More than 800 ladies took to the streets of Colchester last night in their finest Disco Diva clothes and accessories for St Helena Hospice’s 9th annual Midnight Walk.
The weather stayed dry for the walkers which fuelled the buzzing atmosphere and feeling of solidarity amongst the ladies. Many took part for fun and to raise money for charity while others walked in memory of a loved one or because the hospice has supported them personally, like Lynn Love 59, from Colchester, who was pushed in a wheelchair around the 7.5 mile route by her family, friends and work colleagues from The Gilberd School.
Lynn, who has an aggressive and incurable brain tumour, stepped over the finish line with a little help from St Helena Hospice Occupational Therapists Anne Pettican and Laura Murton.
Rebecca Litton, one of Lynn’s colleagues from The Gilberd School who was one of the team with Lynn all the way around the walk, said: “We all feel invigorated and I feel really pleased I’ve done it. I’m really proud of Lynn. Watching her take a step over the finish line was the best moment. That is brilliant and I’m so proud of her.”
Also joining the walkers was Julie Lyon who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for advanced breast cancer and secondaries in her spine and ribs. Julie was supported around the 3 mile route by her friends and as she crossed the finish line she said: “I’m feeling really fantastic, especially walking with my friends and raising lots of money for the hospice. I’m so glad I did it, it was brilliant!”
Earlier in the night the Midnight Walk ladies were treated to an energetic warm up from Move 2 Lose and enjoyed a fire juggling display from the University of Essex’s Juggling and Magic Society, all of whom donated their time free.
The new Mayor of Colchester Gerard Oxford got the walk underway at 10.30pm with a countdown. Around 120 women chose to walk the three mile route, while the rest opted for the traditional 7.5 miles, both starting and ending at Colchester United’s Community Stadium.
Hundreds of ladies who were walking in memory of a loved one took the opportunity to have a quiet moment along the route to hang their personal messages on a special tree stationed at Colchester Rugby Club.
The last 7.5 mile walkers arrived tired but elated around 2.30am on Sunday. The hospice is hoping that this year’s event will beat last year’s Midnight Walk fundraising total of £76,000 and urges participants to send in their sponsorship money soon.
Wendy Marcon, Events and Challenges Manager at St Helena Hospice, said: “Our huge thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s Midnight Walk and made it a really special night. We hope to see you again next year for our 10th anniversary walk!
“A special thank you to our 76 wonderful volunteers for giving up their time to help make the event a success; we couldn’t have done it without them. We’re also extremely grateful to all of the local companies who have helped make the event possible by donating their goods, prizes or services: Anglia Crown, Capel Plant Caplespace, Colchester United, Crystal Clear Coolers, David Lloyd Clubs, Essex University Juggling, Feathers hair salon, Jeremy Durrant, Just Jules Move 2 Lose, M&S, Prested Hall, Society Simple’s Eat Natural Bars, Torrent Trackside, Total Carparks.”
Walkers can pay their sponsorship in online or pay over the phone by credit or debit card on 01206 931468. Alternatively they can post a cheque or take their sponsorship money in person Monday to Friday 9am-5pm to St Helena Hospice Fundraising Office, 1 – 4 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Colchester CO4 9AS.