The St Catherine’s Hospice ‘Midnight Walk’ in Horsham is always a popular event and this year, despite the weather, was no different.
The 900 ladies, who braved the elements on Saturday night to walk 13.2 miles, have pledged £125,000 for the hospice’s work.
Starting and finishing in a very muddy Horsham Park, the event is now in its fifth year.
Former British gymnast and celebrity personal trainer Jackie Wren put the ladies through a warm-up session in Horsham Park before she joined them in setting off for the half marathon walk around the town.
Jackie’s family has personal experience of St Catherine’s as the hospice looked after three of her aunts who had terminal cancer.
She said: “St Catherine’s were there for us at a time when we didn’t know where to turn.
“The hospice made the last few months of my loved ones’ lives a joy for them and us, they told us what to expect, what the stages were and gave us all the care and support that we could ever have wished for.
“And it wasn’t just the medical help, it was help with things like benefits. It was never a sad place to go and we were always made to feel welcome.
“Being involved with the Midnight Walk was the ideal opportunity for me to give something back and use my expertise to help others raise funds that are so vitally needed.
“A lot of people don’t realise that the majority of the hospice’s funding is through charitable donations and not the NHS or government.”
Louise Carter and her sister Becky Bird were also taking part in their fifth Midnight Walk on Saturday night.
Louise said: “Our mum worked at St Catherine’s Hospice for about ten years and was in charge of day care when she retired. This was why I originally signed up for the walk.
“We did not know at that point that our Dad would be diagnosed with terminal cancer and would need care from the hospice before the first walk took place.
“After that, we have signed up for all of the walks and got other friends involved.
“You don’t have to be the fittest person to take part, but just be willing to show that you care.”
The walkers had to negotiate the results of the British weather in Horsham Park where footpaths were flooded from the subsequent days’ rain.
They were forced to walk over the muddy grass for the start and end of the walk.
The route took them in a figure of eight out of the park down North Parade to Hills Farm Lane to Bishopric, East Street, Brighton Road, Comptons Lane, Harwood Drive and back to the park.
After leaving the park for the second time, they walked north up North Parade, Pondtail Road, Giblets Way, Leamington Way, Rusper Road, Lambs Farm Road, Crawley Road and Kings Road.
The money raised will go towards the great work St Catherine’s does in providing care and support for patients and their loved ones across the area.
The Midnight Walk is just one of a number of fundraising events that St Catherine’s organises throughout the year.
For more information about the charity and to find out how to take part in any of the events go to the hospice’s website www.stch.org.uk or call 01293 447364.
People can keeping up to date with all the new by joining join the hospice Facebook page www.facebook.com/stcatherineshospicecrawley