Saturday 11 May saw another successful – and very special – Midnight Walk for the hospice.
The event is now its 13th year and this year – to mark our 30th anniversary – 2000 walkers whole heartedly embraced the theme ‘rewind to the 80s’ with lots of glam make-up, lycra, leg warmers and quite a few fabulous mullet wigs!
A sea of bright pink t-shirts covered the town as thousands of walkers followed the six and ten mile routes from Trinity Park, to the hospice on Foxhall Road – then to the water front for the ten milers – all finishing at Trinity Park, with steady flow of walkers back at Trinity Park from Midnight.
Men, women and children came together on a dry but cold evening to remember their loved ones and support the hospice, which provides vital services free of charge to the Ipswich and east Suffolk community.
Before leaving Trinity Park the crowds were treated to excellent compering from Paul Morris and Aidan Standish from Ipswich 102, and Jeremy Durrant as DJ, an incredible 80s inspired dance routine from Just Jay and warm up from Anytime Fitness. An emotive video showing several photos of the individuals being remembered on the walk played and hospice supporters also heard from Karen Baines, the wife of an army veteran who passed away at the hospice last year from oesophageal cancer.
Karen spoke bravely about the care and support she and her two young children – Josh (14) and Matthew (11) received from the hospice, and that she believes without the hospice support her husband, Ian Baines, would have died sooner. Karen and her friends and family have raised more than £2500 for the hospice so far and completed the walk last night in Ian’s memory as part of their on-going fundraising.
In addition to hearing from Karen, the crowds were also able to hear from two current patients of the hospice who have benefited from the hospice’s services for young adults living with progressive illnesses.
Saturday 11 May was also the start of the hospice’s brand new short breaks for young adults, a landmark service for St Elizabeth Hospice as it becomes the first adult hospice to develop a dedicated short break service for young adults with complex palliative care needs. Josh Margereson and Dom Davies told the crowds how much it meant to them to be able to make friends at the hospice, experience more independence and make the most of life.
Since 1989, when the hospice first opened its doors, the charity has helped to care for more than 30,000 local people and their families, offering its services free of charge. The hospice needs over £10 million a year to run and relies on donations for most of this income. The Midnight Walk is the charity’s biggest annual fundraising event and is set to bring in more than £200,000.
Becky Jedrzejewski, events fundraiser for St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who helped us organise this event, our volunteers, sponsors, suppliers and of course – the 2000 wonderful people who participated in the walk and have been fundraising for us every step of the way! Every year it means so much to us to have so many people committed to this event and we hope all of our walkers had an incredible time. As always, the stop at the memory tree at the hospice was a really special moment for our walkers and really brings home why we do this event each year. For the people we love, and for the thousands of patients every year who will need the support of the hospice.”
We would like to thank BlueBell Mortgages for sponsoring this event and David Button, our Route Sponsor. Blubell Mortgages commented: “We are passionate about supporting a local cause that benefits the people in our community that we work with every day. As a local business based in Ipswich, Suffolk our customers, staff, friends and their families are those people around us that have used the Hospice at very difficult times in their lives and have been helped greatly from their vital services. It’s therefore so important to us that we complete the circle and give back to our community by supporting in this way. We had a fantastic time on the night and loved being part of such a big and vibrant charity event!”.
We will know how much this year’s Midnight Walk raised in a few weeks’ time, when the bulk of the individual fundraising has been collected. If you are collecting sponsorship money for participating in this year’s walk, please get this money in to us as soon as you can!