Posts

Community unites for Midnight Walk in support of local hospice care

Midnight Walk turned Plymouth bright pink as a thousand women and girls came together wearing tee-shirts of that hue to walk across the city, raising vital funds to help ensure local people with terminal illness get high-calibre care that helps them live well to the end of their lives.

On Friday 20 August, saw much-loved local charity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth welcome faces both familiar and new to its hotly anticipated mass participation fundraising event, Midnight Walk, following the sponsored walk’s cancellation last year because of the pandemic. So popular was the event in aid of the compassionate care the hospice provides across Plymouth and surrounding areas that it was a complete sell-out.

Setting off from Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium, the ladies followed 5, 10 or 15-mile route taking in many Plymouth landmarks, including Smeaton’s Tower and the Barbican. And when the challenge got tough, moral support came in abundance from the spectators who cheered them on from their front gardens and the passing motorists who tooted their horns in solidarity.

The event, sponsored by GA Solicitors, saw many participants walking 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.

Among those taking on the full 15 miles were Caroline Mercer from Salcombe, her daughters Cerys and Tegan and friends Debbie, Emma and Alice. The group was walking in memory of Lyndsey (Lynds) Fisher-Khoury, Caroline’s best friend and godmother to Cerys and Tegan, who was looked after by St Luke’s at Turnchapel before sadly, she died in May 2019.

Caroline said: “Lynds was such a special person – she loved life and was so kind and caring. She was always beautifully dressed and shone in any room yet was so down to earth. She was a lovely godmother, too, and we all miss her so much.

St Luke's Midnight Walk Caroline Mercer

“When Lynds needed St Luke’s care at Turnchapel, they looked after her wonderfully in a beautiful room looking onto the gardens. It helped her husband Mark, and all of us, to see that she was comfortable and at ease in such a peaceful place where nothing was ever too much trouble. Whenever we visited Lynds, we were always made to feel so welcome by the staff and I will never forget their kindness at such heart-breaking time.”

Also walking 15 miles were sisters Tracey Brannan from Crownhill and Suzanne Clough from Brixton, walking in memory of their much-loved grandfather Peter Clough. St Luke’s cared for Peter at home and later at its specialist unit at Turnchapel.

Tracey said: “Doing Midnight Walk this year feels extra special because it’s coming up to ten years since granddad died and it’s our way of paying tribute to him. What stood out to me about St Luke’s was the way their care helped him not just physically but mentally, too. They gave him – and us as a family – the ultimate support throughout. It’s really important to us to show our gratitude because there’s an endless need for what the charity provides.”

St Luke's Midnight Walk Tracey and Suzanne

Suzanne said: “I would have been marrying my fiancé Ashley today, but we postponed because of the pandemic. So, it was wonderful to be in an atmosphere of celebration at Midnight Walk, remembering our amazing granddad and doing our bit for such a vital service for our community.”

Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, Penny Hannah, said: “What an electric atmosphere! A huge, heartfelt thank you to all the ladies who came out to support St Luke’s – you are all incredible and we loved seeing you!

“From the dedications on the backs of all the tee-shirts it was clear to see the positive impact St Luke’s has had on so many local families in need at a time of crisis.

“After the disappointment of having to cancel last year’s Midnight Walk due to COVID-19 safety measures, this year’s event felt even more special. For some of the ladies taking part, it was the first opportunity they have had to reunite with family and friends since losing a loved one during the past 18 months, which have been so incredibly tough for people going through bereavement.

“We are so grateful to everyone who took part. Sponsorship money raised helps keep our 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 – all of which helps make our community a kinder place for people living and dying with terminal illness and for those close to them, too.

“I also want to thank all the other big-hearted people who make an event of this magnitude possible. That includes our army of amazing volunteers, our sponsors GA Solicitors, Plymouth Argyle, Cheezifit for the fantastic warm-up routine, Devon and Cornwall 4×4 Response Team, Devon and Cornwall Cycle Marshalls, PL1 Events and all the businesses and other organisations who’ve donated products and services. We simply couldn’t have done it without them and we are so grateful.”

St Luke's Midnight Walk Case Study Header. Images of the twins taking part in the Midnight Walk through the years.

St Luke's Midnight Walk Case Study Header. Images of the twins taking part in the Midnight Walk through the years.

Midnight Walk twin power!

When it comes to taking part in our much-loved Midnight Walk to raise vital funds for our charity, the more feet on the ground the better!

Not only are we excited to meet ladies participating in the challenge for the very first time, we love welcoming back the familiar faces once again stepping out to help us care for more people in their community. You can imagine, then, how delighted we are that twins Hazel Foster and Marcia Collins have registered to take part – not for their second, third or even fourth year, but their incredible 13th!

When the dynamic duo – who will celebrate their 60th birthdays just six days after this year’s event – heard that Midnight Walk is back on 20 August, they wasted no time in signing up.

The many thousands of steps taken by the twins in aid of St Luke’s are testament to the special place our charity holds in their hearts. Over the years, people close to them – including their beloved mother Joan Luckham, have been looked after by our team with such compassion that participating in Midnight Walk year on year is the sisters’ way of saying thank-you to us for going the extra mile.

