NETBALL players will run to beat cancer alongside thousands of challengers at the Race for Life in Lydiard Park on Saturday.

No fewer than 32 members of the Croft Netball Club will cover the 5km route to collect funds for vital medical research and in a show of support for two of its members whose lives were changed irrevocably by cancer.

While Margaret McKinnon, 62, was given the all-clear after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, Becky Watson’s father Paul is still battling skin cancer and is currently undergoing a course of radiotherapy.

The 55-year-old’s condition prompted Becky to enlist as many of the players as possible to join her in the Race for Life.

“In April last year my dad was diagnosed with skin cancer,” said the 20-year-old teaching assistant at Westlea Primary School.

“He is still going through treatment and has been on trial drugs in Oxford. And he has had radiotherapy for the last two weeks. But we don’t know what the next step is.

“The next few months will be important because he is going to go to Oxford to do scans.

“My dad was ill with pneumonia, pleurisy and he had a blood clot and that’s when we started asking questions. The doctors found an unusual spot on the kidney and the lung. Then it turned out to be melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

“We are not sure why he got it. He had a mole removed about 10 or 15 years ago but that’s it. Now we have factor 50 sun screen at home all the time.”

So far £1,300 has been raised by the club.

It will be the second time Croft Netball Club has taken part in the Race for Life and the players are hoping to make it an annual fundraising event.

“I’m very passionate about raising money for Cancer Research,” added Becky, of West Swindon, who is particularly keen to bring the spotlight on skin cancer. “With what happened in the last year it really hit home.

“There are so many types of cancer but I don’t think skin cancer is as recognised. You didn’t hear about it until recently. And I think every type deserves to be recognised.

“Cancer is part of our lives and making people aware of it is important.”

She added: “I did the Race for Life last year and it was quite emotional and I think this year having my dad, all my grandparents and uncles there will definitely spur me on. It will also be great fun.”