THE organisers of this year's Wirral Race For Life have issued a rallying cry urging more men to sign up.

Taking place in Birkenhead Park, Pretty Muddy June 29 and Race for Life on June 30 raise much-needed funds for cancer research.

This year, for the first time, Cancer Research UK is inviting everyone – women, men and children – to take part in both events.

During a campaign launch in Birkenhead Park on Tuesday night a group of men, led by Wirral's very own 'running man' John Hammond took part in a short run to show their support for this year's fundraiser.

Caitlin Holme, Cancer Research UK's Wirral event manager, told the Globe: "We're absolutely delighted this year, because it's all-inclusive and everyone's included.

"We're particularly proud because this community has such a strong network of men supporting this event.

"There are over 200 types of cancer and it affects everybody, so it's great that we can all come together for one sole purpose, to help beat cancer."

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed at some stage in their lives. The good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before.

John Hammond - whose marathon challenges have raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years - told the Globe: "It's something which means a lot to me.

"So if we can get a group of men together to run and raise awareness of cancer, then it's our job done.

"Unfortunately, if people are going to get cancer they are going to get it.

"So it's our job, and running friends job, to raise awareness and money to try to help people out.

"The running community is unbelievable. Once you come up with an idea, everyone backs you 100%.

"I've been down here to support Race For Life, am a big believer in it.

"It's a great thing."

Also helping launch the appeal last night was Debbie Layfield, who inspirational battle with cancer is being used to encouraging people to take part in this year's Wirral Race For Life.

Debbie's story is told on a giant wall at the Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre – like the signs worn by participants on their backs and a key element of both the events and this year's campaign.

The wall is designed to mirror the hugely emotional reflection area set up on event day, where participants come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer, celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived or support those going through treatment.

Debbie, charity champion at Tesco in Bidston, also features in a social media campaign with posts on the Cancer Research UK’s North West Events Twitter account (@CRUKEventsNW).

Debbie told the Globe: "This is my 10th year of being cancer-free.

"Men can also sign up this year, which is also special to me, because I lost my brother at the age of 18 to cancer. I lost my dad, grandad and two of my closest friends at such a young age."

"Cancer affects everybody, so it's really important that we get everybody involved year.

"Race For Life is a day when families come together and because men can now join in, there will be a lot of families here on that day."

To join Race for Life today visit or call 0300 123 0770.