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.

“If you’ve ever stayed in the main hospital – the Hospice is nothing like that. People don’t just come there to die. They come for treatment, to review medication so they can get the most out of what time they have left,” says Jo Maunder. “It has a very positive atmosphere. There is so much love there – not all doom and gloom like I had expected. The staff are incredible, they had all the time in the world for Dave. They can be jolly – but they can be a shoulder to cry on too, for the family as much as the ‘patient’.”

The Midnight Walk is a 5-mile or 10-mile walk around Aylesbury which starts at midnight on 23 June. This year, men and boys over the age of 11 years can join the Walk which has been traditionally ladies only.

“Whilst Dave was staying at the Hospice, I saw an advert on Facebook for the Midnight Walk and decided to take part,” Jo continues. “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 FNH. 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.”

“Year on year funding [to the NHS] is cut, so without events like the Midnight Walk it would be impossible to run the Hospice,” explains Jo. “Nine months after diagnosis, Dave could still walk, talk, eat and drink. A year later he could do none of that. Can you imagine? Being almost completely paralysed, only being able to move your eyes? Not being able to scratch an itch, wipe your nose, chat to your friends? It was a very difficult time for all of us, and I don’t know how I would have coped without the support of the Hospice. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Sadly, Dave died in November 2017. Read more about Dave and Jo’s Hospice experience here.

Registration for the Midnight Walk costs £20pp which includes the souvenir Midnight Walk 2018 T-shirt, medal on completion of the Walk, and a hot drink and light breakfast at Aylesbury College at the Finish. Register by Wednesday 20th June at www.fnhospice.org.uk/midnightwalk