IPSWICH: Enchanted forests and fluttering fairies have helped a much-loved children’s charity double its money from a magical Twilight walk.

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"Since we have moved into the Treehouse, it’s done exactly what we said it would – we have been able to look after an awful lot more children."

Patsy Johnson-Cissé

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices raised a fantastic £17,000 from The Evening Star-sponsored event – nearly double its £10,000 target – and is still expecting some donations from people who had set up sponsorship pages online.

The fairy-themed walk brought 450 children and another 480 parents together to do a sponsored walk on Saturday night from Copleston High School in Foxhall Road to visit the children’s hospice, in St Augustine’s Gardens, near Bixley Road, and back again, accompanied by children’s characters such as Spongebob Squarepants, Minnie Mouse and Kung Fu Panda.

Youngsters – many of whom dressed up to match the event’s theme – got to rest their tired legs with stops along the way for hot chocolate, a chance to climb on board a fire engine, and a wander through a magical enchanted garden at the children’s hospice, complete with nightlights and giggling fairies to speak to.

They even had tiny fairy houses to explore which were so realistic, they had fairy clothes hung out to dry on 5ins-high washing lines.

Suffolk fundraiser Patsy Johnson-Cissé said the event had gone better than they even expected.

She said: “Seeing all the children walk down the road with lights on their heads and dressed up in fairy outfits was just brilliant. It was like something out of this world, and the kids were shrieking with excitement.

“We want to say a huge thank you to Anglia IT for sponsoring the event, which meant every penny of the money raised on the night will go towards our core services.

“Since we have moved into the Treehouse, it’s done exactly what we said it would – we have been able to look after an awful lot more children and we are building our team.

“We’re pleased as punch that everybody had such a fantastic time and I’ve been getting non-stop phone calls since then with people asking whether we will do it again, so we will have to think up a different theme for next year.”

Dozens of hospice staff and families whose children use the centre took part in the walk, along with hundreds of other Ipswich families who were out in force to support the local charity.

Mrs Johnson-Cissé also thanked the many volunteers who helped organise and put on the event, including the students who offered to take on face painting all the youngsters taking part.

n What were your experiences of taking part in the sponsored walk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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