Football legend Bryan Robson has waved off 3,000 charity volunteers from Old Trafford for a £500,000 marathon fundraising walk.
The England and Manchester United star who himself survived throat cancer helped launch Cancer Research UK's night-time walking marathon from the stadium where he was worshipped as a player.
Robson walked the first mile of the event with devoted Manchester United fans Joanne and Ian Rose, from Salford, together with their son Callum.
The 13-year-old is in a wheelchair following treatment for leukaemia, but bravely set off to walk the first mile with his parents and Robson, who was guest of honour for last night's uplifting event, titled Shine by the charity.
"Attending the Shine event has been an amazing honour," Robson said. "And it was a real privilege to meet Callum Rose and his family. They have faced some tough times over the past few years following Callum's diagnosis, but were incredibly positive."
It is the third year Shine has been held in Manchester and the first time the event has started at Old Trafford football stadium. It is hoped that the 3,000 taking part will raise around half a million pounds to fund the battle against cancer.
Participants can choose to walk either a full or half marathon through the night supporting one of 12 different areas of scientific research, including childhood cancer, breast cancer or lung cancer.
Robson himself was diagnosed with throat cancer last year after experiencing difficulty swallowing. It came as a huge shock to the 55-year-old who was then working as the Thailand national coach. But he was successfully treated for the disease and is now on the mend.
He added: "As a cancer survivor myself, it's humbling to think that so many people have made the commitment to come together and walk through the night to fight the disease."
Another event in the capital, Shine London, will be held on Saturday September 29. To find out more about Shine visit www.shinewalk.org