MORE than 1,000 people united against cancer on Sunday by taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Leigh.

Men, women and children showed their commitment to the cause as they took their place at the starting line at Pennington Flash Country Park in Leigh.

Six-year-old Ellie Rieveley, from Astley, who finished chemotherapy last December after being diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of four, rang the bell from the gantry to start off the race.

She then took part in the run with her mum Leanne, dad Ben and brother Stanley, eight, and her friends.

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Ellie Rieveley with her dad Ben

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Ellie's message for her friend Marie who was on the same hospital ward as her and is doing well after a bone marrow transplant

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Ellie with her friends with her friends Lucy and Olivia

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Ellie with her family and friends

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Ellie with her friends

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Ellie on the gantry at Pennington Flash Country Park

Leanne said: "We got up on stage before the race where we were asked about Ellie's and the symptoms she had.

"It allowed us to give a positive message that we are on the other side and we are helping charities that can help other people to ring the bell.

"It was a really enjoyable and nice to look at the messages on the back of runners' shirts which explained why they were doing it.

"People who recognised me on the way round also stopped to chat with me as well."

Now organisers of the 5,000m event are sending a heart-felt message of thanks to everyone who took part and all their supporters.

And they’re asking them to make every step count by paying in their sponsorship money as soon as possible so that it can be used to fund life-saving research.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5,000, 10,000, Pretty Muddy, Half Marathon and Hiking events which raises millions of pounds every year to find new ways to tackle cancer.

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Picture: David Leather Photography

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Jutta Payton and her daughter Hannah

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Petra Jordan and her peace bear Malcolm

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Picture: Tim Wood

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Leanne Heppolette with her eight-year-old daughter Grace, who was running in memory of her nana Carole and grandad Tom

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Gary Heaton, centre, from the Lowton Slimming World group, is the organisation's man of the year after raising more than £300

Kirsti Thompson, Cancer Research UK’s Leigh Events Manager, said: “Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to the people of Leigh and beyond who join the fight at Race for Life.

“By taking part and raising money, our participants play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into new, better treatments for patients in Greater Manchester and across the UK and we’d like to thank everyone who took part in the event on Sunday.

“The atmosphere on the day was hugely moving - full of emotion, courage, tears and laughter - as people came together to remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived.

"Race for Life offers a unique opportunity for like-minded people to unite against a disease that affects us all in some way.

“Now we’re asking everyone who took part, and all the friends, family and colleagues who pledged to sponsor them, to return the money they’ve raised as soon as possible.

"Money raised - whether it’s £10 or £100 - will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives.”

Sponsorship money can be paid online, by phone, by cheque or in person at a Cancer Research UK shop.

For information on returning sponsorship money, or to make a donation visit