More than 700 people took part in an emotional walk along Eastbourne seafront to raise money for the town’s hospice on Saturday (September 19).
The fundraiser was the first ever Starlight Stroll on the seafront.
The event, organised St Wilfrid’s, was the biggest the charity has ever held.
Hospice supporters who took part in the event were given a registration pack before the walk which contained a paper lantern which they could dedicate to a loved-one in the Italian Gardens halfway through the walk. The walkers wrote the name of their loved-one and a message on the paper lanterns.
The fundraisers wore St Wilfrid’s Hospice T-shirts and strolled along the prom.
They started at the Redoubt and walked four miles up to the Italian Gardens and back.
Organisers described the laying of the lanterns at the Italian Gardens as ‘emotional’, as participants stood and remembered lost loved-ones.
Charlotte Bolton, community fundraiser, said, “The decorated and dedicated paper lanterns were lit and placed on the lawn in the Italian Gardens at Holywell, creating a beautiful memorial garden of lanterns, gently glowing as the daylight faded.
“The emotion of the event, heightened by some beautiful harp playing, created a warm, magical atmosphere and people came together to offer words of comfort to one another and share treasured memories.
“The hospice wants to thank all those who took part and estimates that once all the sponsorship money has been collected, it will prove to have been a fabulous fundraiser, too.”
The Starlight Walk has replaced the Jim Jam Walk which previously took place in Eastbourne around the same time of year.
St Wilfrid’s staff say the Starlight Walk was very popular and they have already had people asking whether it will be repeated next year.
St Wilfrid’s Hospice, based at Broadwater Way in Eastbourne, is a registered charity serving a population of 235,000 from Eastbourne, Polegate, Pevensey, Seaford, Hailsham, Heathfield, Uckfield.
The charity relies on its supporters and fundraisers, as it costs more than £11,000 a day to run all the services provided by St Wilfrid’s Hospice. It only receives 15 per cent of its funding from the NHS.
St Wilfrid’s supports 1,000 patients a year free of charge.
The hospice is trying to change people’s attitudes on dying and wants to create a community where people talk openly about dying.
The charity is also working to ensure that people live well until the end of their lives and make sure that e nobody dies alone, afraid or in pain.
The state-of-the-art hospice in Hampden Park has a coffee shop, hair and beauty salon and a number of other facilities.
The cafe serves hot drinks, snacks and hot meals and it open to all.
For more information and to find out more about fundraising for St Wilfrid’s Hospice visit www. stwhospice.org.
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