Women of Suffolk walking for charity

WOMEN of Suffolk – we need you!Hundreds of women are getting ready to put their heart, soul and feet into raising more than £20,000 for a vital charity – by completing an eight-mile midnight walk around Ipswich.

WOMEN of Suffolk - we need you!

Hundreds of women are getting ready to put their heart, soul and feet into raising more than £20,000 for a vital charity - by completing an eight-mile midnight walk around Ipswich.

On Saturday, May 24, complete with weird and wonderful headgear, women of all ages, shapes and sizes will be striding out to raise as much money as possible for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Whether they are walking in memory of a loved one, to lose weight or just for the fun of it, their hard-earned cash will be vital to keep the hospice going.

Each year the hospice fundraising team has to find ways of raising £3million to keep the crucial facility running. Last year it helped more than 1,400 people.

Community fundraising manager Patsy Johnson said: “We already have a hundred women doing it but we want to get a couple of hundred more.

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“We get a grant of £1million from the Primary Care Trust and on top of that the fundraising team has to raise £3million.

“It is a local hospice for local people and we are supported very well but we need to keep coming up with more ideas to keep whetting the appetites of fundraisers.”

The idea came after several fundraisers were unsuccessful in getting into the annual London Moon Walk which raises awareness and money for breast cancer and sees thousands of women stepping it out in decorated bras.

Miss Johnson said: “We think it's going to be such a good event with a great atmosphere and everybody working together.”

The route will take walkers around the outskirts of Ipswich starting with a warm up at the Copleston Centre just before midnight.

There will be first aiders on hand and two refreshment stops - one at Colchester Road fire station and one at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel.

Are you taking part in the walk? Tell us your story by calling the Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

MEET SOME OF THOSE ALREADY SIGNED UP

Joyce Grice and her daughter Elaine Runnacles.

Having arthritis was not going to stop pensioner Joyce Grice raising money for the hospice.

She will be completing the course in a wheelchair with the help of her daughter Elaine Runnacles.

They are hoping to raise awareness of the good work the hospice does as well as trying to collect as much money as possible.

Mrs Runnacles' husband Terry died from cancer 25 years ago, but there was no hospice to guide and comfort the family through this terrifying time.

Mrs Runnacles, now 53 of Valley Road, Felixstowe, said: “It would have been a huge help.

“Hospices are good for the family to know what is going to happen. All I had was fear and the hospice gets you through that.”

As with many people Mrs Runnacles and her mother have known other people who need the services of the hospice.

Mrs Runnacles decided to join the midnight walk after the death of her friend Pat Barr who had volunteered at the hospice for many years and died in January.

She said: “I thought it would be a fitting tribute to Pat as she did so much work.

“I'm doing it to raise awareness and funds for the hospice and we want other people to join.”

Mrs Grice said it was important for as many people as possible to get involved.

She said: “It is a good thing to do to raise as much money as possible.

“You never know when you are going to need these people.”

Breast cancer survivor Linda King

In among the hundreds of walkers next bank holiday will be Linda King who has had the all-clear after battling breast cancer.

Mrs King of Curlew Green, Kelsale said she was diagnosed after going to her GP with severe pain and was referred to the Nuffield Hospital before being treated at Ipswich Hospital in Heath Road.

Mrs King, manager for Barnes Rosher Office Solutions in Framlingham said: “I had wonderful treatment there and they could not have done enough for me. I just wanted to give something back.”

Having already done a skydive and raised £4,000 for Cancer Campaign in Suffolk, Mrs King is now setting her sights on raising money for the hospice.

She said: “It's a really important place. Several of my friends have died from cancer.”

She will be doing the event with her son's girlfriend Sarah Shepherd.

The Slimming World Team

Up to 30 members of the Woodbridge and Framlingham Slimming World clubs will be joining forces to take part in the walk and the health benefits of walking will be foremost in many of their minds.

Slimming consultant Denise Behnke said: “We thought it would be an exciting way to support them.

“Two-and-a-half hours of exercise is enough for your weekly allowance to keep the heart pumping and blood running round the body.

“We do recommend as part and parcel of losing some weight that you get a weekly amount of exercise in.”

Ms Behnke said that the club supports the hospice each year.

She said: “I think everyone is touched by it and everyone seems to know someone who has been in there.

“I had only read recently how much it costs to run it and I hope this is successful for them.

“It is really important locally that we have a hospice that everyone can use.”

WHAT THE HOSPICE DOES

The hospice cares for patients with active, progressive and advanced illness, for whom the focus of care is quality of life.

Hospice staff aim to provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms and offer comprehensive support to help family and carers cope during a patient's illness.

It includes an eighteen bed in-patient unit, day care services, out-patient clinic, a Hospice at Home service, family support team, education centre, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and complementary therapies such as massage, reiki and aromatherapy.

WEBLINK: www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk

GET INVOLVED

All participants will be given a Midnight Walk t-shirt and are invited to get into the spirit and add their own accessories such as hats, tiaras, bunny ears or even silly wigs!

Registration fee: £10 (includes T-Shirt)

Sponsorship target: £100

To register for the walk, either download the Midnight Walk application form from the website or for more information contact the fundraising office on 01473 723600 or e-mail fundraising@stelizabethhospice.org.uk