Around 800 men, women and children shimmied their way around Colchester on Saturday night (11th May) to raise funds for their local hospice.
St Helena’s Midnight Walk returned for its 11th year, this time with a Hawaiian theme which saw people donning their best tropical fancy dress including grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, flower garlands, snazzy sunglasses and with some dressing as pineapples, pizza slices and a parrot!
Participants walked either 4.5 or 9 miles around the town starting and finishing at Stanfords, Colchester. The routes included a refreshment stop at The Range and a Memory Stop at Colchester Rugby Club, where those walking in-memory had the opportunity to place a personalised tag on the special memory tree.
Before the walkers set off, there was plenty to keep them entertained including fire jugglers from Essex University; face painting; a limbo competition; and of course an energetic warm-up led by Lucy Taylor.
Everyone who took part was there to support St Helena, to help local people face incurable illness and bereavement. All the money raised will go towards supporting patients, families and carers, in their homes, over the phone with the 24/7 Singlepoint advice line, through day therapies, and at The Hospice.
Lene Johnson, whose daughter, Marie-Louise, was cared for by St Helena before she died at The Hospice in 2016, spoke on stage about how the hospice has supported her and her family, and to thank all the walkers for taking part in the event and raising sponsorship which will help families like hers.
Lene said: “I feel very privileged to be asked by St Helena to share our story tonight. It’s a little bit daunting, the last time I spoke like this was when I buried my daughter - my ray of sunshine, my inspiration. I know she would want me to share with you the incredible support she was given during the most difficult times.
“Marie had two short stays at the Hospice during her 13 months of living with cancer. Her final wish was to die at the hospice. Marie was very lucky to get the very best care at St Helena and she was treated with respect and dignity to her very last breath.
“As a family and as individuals we were cared for in our darkest hours, I can tell you straight from my heart that St Helena made our loss so much more bearable knowing all they did for Marie. I will forever be grateful.
“When you wake up in the morning and you’re aching, and your blisters have blisters all of their own, just trust me, you have made a massive difference to somebody else’s life and to somebody else’s family. All the funds that you raise will make a difference to people like Marie, so thank you all.”
Lisa Chenery, St Helena’s Events Fundraiser, said: “Thank you to all our wonderful walkers for joining us at the Midnight Walk and for spending their Saturday night supporting their local hospice. Whether you walked in-memory of a loved one, to support St Helena, for a fun night out with family and friends, or as a challenge for yourselves – we’re so grateful you joined us.
“It was an incredible night and the atmosphere was electric. Every year it truly amazes me to see so many people donning their fancy dress, uniting and walking to support St Helena.
“We’re hoping to raise around £65,000 from everyone’s sponsorship money this year and raising vital funds to help us to be there every step of the way for anyone who needs us, helping life to go in the face of death, dying and bereavement.”
Rebecca Litton, who walked as part of team Gilberd School in-memory of her friend and colleague, Lynn Love, said: “The Hospice has done a lot for people that I know and love and it’s an absolutely fantastic establishment anyway. We have recently lost a really dear friend and she spent her last few hours in the Hospice so it actually means a great deal to do this tonight - and I absolutely love doing it anyway.”
Paul Ost, who was supporting a group of 20 walking in-memory of his wife, Judith, said; “I think it’s great that they’re all doing it. My wife used to work in the pharmacy department at Colchester Hospital and she passed away this year, and they’re doing it in memory of her. It’s touching the fact that they’re doing it in memory of her. She did it a couple of years ago. My son is also doing it tonight.”
Kim Robson added: “She (Judith) was a lovely lady and she would be loving what we’re doing. It’s special to have Paul seeing us off on our full nine miles.”
Katie and Isla were the first 4.5 walkers to return from the Midnight Walk. Katie said: “It’s good fun, a great cause and the atmosphere is brilliant – we would definitely recommend it!”
When the walkers returned to Stanfords they were greeted with their well-deserved Hawaiian-edition medal handed to them by a group of volunteers, and a delicious doughnut.
St Helena’s Events Fundraiser, Lisa, added: “We would like to say a big thank you to our 70 amazing volunteers who gave up their Saturday night to make sure all our walkers were safe out on the route, and to ensure everyone got a medal and snack at the end!”
All walkers are asked to return their sponsorship by 31st July 2019.
St Helena’s Midnight Walk was sponsored by Fenwick.
If you’d like to take part in a St Helena event, next up in the calendar is the Walk of Memories on Sunday 7th July in West Mersea. Find out more here
Posted: 12th May 2019
To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
To contact the St Helena Retail team, for enquiries about our shops, donation centre and house clearance service please telephone 01206 890 165.
24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360
SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.
To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU
Telephone: 01206 845 566
You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 845 566
Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222
You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 848 163
Fax: 01206 752 245
You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222
Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU
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If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360
To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
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For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397
To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.
Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566