Children donned their running shoes to raise funds in memory of a former pupil.

Around 340 pupils at Gwenfro School in Caia Park took part in a Race For Life event in aid of Cancer Research yesterday.

The event – where youngsters run five kilometres, many bearing the names of loved ones who have been battled cancer on their backs – is held every year in memory of Coed Aben resident Nicole Powell, who died of cancer in 2014 aged 19.

Her mum Tammy Forward, who cut the ribbon at the start of the run with daughter 11-year-old Keira, said: “I actually think this is the biggest turn out. It’s lovely that everybody still remembers her now and it’s just over three years since she died.

“Some of the children that don’t even know Nicole have got her name on their backs on pieces of paper. It’s lovely – they don’t just think of their own families, they think of Nicole.

“They all know her, of if they don’t know her they know someone who did.”

A minute’s applause was held before the run in memory of Nicole and also for those who are fighting cancer or who have beaten the condition.  

Of the event, Mrs Forward said: “It’s nice but it sad as well. It reminds you that she’s not here – not that you forget.

”But it (the event) is nice.”

Hundreds of people attended the funeral at St Giles Church of Nicole, who died in her mother’s arms just 23 days after she was diagnosed.

“She was very defiant and always did what she wanted to do.

“She was lovely – she would do anything for anybody, she would stick up for everybody and would do anything for her family.”

Most of the children – among whom were Nicole’s cousins Ethan and Alfie Roberts,  ran 28 laps of the school field to cover the five kilometre Race for Life distance, while early years pupils ran as far as they could.  

The youngsters each gave a minimum donation of £1.50 to the charity.

Teacher Debbie Hughes, who organised the event, told how the run came about after she saw that Cancer Research had started Race for Life events for schools.  

She said: “It’s a great event and it’s nice for the family. I know Nicole’s family look forward to the event taking place annually because it keeps her memory alive – she was quite a bubbly character in the community.

“It’s nice for the children to learn at this age that this is what we have to do if we want to find a cure.”