Midnight Walkers raise £250,000 for Hospice

A ladies-only Midnight Walk raised around £250,000 in just one night for St Elizabeth Hospice.

More than 2,200 women left the start line at Ipswich Town Football Club in Portman Road between 10.30pm and midnight on Saturday May 22nd and completed the eight-mile sponsored walk around the town centre.

St Elizabeth Hospice’s Midnight Walk 2010, supported by the Evening Star, East Anglian Daily Times, Star Advertiser and Town 102, was such a success that it has just been announced the event will also go ahead next year. It will take place in May 2011 so watch this space for the actual date once it is confirmed.

The atmosphere on the night was amazing and the balmy nighttime weather was just right. Many women started by taking part in a warm up with fitness experts The Fitness Unit in the Legends bar. Then the first group of walkers were led out at 10.30pm by breast cancer sufferer Julie Collis, 43, of Ipswich, who just weeks ago had a mastectomy but was determined to take part, and St Elizabeth Hospice’s chief executive Jane Loughlin.

Ms Loughlin said: “I would like to say a huge thankyou to all the women who took part in the Midnight Walk 2010 for St Elizabeth Hospice. “It was a tremendous night. I am aware that despite all the fun and laughter, many of you were walking in memory of a loved-one or because you have a personal connection to the Hospice or know someone who has benefited from our care.

“The event raised over £250,000 – which is more than the £230,000 raised at last year’s Midnight Walk – and will have a real impact on helping us to continue to provide specialist services free of charge for people in East Suffolk who have an illness from which they will not recover. This money will really make a real difference to our patients, their families and carers and on behalf of them I would also like to say thankyou.”

The entertainment en route proved a hit, particularly the muscly bare-chested men from Felixstowe handing out refreshments at St Augustine’s Roundabout. The firemen from the Colchester Road station also got into the spirit of things chatting to the women as they passed and having their photos taken with them. The Town 102 mascots added to the fun factor at the start line.

The first women finished the route in just under two hours while the last ones returned around 3am.

What some of the women said after the walk:
Susan Bridges, of Easton, near Woodbridge, walked with friends and family in memory of her daughter Melissa Bridges, 29, who died in January. Mrs Bridges said: “We really enjoyed it but it was emotional too. Melissa would have been laughing at us!”

Hayley Newport’s best friend and grandfather died recently and her sister in law died just last week. Hayley, of Ipswich, said: “All of them had cancer so I wanted to do the walk even more. The Hospice is an inspiring place and I just want to continue raising money for it as long as I can to keep the services going.”

Tania Stacey, who walked in memory of her grandma Violet Goodall, of Ipswich, said: “It was a great event I was thinking of grandma all the way.”

Visit the Midnight Walk website to view an image gallery from the night, read all the lovely messages being left on our Midnight Walk Facebook group wall and view lots of videos from the night on our youtube channel.

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