were 50 teams, who had volunteers walking in relays around the candles in the centre of the course during the entire time. Various stalls lined the course and there was regular entertainment provided on the main stage.
Cancer survivors played an important part in the event and were pampered by the organisers.
“We had 200 survivors on board. They all got a meal and a goodie bag. We had 10 hairdressers there to give them advice on wigs and their hair, do their hair up and their nails. We had relaxation therapy for them, acupuncture. There was lots going on,” said Peter.
He paid special tribute to the scouts and the girl guides who hailed from various parts of Kildare and got involved despite being on their break from their clubs. Peter said they spent eight to ten hours arranging the candle bags with great sensitivity and lighting them. They also removed them from the course with great dignity after the event concluded.