Ten-Mile Fundraising Walk to Remember Raises Vital Funds for St Mary’s Hospice

St Mary’s Hospice’s Walk to Remember, on Friday, 8th September, was an overwhelming success, with nearly 600 families and friends joining in this heartfelt event. Many of the participants took on the ten-mile journey in memory of their loved ones, all while raising vital funds for St Mary’s Hospice.

This remarkable event was generously sponsored by Ørsted. Starting at the Better Leisure Centre, Ulverston. The atmosphere was really moving and electric, with live entertainment from Jay Broome and talented vocalists Ade White, Kev Thompson and Talia Rae Brumbley. With food and refreshments available, face painting and even a photo booth for supporters to capture memories of the event. The walkers enjoying an energetic warm-up led by Clare Paling.

Helen Carlson, Head of Income Generation at St Mary’s Hospice shared why the Walk is so special and vital to St Mary’s Hospice: “Walk to Remember was born to create a safe space for our community to come together to reflect, to support and celebrate the lives of those who although may not be by our side, will be forever in our hearts. Tonight is a tribute to our loved ones and also promises to leave a lasting legacy in their name. Eight out of every 10 patients we care for are paid for by voluntary income. Walk to Remember raises thousands of pounds each and every year which means we can promise to be here for those who will need us tomorrow.”

Hospice staff member Solveig added: “Thank you! I am nearly speechless which is very unusual! But I want to say a huge thank you from all of us who work at St Mary’s we couldn’t do what we are doing without your help… You help us to keep doing what we do by showing such overwhelming support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Helen expressed her gratitude: “Tonight simply could not happen without the support of our local community and I just want to take a moment to say a few thank you’s. A huge thank you to Ørsted for sponsoring tonight, you guys have been by our side for five years now and your sponsorship means every single penny raised tonight will go towards delivering care. Another huge thank you has to go to Ulverston Leisure Centre, Ulverston Fire Brigade, Jay Broome and his vocalists, K2B Committee, Furness First Aiders, Clare Paling, Photo Hoof, Charnley’s, Tesco, Our Lady Rosary Catholic Primary School and finally Furness Academy, and most of all each and every one of you guys standing in front of me tonight. You guys are awesome and all deserve a huge round of applause.”

At 8 pm, an official countdown marked the start of the walk, with walkers setting off with Boom Dang, creating a carnival-like atmosphere with a fantastic firework display and led safely out by Ulverston Fire Brigade.

A spokesperson for Boom Dang shared: “We love this event! It’s one of our highlights of the year. It’s such a magical community event that we love being part of.”

The journey included a stop for the first time at Our Lady Rosary Catholic Primary School, Dalton who looked after the walkers exceptionally well and with Charnley’s Home & Garden and Tesco Barrow Community generously providing much needed snacks and drinks, ensuring walkers were well taken care of. Volunteer marshals provided guidance and support, while St Mary’s care staff offered encouragement at checkpoints along the route. The half-way point at Dalton also featured for the first time dedicated ribbons on our memorial tree.

Mel Dixon, Events and Challenges Manager at St Mary’s Hospice explained this year’s walk had a new feature: “We’ve had supporters ask how they can support the walk if they are unable to join the walk in person, so this year we’ve added a touching new feature to ensure the event reaches more people. At Our Lady Rosary Catholic Primary School we created a poignant memory display by hanging dedicated ribbons on our memorial tree. It looked absolutely stunning, and made the walk extra special. Our Family and Bereavement Support Team were there to help if anyone needed support, there is so much love for this fantastic team.”

Lynsey Lawson, Compassionate Community Team Lead, St Mary’s Hospice: “The atmosphere this evening was truly electric. The walk was full of laughter and smiles. It has been such a special evening seeing our wonderful community come together to remember their loved ones. At Dalton, walkers filled our remembrance trees with colourful ribbons remembering and celebrating their loved ones.”

Participants were greeted with a warm welcome from members of St Mary’s clinical team as they crossed the finish line at Furness Academy and received well-deserved medals. Furness Academy treated everyone to delicious refreshments.

Hospice supporter Karen walking in sister Gayle’s memory shared, “We’ve raised over £1,000 on just giving and more, we are hoping for £1,500. It’s going to be an emotional night.”
Savannah, walking for the first time said: “My grandad last year had the Hospice at Home nurses, they were just lovely amazing people.”

Savannah’s friend Kate added: “My grandad was an inpatient at the end of his life. It made a difference to our family it was a lovely atmosphere we could all be there together. Especially the views from his room. Out of a sad time it was a nice experience.”

Mel Dixon, coordinates the whole event, her passion and hard work help make the event extra special. Mel shared her thoughts: “The atmosphere was just fantastic, emotional and celebratory. It was a privilege to see our staff, volunteers and fundraisers enjoying the event and sharing precious stories about who inspired them to participate. For many, it’s because they know someone who has been cared for by St Mary’s, whether in our In-Patient Unit or by the Hospice at Home team. Others were simply moved to be part of something special. Our community embraces the event and help make it the success that it is. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Mel added: “As always it’s a moving sight to see the roads from Ulverston to Barrow illuminated by flashing bunny ears, fairy lights, headlamps, glow sticks, cars even beeped support! The incredible atmosphere kept everyone going, and we are delighted to share it’s one of our biggest years for people taking part.”

We would also like to extend our thanks to Nick Tryon and Marie for taking photos, and Furness Triathlon for providing much needed front walkers, and all our fantastic volunteers every step of way.