St Elizabeth Hospice’s Midnight Walk 2017 in Ipswich: Photo gallery and videos
- Credit: Archant
A record-breaking 2,500 fundraisers took on St Elizabeth’s Midnight Walk 2017 in Ipswich on Saturday night.
There was a carnival atmosphere at the Cornhill, where the event began and finishes. Walkers taking on the six-mile or 12-mile circular route showed off their brightest colours, including UV face paint, neon legwarmers and funky headbands.
Last year’s Midnight Walk raised around £150,000 for the hospice after 2,200 neon-clad fundraisers – many wearing brightly
coloured leg warmers, tutus, headbands and sweatbands, along with glow-in-the-dark bunny ears and glowsticks – took to the streets of Ipswich, setting off from Portman Road.
This year, the event, now in its 11th year, centred on the Cornhill. Just Jay Dance and the Townsend Twins were superb at getting the crowd warmed up. The Pop Chorus had earlier performed a rendition of Let It Be.
Walkers were also welcomed to the Cornhill by face painting and stilt walkers.
Among the fundraisers were 60 teachers, students and residents from Holbrook, taking on the challenge in memory of Holbrook teacher Laura Godfrey. Every member of the group wore a hat with a photo of Laura attached to it.
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Her sister, Polly Fyfe, 20, was one of the Midnight Walkers along with Laura’s daughter Grace, 11, while six-year-old Helena cheered them off.
Speaking at the Cornhill a few hours before the walk started at 10pm, Polly said: “The support means a lot to me. Laura was very active and determined right until the end.
“She was going to do the walk but then she passed away. She would be so proud of us.”
For the first time in the event’s history, the walk sold out of tickets almost two weeks beforehand.
Catherine Sheppard, events and challenges fundraiser at the hospice, said: “It takes a lot of hard work and organisation to put on such a big event and I’d like to thank all those who have given up their free time to put on such an extraordinary night.
“Everyone has had a fantastic time and we’ve had some wonderful entertainment ranging from the incredibly moving rendition of Let It Be to the highly energetic performance from Just Jay Dance and the Townsend Twins.
“Most of all, I’d like to thank each and every one of the 2,500 people that took part in the Midnight Walk this year for their support, not only in attending and taking part but for their fundraising that run alongside it. The money raised tonight is really going to help us care for local people and their families both at the hospice and in their own homes.”
Welcoming the crowd, Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “St Elizabeth Hospice has been part of the Ipswich and east Suffolk community for 28 years. We intend to continue being here for everyone and are committed to developing our service to meet the growing needs we face.
“Tonight is about remembering loved ones and all those for whom we’ve cared. It’s about celebrating their lives and your memories. It’s about us creating more memories, here and now, together. It’s about all of us having fun, supporting each other and raising funds.”
Mr Millar was followed on stage by Wendy Goddard whose daughter, Zoe, passed away at the hospice last year, aged 27.
Speaking about the difference St Elizabeth Hospice made to the last few week’s of Zoe’s life, she said: “She was able to be Zoe again. We had precious time together. We lived summer days in the sunshine, listening to the sounds of birds and looking at the pond. She was able to relax in the jacuzzi bath, which she loved.
“I could watch over her when she slept at night. I had done this so many times when she was a little girl. I was able to be her mum again.
“Now she is gone, I cherish the memories of those last few, golden weeks; they mean everything to me.
“St Elizabeth Hospice made those memories for me. “
Following a countdown, cannons were fired launching confetti in to the crowd to signal the start of the walk with walkers heading off on their chosen six or 12-mile walk.
The walk took people from the Cornhill, through the streets of Ipswich, along Colchester Road, up to the hospice where they were greeted by a UV tunnel.
Outside the hospice in Foxhall Road, walkers were able to complete remembrance tags which adorned the memory tree.
They then headed back to the town centre and were greeted by cheering staff and volunteers before being presented with a medal and well deserved hot chocolate.