Image of the sisters at a past Midnight Walk

Hazel, who lives in Woolwell, said: “Ever since we first took part in Midnight Walk in 2008, Marcia and I have been hooked! To us, there’s just no event like it so as soon as we’ve done one, we can’t wait to do another. The atmosphere is truly amazing – everybody is really friendly and we love the camaraderie, walking alongside hundreds of other ladies of all ages who are remembering their loved ones, too.

“When mum was in her last weeks of life, the care from St Luke’s was superb. Not only that, they supported us as a family. We felt listened to and understood. For Marcia and me, doing Midnight Walk is us giving something back for such kindness both then and more recently, with others dear to us also needing to be looked after by the hospice.

“Quite simply, I don’t know what families would do without St Luke’s in our city. It’s important we show our support so that the charity is here for years to come.”

Midnight Walk is on 20 August, starting and finishing at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium. For more information and to register, click here.

Midnight Walk is kindly sponsored by GA Solicitors.

Treasured memories of a big-hearted mum and grandmother are inspiring four females from the same Plymouth family to step out together in support of St Luke’s after we gave her such compassionate care at the end of her life.

Louise Pudner and her daughters Chloe, 25, Megan, 22, and Laura, 16, have all signed up to take part in this summer’s Midnight Walk, the annual mass-participation event raising vital funds for St Luke’s and the specialist service we provides for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

With the ladies’ walk making its comeback on Friday 20 August after it had to be cancelled last year because of the pandemic, the foursome is taking up the opportunity to stride the streets, paying tribute to Louise’s mother Mary Mannell, who was looked after at Turnchapel as she neared the end of her life.

Sadly, Mary died in 2011 but memories of the special person she was, and the huge love and affection she gave her four children, plus the 15 grandchildren born while she was alive, are cherished by her family.

Louise, who lives in Southway, said: “Mum was such a caring person and is sorely missed by us all. Growing up, she was always there for us and when her grandchildren came along she devoted herself to them, too.

“When she was ill it was a very difficult time, and our whole family is so grateful to St Luke’s for being there for her and us as well. It wasn’t just the excellent medical care they gave mum that made a difference, but the way they always accommodated our visits – day or night – making all of us, including the children, feel welcome and at ease.

“I’ll always remember spending precious time with mum in the gardens at Turnchapel, taking in the beautiful views over the water. That meant a lot to her because she and dad always loved the sea.”

Sponsored by GA Solicitors, Midnight Walk will see hundreds of women coming together to support St Luke’s. Just like Louise and her daughters, many will be going the distance in memory of lost loved ones, celebrating their lives while making new memories. All are welcome, regardless of whether we were involved in the care of your relative or friend.

The event starts and finishes at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium, with ladies completing a 5, 10 or 15-mile route across the city.

Louise, who along with Chloe, Megan and Laura is taking on the 15-mile route, said: “Walking together is something we are really looking forward to. We’ll be remembering both mum and my dad, who sadly also died from cancer.

“It’s our way of saying thank-you to St Luke’s, not only for care given in the past but right now, too, looking after people who are special to our family. It’s a charity that touches so many lives and we must never take it for granted.”

Registration for Midnight Walk costs £22, which includes the cost of your tee-shirt as well as a medal and goodie bag for all completers. Click here for more information and to sign up.

If you would like to sponsor the Pudner ladies, please visit their Just Giving page.

Ladies across the city are being invited to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones and put their best foot forward for our Midnight Walk that is making its much-anticipated return this summer.

Following its cancellation last year because of lockdown restrictions, Midnight Walk is set to take place on Friday 20 August. The popular mass participation event raises vital funds to help our charity provide specialist end of life care for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at Turnchapel, as well as emotional support for them and their families – services that are likely to be needed more than ever in the months ahead due to the impact of the pandemic.

Kindly sponsored by GA Solicitors, Midnight Walk is an opportunity for women and girls of all ages to come together as one to pay tribute to relatives and friends who are gone but will never be forgotten, sharing precious memories and creating new ones as they stride the streets of Plymouth for the sponsored walk.

This year, the ladies will set out from Home Park Stadium, taking on their choice of a 5, 10 or 15-mile route across Plymouth in their brightly coloured tee-shirts adorned with the names of the loved ones whose memory they are honouring.

Speaking about the event, Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising, said: “If ever there was a year for coming together to walk in memory of lost loved ones, this is it, and we are thrilled that after such a long wait we can finally welcome ladies back to take part in Midnight Walk. We can’t wait to see them, and as always, we are going to make it a really fun night for them all.

“We are conscious though, that alongside the excitement as we move towards the lifting of restrictions on big outdoor events like ours, there is sadness for so many who have been bereaved as they continue to gradually adjust to life without that special person by their side. 

“It’s possible that for some, Midnight Walk could even be the first opportunity they will have to reunite with friends and family they have been forced apart from – and perhaps unable to grieve with – because of the pandemic, which means it will be an extra poignant occasion.

