People take part in the Midnight Walk for all sorts of reasons.Read some of their stories here.
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.
In 2017, Jo Maunder and her sister Helen Lee did the Midnight Walk to thank the Hospice for the care Jo’s husband Dave received after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. They raised an incredible £4,100 in sponsorship.
“Whilst Dave was staying at the Hospice, I saw an advert on Facebook for the Midnight Walk and decided to take part, I wanted to give something back to the Hospice for all they’ve done for us. Also I wanted to be one of the ladies wearing light-up bunny ears – that looked like fun! I set my target to £500 – and smashed that within ten minutes with one generous donation from a friend whose lovely wife had been cared for by Florence Nightingale Hospice. Facebook was buzzing – it was SO exciting, and within days I’d raised over a thousand pounds!”
“My sister works for Boots and her customers were incredibly generous. Boots does a sponsorship matching scheme too so they kindly added another £500. Our final total was £3,600 – far more than we ever expected to raise! The generosity of people who don’t even know Dave or myself personally was very moving, the Hospice obviously means a lot, to many people,” she says.
“It meant the world to complete the Midnight Walk for Dave and be with Jo,” says her sister, Helen. “From what I’ve heard from Jo, and from meeting the staff, I know how much I wanted to help them. I was overwhelmed at the kindness and love shown for Dave by the Hospice staff I met on the evening of the Midnight Walk.”“It felt very emotional taking part – but uplifting too, to see so many people come together to do something positive, and to be part of that,” Jo says. “Everyone was so friendly! There was a great atmosphere, and the sight of all those lit up bunny ears was quite moving.”
In 2018 the Midnight Walk was opened up to include men for the first time. Chris Leathers, from the Waterside Theatre, joined the Waterside Team that year.
“It’s for an amazing cause and I’ve heard there’s a great atmosphere in the lead up and on the Walk itself,” says Chris. “I’ve always felt envious hearing my colleagues’ Walk stories so I’m pleased I’ll be able to share this experience with everyone walking this year now that men are invited.
“I know a number of people whose family members have been helped by Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity at the most difficult time in their lives. Facing a terminal illness is unimaginable, the support the Hospice gives to not only the brave person suffering with a life-limiting illness but the family members who have to come to terms with the loss of a friend or family member is crucial, not only for your mental health but your physical health.
I’m thrilled that I finally get to walk the Walk! I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to walk with some inspiring, courageous and wonderful people.”
“We know what a difference the Hospice makes to our patients and their families. 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.”
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.