It was the decade when the Channel Tunnel opened, double denim was fashionable – and the biggest cancer fundraiser began.
Now TV and pop stars from the 1990s have come together to mark 30 years since the start of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.
They are encouraging people to don their best 90s gear when taking part in one of the of 3K, 5K or 10K races this year.
Since its inaugural event in Battersea Park, south London, 30 years ago today (THU), Race for Life has raised an astonishing £940million towards beating cancer.
TV and pop stars from the 1990s have come together to mark 30 years since the start of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life
Television presenter Anthea Turner, fitness instructor Derrick Evans ‘Mr Motivator’ and actress Leslie Ash at an event to celebrate 30 years of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life
Ms Turner lost her former Blue Peter colleague Caron Keating and another friend to breast cancer within a few weeks of each other that year.
She said: ‘Cancer can impact anyone’s life, and like many other people out there, I have personally felt its effects. Losing two friends to breast cancer within weeks of each other was a real reminder that life is short.
‘So I’m encouraging everyone to dust off their 90s gear and get in the community spirit for a brilliant cause which will be remembered for years to come.’
Holby City actress Ms Ash remembers being one of the 749 people who came together for the first race in 1994, helping to raise a total of £48,000.
Since then, it has exploded in popularity with at 450 events scheduled at over 180 locations across the UK between now and July.
‘It was when I was doing Men Behaving Badly, I was asked to do it,’ she told The Daily Mail, this year’s media sponsor of Race for Life.
Pictured: Cancer survivors Dinny Hinds, Ian Brown, Lin Limbrey, Minnal Ladva, actress Leslie Ash, East 17’s Terry Coldwell, fitness instructor Derrick Evans ‘Mr Motivator’, television presenter Anthea Turner, cancer survivor Chantelle Cox and Rupal Mistry, Research Information Manager at Cancer Research UK
Holby City actress Ms Ash remembers being one of the 749 people who came together for the first race in 1994, helping to raise a total of £48,000. Since then, it has exploded in popularity with at 450 events scheduled at over 180 locations across the UK between now and July
‘I remember taking my youngest son Max, who was about two at the time, because someone was ill. All the girls pitched in and looked after him while I did my run.
‘Anna Walker, the TV presenter, was there was a very fit woman. I was walking around and she actually lapped me twice!
‘It was such a great day. That’s the thing with Race for Life, you can just go and have a great time without taking it too seriously – all while supporting a brilliant cause.’
Now a grandmother, the 63-year-old remembers her mother undergoing treatment for breast cancer in the 1970s. She went on to make a full recovery but the radiotherapy had severe side effects.
She added: ‘In those in those days, the treatment and recovery was completely different. Now there are so many ways they can treat you, it’s come on so much, because of cancer research.
‘We all know that there’s not just one cancer – there are so many different ones that affect young, old and people in the middle.
‘It’s never going to go away completely so it’s very, very, very important that we raise money for continued research.’
When Race for Life started, only a third of people diagnosed with cancer lived for ten years or more compared to half today, largely thanks to leaps in research and treatment.
More than 10 million people have since taken part in the collective race to beat cancer.
But with cancer affecting one in two people and cases set to rise, the need for cutting-edge research into more than 200 types of cancer has never been greater.
The charity is aiming to accelerate progress so that three in four patients survive the disease by 2034.
Derrick Errol Evans, better known as Mr Motivator, became a Race for Life ally after losing a close friend to prostate cancer.
He has reprised his role as a fitness guru and hopes his words will encourage people to get around the course.
He said: ‘I led a warm-up at one of the first Race for Life events in the 90s, so this feels very nostalgic and celebrating this special occasion is an absolute joy! So, come on gang, sign up for the Race for Life… and say yeah! Let’s do this!’