Plymouth tickled pink for hospice care
Hundreds of ladies tickled Plymouth pink on Friday night, as they walked across the city to raise vital funds for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.
Setting off from Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park stadium, women and children of all ages joined together to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary year by taking part in the hotly anticipated mass participation fundraising event, Midnight Walk.
This year’s event saw all ages join together to walk in memory of their loved ones, with the introduction of a brand new QR code trail adding an interactive element to the shorter 2.5 and 5 mile family friendly routes.
Born in the 80’s, celebrate in the 80’s
The theme of the night was 1982, the year the hospice first opened its doors to patients. Four decades later and St Luke’s is still providing compassionate care and support to the terminally ill and their families. For the last 40 years, the charity has held a prominent place in the hearts of many Plymouth families, with Midnight Walk being the perfect occasion to unite in sharing cherished memories.
The 1982 theme proved popular with participants, Kelly Allmett, from Saltash, works at Derriford Hospital in the haematology department. She said: “Born in the 80’s, celebrate in the 80’s. You can see how much loss there is around us, but it is such a supportive, fun environment to celebrate people that we have lost. I lost my sister in December and wanted to do something in her memory for a local charity that does so much for our community.
“St Luke’s plays a massive part at Derriford, they’re not just a place for family and patients, they support everyone around them, providing somewhere for patients to go and be looked after, not only in the last days of their lives but in support of treatment too.”
Samantha Hetherington, from Widewell, said: “It’s nice to get together as a community and support a good charity, cancer touches a lot of people’s hearts, it affects so many of us in different ways. I’d just like to do my bit. I lost my friend Kate 8 years ago, she was only 32, but she died of bowel cancer and last year my dad died from an aggressive form of lung cancer. To be able to walk and remember our loved ones and help those ones that are currently living with it and trying to fight it, means a lot.
“The atmosphere tonight is uplifting, everyone sharing their experiences and being with other people who have shared that grief and maybe even going through it themselves.”
Samantha set herself the challenge of completing the 15 mile walk. She said: “To push through a bit of pain for what people go through is minimal. St Luke’s is iconic, everybody knows what good things St Luke’s does and hopefully we can keep raising money to help them make those people’s lives a little bit better.”
Sponsored by Drakes Jewellers, the annual flagship event saw participants walk either the 2.5, 5, 10 or 15 mile route in memory of lost loved ones, having fun and making new memories as they celebrated the lives of people special to them who will never be forgotten. This year, walkers were invited to bring a copy of a favourite photo of their lost loved one and add it to the charity’s Memory Wall on the night, so that their legacy could live on for all to see.
Michelle Homeyard and her 10-year-old daughter Iyla, from Thornbory, were walking the 2.5 mile route in memory of Iyla’s grandad, John Homeyard. Iyla, who added his photo onto the Memory Wall, said: “My grandad sadly died a couple of months ago from cancer and St Luke’s provided end of life care to him.”
Michelle added: “St Luke’s helped him feel very comfortable near the end and were very supportive of the family. He wanted to be at home, where he was comfortable and around his family, so they came to the house. They made the process, as hard as it is, a bit smoother and easier for him and the family as well, providing us with reassurance.
“A massive thank you to St Luke’s, they do so much. We have a lot of respect for them.”
The pink-clad participants were treated to a fun and energetic warm up by the Plymouth based fitness class Cheezifit before embarking on the walk, which took in landmarks including Smeaton’s Tower and the Barbican.
The money raised through sponsorship by participants helps keep the St Luke’s team on the road 365 days a year, giving their compassionate care to patients in the comfort of their own home and supporting their families. Walkers can pay in their sponsorship money online and see their times here or they can pay it in at one of the St Luke’s charity shops.
Shelley Martin from Weston Mill has been taking part in St Luke’s Midnight Walk for the past decade and this year brought her 12-year-old daughter Shania along.
Shelley said: “It is a humbling and emotional evening, hearing what others have experienced and how St Luke’s have been there for them. St Luke’s are an amazing charity. They were an amazing support to my husband’s family when he lost his uncle and to me when I was losing my god mum and auntie Barbara and just knowing that they were on the end of the phone, that no matter what, meant a lot. I’m in my 40’s and I have never known a Plymouth without St Luke’s.”
Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, Penny Hannah, said: “We are delighted to bring our Midnight Walk 1982 in 2022 to celebrate 40 years of care for your local hospice. It is such a warm and loving event giving the city the chance to remember their loved ones and make many people proud.
“I would like to thank every single walker for your compassion and kindness. This year we opened the event to younger people, plus we added a wheelchair and push chair friendly route, of 2.5 miles, which has been a popular addition. Our kind sponsor, Drakes Jewellers have been complete diamond supporters, everyone involved from volunteers, to the event village venue Argyle, we could not run this event without their kindness, so thank you.
“The event means we can continue caring for future generations to come at home, in Derriford or our specialist unit at Turnchapel. Thank you again to everyone involved.”
Register your interest now for Midnight Walk 2023 here.