CANCER survivors will open Cancer Research UK’s 8th Relay For Life in Little Clacton this weekend.

Around 82 men, women and children - wearing special T-shirts bearing the word ‘survivor’ - will step forward at Parish Playing Fields at Plough Corner at midday on Saturday for an emotional lap of honour.

Residents are invited to watch the ceremony before joining in the fun and entertainment at the inspirational community event on Saturday and Sunday.

The survivors’ lap will also include mum of two Natasha Oxley, 33, from Kirby Cross, who was diagnosed with sigmoid colon cancer in March last year.

Natasha , who is mum to Summer, seven, and Arthur, two, underwent a lot of gruelling treatment.

Natasha said “Thankfully I am currently in remission at the moment. It was a real struggle going through this whilst bringing up my two young children on my own.

"I’m taking part in Clacton Relay For Life as I want to say thank you to all the amazing people who fundraise to enable the researchers at Cancer Research UK to develop these life-saving treatments and procedures.

"I want my children to grow up in a world free from cancer and by supporting my local Relay, I will be playing a big part in helping to achieve this.”

As the Relay is non-stop through the night, those team members not on the track can take turns to rest, eat, or sleep in tents set up close by.

This year’s theme is Movies and Music and it is expected that people will dress up as their favourite movie characters or pop stars.

Jane Smith, volunteer chairman of Relay For Life in Clacton, said: "Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life is about being part of a community united in the belief that together we are a stronger than cancer and we can make a stand against the disease.

"It is a unique event with a celebratory atmosphere and everyone who joins in will take away something special.”

The money raised by Relay For Life helps to fund Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work to develop newer, kinder treatments and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Last year the fundraisers raised a fantastic £95,500 and since the relay started in Clacton in 2010, they have raised an incredible £505,000.

The highlight of the event is the Candle of Hope Ceremony, held at dusk, and there will also be live music, fete stalls, a barbecue, beer tent and bouncy castles.

The event is free to enter and gates open from 11am to 11pm on Saturday and 9am to 12noon on Sunday.

There will also be a car boot sale on the Sunday morning which does have a 50p fee for car parking.