2,500 people pounded the pavements of Ipswich on Saturday night to raise vital funds for a local charity.
Despite the wet weather, people turned out in their ‘neon and sparkle’ themed outfits to support St Elizabeth Hospice and take part in its flagship event the Midnight Walk, which celebrated its twelfth year with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Those walking were helping to raise money so the hospice can continue to offer care and support to local people living with a progressive and terminal illness.
In the build up to the walk, emotions ran high as Fiona Ginn took to the stage. As a member of the charity’s fundraising staff, she always had an idea of the work that went on at the hospice and in the community but last year, experiences its services first hand when her husband Mike died.
She addressed the gathered crowd before they embarked on their walk and said: “The hospice supported us every step of the way. They arranged for me to have complementary therapies to help me get through the dark days. They helped Mike with all of his paperwork and they were there to give him emotional support when he needed it.
“The nursing team at the hospice was wonderful. It was the first time I had seen the hospice from a patient’s viewpoint. Nothing was too much trouble. I was allowed to stay with Mike in his room all day and all night. We were allowed our privacy as a family but the team was always there to make sure Mike was comfortable and cared for.
“I’m so grateful to have been able to have that quality time with Mike before he died. Quality time that we would never have had without the hospice.”
In the run up to the walk, those who were taking part in memory of someone were asked to share their photos with the hospice and these were all put together and shown as a moving video featuring photos and video showcasing the work of the hospice in the local area.
As the walk began, walkers had been reenergised with an upbeat performance from Just Jay Dance and an energetic warm up from the Townsend Twins. Those walking the ten mile route then headed off towards the waterfront whereas those walking the six mile route made their way to the hospice where a memory tree was waiting for people to add their tags with messages to remember and celebrate loved ones.
The first walkers crossed the finish line around midnight to cheering crowds of volunteers who presented them with medals and a hot drink as their reward.
Becky Jedrzejewski, events and challenges fundraiser at St Elizabeth Hospice said: “This event has been a whole year in the planning and it’s great to see that everyone has had such a wonderful time raising money for the hospice. It takes a lot of work to put the event on and I’d like to say a huge thank you to our 200 volunteers who have helped to marshal the route, man the refreshment stands, help with registration, award medals and much, much more. The Midnight Walk simply wouldn’t happen without their support.
“All the services we offer at the hospice are free of charge to our patients and their families but that means we need to generate £10.5million a year to be able to do this. Thanks to everyone that turned out tonight, we’ll be able to continue to deliver these services to more local people that need our support.”
For further details about other events you can take part in to help raise money for the hospice, click here.