THEY ditched their leather jackets and parkers and chose tutus in the fight against cancer.

A group of Southampton scooter enthusiasts have grown stronger and are encouraging the people of Hampshire to follow their example and help raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer.

Angie Ayres and her Mod friends – locally nicknamed the Southampton Meerkats, know all too well the devastation cancer can cause.

Two years ago, Vespa‘s rider Angie, 54, learned she had breast cancer.

At the time, she had just lost her beloved father George to the same illness and had returned from Cardiff to Southampton to care for her mother.

Angie underwent two cycles of surgery, the first to remove a lump, and then a second operation after surgeons found more cancer cells and removed her lymph nodes.

Angie said: “From the day I was diagnosed until theater it was all so fast, I didn’t have time to process it – I just got down to it.

“My first thought was ‘what’s the plan of action?’

“Some people go to the depths of despair but because of my father I got angry. I decided that cancer was not going to catch me.

Angie, who now works for Mencap in Portswood, says she was supported by her partner Phil, 52, whom she met at a scooter rally when she returned to Southampton.

In May 2015, Angie started chemotherapy and seven months later had her last radiation therapy session on Christmas Eve.

She said, “My whole life has changed because of cancer. That’s why my friends and I are showing our support for Stand Up To Cancer and don the crazy orange wigs and tutus.

“It’s a fun and easy way to get involved and help raise funds to save more lives. ”

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 fundraising campaign aimed at delivering pioneering new tests and treatments to cancer patients faster.

Jenny Makin, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Hampshire, said: “We would like to thank Angie and the Southampton Meerkats for their colorful support and getting into the spirit of Stand Up To Cancer.

“We are asking men, women and children across the county to wear orange, pay and eliminate cancer.

“By supporting, they will help raise funds and transform the lives of cancer patients and their families. ”

Since launching in the UK five years ago, Stand Up To Cancer has raised over £ 38million for more than 40 clinical trials and research projects.

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