An emotional return for St Mary’s Walk to Remember

St Mary’s Hospice’s Walk to Remember on Friday 24th September was a fantastic success with over 400 families and friends taking part, with many walking the ten mile route in memory of loved ones to raise vital funds for St Mary’s.

The event, generously sponsored by Ørsted, started at Ulverston Better Leisure Centre. A brilliant atmosphere created with DJ Jay Broome, a fantastic dance display by Dance Active, and entertainment with Gary Gifford. Boosted by an energetic warm up led by local fitness instructor, St Mary’s Louise Walton.

St Mary’s Hospice, Head of Income Generation, Helen Carlson shared: “It’s been a really tough year for so many people and to see you all turn out with all these lights in front of me looks absolutely phenomenal. We hope tonight we really have provided a space for you to enjoy. To speak about your loved ones, to celebrate their lives, to laugh maybe to cry, to really have a good time. Events like this couldn’t happen without our partners so I just want to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to Ørsted. Who have been here all evening! Ørsted sponsor not just Walk to Remember they’ve sponsored all our events over the last few years, so that means every penny that you raise goes towards providing the care for families. It makes such a difference thank you so so much.

A huge thank you to YOU! We couldn’t keep the care going without without the monies that are raised tonight. This is one of our biggest events and we understand how important it is that we offer a space to remember loved ones and we hope that you have a lovely time tonight.”

After an official countdown, at 8pm the walkers were lead out to the amazing sounds of Boom Dang – creating a carnival feel to the start of the walk.

A spokesperson for Boom Dang said: “The hospice does so much for everyone and we just wanted to put something back to the hospice.”

The next stop was Charnley’s Home & Garden, Dalton, who big-heartedly provided facilities and refreshments, with Tesco Barrow Community donating healthy snacks and drinks too. Walkers were looked after by volunteer marshals and cheered on by St Mary’s care staff at check points along the route.

Supporters crossed the finish line at Furness Academy, to a warm welcome by members of St Mary’s clinical team, and awarded medals for their efforts. Furness Academy provided delicious and well-earned treats for everyone involved.

Mel adds: “The atmosphere was fantastic with our staff and fundraisers congratulating each other and sharing precious stories of who inspired them to take part. For many it is because they know someone who has been cared for by St Mary’s whether on our In-Patient Unit or by the Hospice at Home team. Or simply moved to come along and be part of something special.”

It was amazing to see the roads from Ulverston through to Barrow illuminated by flashing bunny ears, fairy lights, head lamps, glow sticks and more sparkle than Strictly Come Dancing! The great atmosphere helped everyone along. It felt extra special being back after the event sadly having to be postponed last year.”

Young hospice supporter Caitlin said: “I’ve done the walk for my dad. I’ve taken part in it two times before. It was good and nice to be able to do it again. I think dad would be proud.”

One hospice supporter, Pam, was dressed as a bee inspired by her mum: “We are walking for my mum, who was looked after by St Mary’s. When mum was struggling to talk and she wanted attention she’d make a buzzing sound! The family were there with her, it was just lovely how she was looked after. We even have a bee on her memory leaf.”

Mel Dixon, said “We’re just so happy to back with our Walk to Remember and finally get together again. We have worked really hard to make sure that everyone has a fun time! It’s been very emotional to be reunited and remember our loved ones, especially those we have lost in the last year. So many supporters have told me that it means so much to be part of this extra special event, and there were tears and smiles at the finish line at Furness Academy, it means so much to us all, and is a brilliant community event.”

Hospice supporter Kirsty shared her thanks: “What a fabulous time we all had tonight – we thoroughly enjoyed the walk, the atmosphere was fabulous! From the start to the finish, the warm up, the band, the fire engine, the friendly marshals, drinks and snacks along the way … the super welcome at the end … thank you so much to Mel and all of the people involved.”

Mel added: “It was just fantastic to see so many of our supporters – and welcome new ones – to St Mary’s, showing their support and helping us fundraise, so that our services are here for everyone in our community.

I want to thank everyone who took part, as well as everyone who helped make it happen – Ørsted, Boom Dang, Better Leisure Centre, The Rotary Club of Furness Peninsula, Furness Academy, Balloons from Kirsty Parkinson, Gary Gifford, Dance Active, Louise Walton, DJ Jay Broome, BAE Marshals, Furness First Aiders, Nick Tryon for helping out with photos, Charnley’s, Tesco, K2B Organising Committee, Larkins Engineering, Ulverston Fire Brigade, Peter Winston and incredible staff and volunteers. And Denise Dixon for always having our back as a back walker! Everyone who helped the night run smoothly and make sure everyone was safe.”

Find more pictures of the Walk to Remember on our social media