"Last year we supported 1,500 patients in the local area"

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Midnight Walk proves Poplar with GP Practice staff

Jun 14, 2017

Poplar Grove Practice has gathered together one of this year’s largest teams for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity’s Midnight Walk – fourteen people in total. Made up of members of the Admin and Reception teams, doctors and the Practice Manager, the team also has patient representation, with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Patient Participation Group joining them.

The team is called Poplar Grove Primary Carers and is captained by Practice Manager Paula Martin. “We know what a difference the Hospice makes to our patients and their families,” says Paula. “This year we are walking in memory of our previous Practice Manager’s late wife, who died in the Hospice at the end of last year. We know from Gareth how much he appreciated the care and support that his family received. He would have loved to walk it with us.”

“We are also aware how funding cuts in the NHS mean that the community can lose vital services and this is one way that we can help in a small way to say thank you on behalf of all our patients,” she continues. “And as a surgery we like to support local charities, we don't just want to be a doctors’ practice, we want to be part of the community. With our Patient Participation Group, we have run a very successful coffee morning for Macmillan; we went blue for Ollie; wore Jeans for Genes Day and collect used stamps for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.”

According to most people who have done it, the Midnight Walk is not just a fundraising event. It can be a team-building exercise, an opportunity to catch up with friends, a time-out from busy lives to reflect and remember loved ones, and even often provides a goal for those trying to get fit. For the Poplar Grove team, it’s all of those things, as Paula explains.

“Walking as a team is fun as it means we can have a good chat on the way round, which we don't always get time to do at work. We can support one another too, so if one of us struggles, the rest of the team will help to pull them through,” she says.

“We can also be quite competitive and it's about challenging yourself; the sense of achievement is amazing. As part of the build-up some members are joining in on weekly Fitbit challenges with other staff members who aren’t able to take part in this walk. If we can practise what we preach about increasing exercise then it's a win, win.”

What’s most noticeable is the sense of being supported and encouraged by fellow Walkers, which echoes the support and encouragement the Hospice gives the friends and families of those it cares for.

“There was a fantastic spirit last year. You meet all these amazing ladies who want to give something back to the community; everyone supports each other - whether you know one another or not…we were sat having our breakfast when we were told the last six miler was just arriving - the hall emptied as we all went and clapped her 'home'!” says Paula.

Registration for the Midnight Walk costs £18pp which includes the souvenir Midnight Walk 2017 T-shirt, medal on completion of the walk, and a hot drink and light breakfast at Aylesbury College at the finish. For more information and to sign up for the Midnight Walk click here.

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