PICTURES: St Catherine's Midnight Walk

The St Catherine’s Hospice midnight walk hit the streets of Horsham on Saturday night.

More than 1,000 men, women and children made their steps count on June 9 by walking seven, 13 or 20 miles to raise money for local people facing death and bereavement.

Walkers set off on their challenge

Walkers set off on their challenge

Sponsored by Gatwick airport, the event gave people chance to walk in support of the hospice or in memory of a loved one.

Their efforts are set to raise an incredible £157,000.

The night began at Broadbridge Heath leisure centre with a lively warm up by clubbercise guru, Jo Cooper, and a performance by Horsham Rock Choir.

A free photo booth also proved popular.

Following the warm up there were heartfelt speeches from Lesley Hall, environment health and safety director at Gatwick airport, and Giles Tomsett, St Catherine’s chief executive, who highlighted the importance of each walker’s efforts in helping St Catherine’s be there for everyone when life comes full circle.

Lesley said: “The work of St Catherine’s Hospice has touched many hearts at Gatwick airport.

“I was delighted to be asked to represent Gatwick this evening as my family saw first-hand the positive impact the St Catherine’s team had when two years ago they supported us in looking after my mother-in-law, at home, with dignity, respect and love in the last week of her life.”

With the sun setting, walkers set off in a sea of orange and neon.

As they walked past St John’s Church in Broadbridge Heath, many of them took the chance to light a candle in memory of a loved one.

Among the walkers were a team of nurses from St Catherine’s who walked 20 miles. Susie Mockridge deputy ward manager at St Catherine’s said: “Every day I see the difference local people raising money makes to terminally ill people at the hardest time. I wanted to do my part to raise money too.

“It was really moving to see so many people walking in support of our hospice on Saturday and I hope they enjoyed the night as much as I did! For me, the midnight walk summed up our community at its very best. Volunteers giving up their time to cheer us on, and walkers coming together to have fun whilst raising money to support others.

“It was a fantastic evening!”

Walkers crossed the finishing line to cheers from hospice staff and volunteers.

They enjoyed breakfast while wearing a medal to mark their incredible feat.

Louise Brown, events fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said: “To see over 1,000 people walking to support the hospice was incredible.

“We’re so grateful to them and their efforts in raising money will help us care for more local people in the future. I’d like to thank Gatwick airport and all our volunteers for their support. The night was unforgettable!”

To find out about future challenges visit www.stch.org.uk