“All ladies are welcome, regardless of whether or not their loved one received care from St Luke’s and, of course, you don’t need to be walking in memory. You can join us simply for the fantastic uplifting atmosphere, knowing you will be making an important difference for local families right when they need it most.”

Registration for Midnight Walk costs £22, which includes the cost of your t-shirt as well as a medal and goodie bag for all completers. Click here for more information and to sign up.

Leaping 15,000 feet from a plane is an exhilarating way to raise funds for our patient care, but what motivates someone to embrace a challenge many would find too daunting?

For nursery worker Rosie Pryce, 23, it is the memory of her much-loved grandad David, who was looked after at Turnchapel before sadly, he died last November, aged 86. Thanks to the outstanding quality of the care David received after he was transferred from hospital to our specialist unit, Rosie is taking on a skydive as her way of thanking our charity for making his last days of life so peaceful and comfortable.

She said: “Grandad was very frail and his condition was deteriorating so he chose not to have anyone visit him at the unit except my grandma Sylvia and their three children, including my dad Kevin. While it was very hard knowing he was so poorly, it was such a comfort hearing from them that he was being looked after by nurses they described as ‘angels’ whose care they said was ‘perfect’.

“I was so reassured to know grandad was in the best possible place for him, with the privacy of a room where grandma could stay by his side day and night. They were childhood sweethearts and married 64 years so spending this precious time together in such an uplifting environment really made a difference to them both at a difficult time.

“The St Luke’s team made sure grandad was pain free, and the nurses were so kind. They turned his bed so he could enjoy the wonderful views out across the water because they heard how he was mad about all things coastal and once owned a boat.

“I have happy memories of days spent with him by the sea, and his love of outdoor swimming was legendary, so it means a lot to know that he could take in a view that was so meaningful to him.”

“When I heard about the opportunity to do a skydive to raise money to give something back to St Luke’s, it really appealed to me. I’m quite a thrill-seeker anyway and felt like I wanted to do something remarkable for grandad because he was such a kind and special person who always had time for me.

“He was a practical joker and that fun-loving side has rubbed off on all our family. Although it’s a big leap, I think the skydive will be great fun so it’s a fitting way to remember grandad and do good for other local families who need the help of St Luke’s.”

Thank you, Rosie – we really appreciate you taking the plunge for our charity!

With this week, being not just the start of the new year but a whole new decade, many will be looking to set goals for themselves or even take on an exciting challenge for 2020 – or beyond!

What better way to push yourself out of your comfort zone than by getting involved in a challenging and exciting event that also benefits your community? We are urging you to put your best foot forward, take a leap or even scale the world’s longest manmade structure to raise funds that ensures care in our community

Today, we have launched not just one but two of our most popular flagship events, Men’s Day Out and Midnight Walk, giving people the chance to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones while raising much-needed income that helps families make memories together when time is running short.

Men’s Day Out, is loved for the rugby, banter and camaraderie and the unity of walking together raises thousands for St Luke’s. Officially, the region’s biggest men-only sponsored event for charity is back this Saturday 28 March. The event, which is Powered by IU Energy, will see guys gather for a day to remember, striding the city streets before they return to Plymouth Albion RFC for a well-earned pasty and pint and the not-be-missed clash between the home team and their Richmond rivals.

Meanwhile, St Luke’s is inviting ladies to turn Plymouth pink on Saturday 11 July, when its popular Midnight Walk returns. This year, the much-anticipated event, which is sponsored by Nash & Co Solicitors, includes a new challenge – 20 miles for 2020 commencing at 20:20 hrs – in addition to the new 5 and 10-mile routes. That’s not all that’s new, because this year walkers will set off from Home Park (Plymouth Argyle FC) and all will be wearing Midnight Walk’s signature bright pink t-shirts. As always, it promises to be a great night out with the girls, with many walking in memory of loved ones.

Nina Wearne, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at St Luke’s, said: “Whether you take part in Men’s Day Out or Midnight Walk as a personal challenge or to celebrate the life of someone special, please know that St Luke’s could not do what they do without the support from you, our kind-hearted community. Perhaps this is your first time, or maybe it’s an event you enjoy year after year; these events are a fantastic way to have loads of fun whilst making a vital difference for local families.”

For those who’d prefer to take the plunge to show their support for St Luke’s, there are opportunities to take part in an exhilarating skydive on Saturday 21 March sponsored by BT Local Business. The 15,000ft leap is free for those who raise a minimum of £395 in sponsorship.

Looking further ahead – a once-in-a-lifetime challenge – The Great Wall of China Trek is taking place from 6 to 14 November 2021, offering participants an unforgettable adventure. Those who are interested are invited to attend an information evening on Tuesday 11 February 2020 to find out more but don’t hold back as registration is already open.

Nina Wearne said: “As well as being a mesmerising experience hiking along one of the most famous structures in the world, this is an opportunity to soak up China’s vast variations in landscape, culture, wildlife and heritage – not to mention cuisine! It’s a fantastic way to do something different and also make a difference.”

Details of these and all St Luke’s flagship fundraising events are available here.