Celebrities and cancer survivors were in Chester today (Monday, September 25) beginning a 120 mile canoe around North West waterways to raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer.
TV’s Judge Rinder, television presenter Anthea Turner, actress and presenter Natalie Anderson and TV and radio presenter Jake Humphrey set sail along the Shropshire Union Canal at 7.30am after meeting at the Lock Keeper at Canalside in Chester.
The celebrities joined paddlers who have themselves experienced cancer, including Merseyside testicular cancer survivor David Sing, 30, from Bootle and Newark cervical cancer survivor Carla Bradbury, 46.
The challenge is in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, which aims to speed up the translation of incredible scientific discoveries into innovative cancer medicine, tests and treatment.
The 120-mile route will take in the waterways of Chester and Manchester before culminating at Liverpool’s Albert Dock on Friday, September 29.
Other celebrities taking the oars in the challenge later in the week include Hollyoaks actors Anna Passey – who plays Sienna Blake – and Rory Douglas Speed who plays Joel Dexter as well as actor Tyger Drew-Honey, TV personality Michelle Heaton and Gogglebox star Nikki Tapper.
As the countdown starts to the challenge, men and women across the Chester area can show their support by donating online at www.standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe
David Sing said: “I was a little bit nervous this morning but I’m feeling better now. There’s about 12 locks this morning.
“It’s coming up to my fifth year cancer free this year and this should help raise lots of awareness. I want to show we can beat cancer by working all together as a team.”
TV presenter Anthea Turner said: “I’m delighted to be supporting this brilliant challenge for Stand Up To Cancer. Meeting all the paddlers who’ve experienced cancer first-hand is going to be really inspirational and I’m so happy to be joining David in his canoe. He is undertaking a heroic challenge and I’m excited to be a part of it and help raise funds for cutting-edge research.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate and too many lives are cut short by this devastating disease. I’m calling on men and women in my home city of Stoke-on-Trent, and all across the UK, to get behind us and join the rebellion. We need to act now and help fund the game-changing research that will save lives.
“Our team is Team Sock because when David and I did a little practice we realised the big downside of this is you get wet feet so we both have a bag full of dry socks because we bonded over not liking wet feet!”
Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North West Alison Barbuti said: “We are delighted that so many celebs are picking up her paddle and supporting such an epic challenge for Stand Up To Cancer.
“The Great Canoe Challenge aims to inspire people across the North West to join the rebellion against cancer and raise funds for life-saving research. Our team of heroic paddlers and army of celebrity supporters are set to power their canoes towards the finish line.
“We’re calling on people to show their support and help fund game-changing research. Money raised will fund cutting-edge research that accelerates new cancer treatments and tests to UK patients to ultimately save more lives. One in two of us in the UK will develop cancer in our lifetime, so now is the time to act.”
Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £38million to fund over 40 clinical trials and research projects.
These include the development of the ‘chemo package’ to deliver treatment at the best time for the patient; testing arsenic as a weapon to make cancer implode and using viruses to seek and destroy cancer cells.
Alison added: “Around 41,700 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West every year*. Every day, scientists and researchers work tirelessly to beat the disease, and with the support of the people of in Chester, we can continue to fund ground-breaking research to help save more lives, more quickly.
“There are so many ways to get involved so we’re calling on people across Chester to stand up, raise cash and take cancer out.”
Stand Up To Cancer is supported by a host of celebrities from TV, film and radio including Davina McCall, Alan Carr, Bill Bailey, Edith Bowman and Kirstie Allsopp.
This autumn Channel 4 will once again bring the brightest stars from show business together in a dedicated season of Stand Up To Cancer programming.
To support Anthea, Judge Rinder, Michelle and their fellow paddlers on the Great Canoe Challenge and donate £5 or £10, text CANOE5 or CANOE10 to 70404** or donate online at www.standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe