Saturday, 23 June 2012

Despite heavy rain, around 1,400 walkers turned out in force on Saturday night to back the Peace Hospice’s Starlight Walk.

Despite heavy rain, around 1,400 walkers turned out in force on Saturday night to back the Peace Hospice’s Starlight Walk. Walkers turned out determined to have fun and many were dressed for the occasion. If there was an award for the most amounts of pink fabric, glitter and laughter in one place, Starlight Walk 2012 would probably win that honour too!

The event which began at the Colosseum in Watford looks set to raise around £130,000 for the Peace Hospice and is likely to take the overall amount of money raised through the Starlight Walk to over £1 million.

Ahead of the new 10pm start time, Heart FM’s Daniel Fox sparked off the party atmosphere, Sylvia J and the Funky Rhythms team added their Zumba steps to the spectacle and our colleagues from Everyone Active conducted the essential warm up.

Walkers also enjoyed a big build up from Peace Hospice Patron, actor and musician Martin Kemp, before the Starlight Walkers poured through the Colosseum doors and into the night.

Martin is an avid supporter of the Peace Hospice and his presence at the Starlight Walk was a highlight for many excited walkers. He explained ‘My wife Shirlie and I both lost all of our parents within a few years, so I can imagine how much it means to people to have the support of the Hospice at the worst time in their lives. The Peace Hospice plays a really important part in our community and it's events like the Starlight Walk which make all the difference to its funding.'

Hospice Director of Fundraising and Communications, Paul Gauntlett said ‘I am in awe of the determination shown by our Walkers to continue to support their local charity in its work. We simply couldn’t continue to provide our services, for free, without them and their passion for the Peace Hospice. I’d personally like to thank everyone who has given their time, energy and money, making this the most successful Starlight Walk so far.’

Walkers had a choice this year of tackling a 6 or thirteen mile route with the walk kicking off at the earlier time of 10pm, but many of the event’s favourite elements have remained the same. Friendly Marshals, frequent snacks and fun are all consistent ingredients in making the Starlight Walk a magical experience to be part of.

The ‘Mums for Miles’ team agreed saying ‘This year we said to ourselves let's just do it. We expected the rain but knew there would be fun, firefighters and a fabulous atmosphere too.'

As the early hours of the morning approached, Starlight Walkers began returning to the Colosseum after their final candlelit steps through the serenity of Cassiobury Park. Euphoria and sadness were present in equal measure. The satisfaction of a personal goal being achieved, perhaps mingled with thoughts of loved ones.

Starlight Walker Sara Crean Muir, shared her experience saying ‘I'm delighted to be here tonight. It just feels the right thing to do to keep my brother's memory alive and support one of the greatest local charities. The Hospice was a constant strength for me and helped kick start me on the road to recovery from my grief.'
Peace Hospice Chief Executive Sue Plummer summed up the night saying ‘It has been truly magical.’ She added ‘We hope to raise £130,000 from this year’s Starlight Walk, 80 pence in every pound of which, will go directly to providing free care to local people with a life limiting or terminal illness. My thanks to every one of you for your continued support.’