A MAMMOTH £71,000 was raised by almost 700 women who took part in a 10-mile sponsored walk along Eastbourne seafront at midnight.
The event, organised by the Sussex children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House, was started by the new mayor, Councillor Mike Thompson.
And among hundreds taking part were a host of mums whose children have received support from the hospice, including Jackie Hoadley, Marie Baker and Tandy Hearne doing it for the third time and Stacey Leigh, whose 11-year-old daughter Aimee frequently stays at Chestnut Tree House, and who was walking for the second year running.
Gemma Croucher was walking with 30 friends and family in memory of Finlay, who died of a heart condition aged just 24 days exactly three months ago and his father Kevin was a volunteer marshal at the event.
Gemma said, “Chestnut Tree House helped us so much when Finlay died – they organised the funeral and had so much love and support for us, it was amazing.
“They really helped us get through it and tonight is our way of giving back to them.”
Zoe Gilbert, whose seven-year-old Connor died six years ago and received help from the hospice, was walking with friends in memory of her son and there were many other groups of women from across East Sussex who walked together on the night – starting at midnight and ending at dawn.
“The walk has been a huge success, with more women participating than last year,” said Joanna Carden, spokesman for the hospice.
“It costs nearly £7,000 to provide the care services at Chestnut Tree House for a single day. Thanks to our wonderful walkers, we have raised enough to pay for more than 10 days of care both at the hospice and out in the community in families’ own homes.
“We have so many to thank for this year’s success – our wonderful volunteers, without whom we couldn’t hold the event, the Sovereign Centre, Kathryn McKenzie who provided a first-class warm up session for the walkers on the night, Eastbourne Borough Council and Retrospect Event Sound.”
Other supporters of the event included Edgars Cool Water and HT White Ltd, who provided water for the walkers, Tastables who supplied bananas, lead walkers Rupert and Jamie Ashford and end walker Mark Harris, who kept them safe and Helen Keevy and Helen Trehane from Rhomboids who provided free massage to walkers after the event. The ladies were also treated to bacon rolls at the end of the route, provided by In the Summertime BBQ.
Over the past two years, hundreds of women have taken to the streets and seafront of Eastbourne and raised a total £203,000 in the process. And plans are already underway for next year’s midnight walk, which will be held on Saturday, May 18.
Registration is now open at www.nighttoremember.org.uk. The walk costs £15 per person to enter, with each walker being given a pack, including an exclusive purple t-shirt, torch and medal, as well as a fundraising pack and refreshments en route.
Pictured: Eastbourne mums Jackie Hoadley, Marie Baker and Tandy Hearne.