The generosity of Kirklees shone through as over 1,100 walkers illuminated the midnight sky in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The huge crowd of walkers, most dressed in neon yellow t-shirts, laced up their boots to take on the Midnight Memory Walk, pledging an incredible £96,000 on the night, a record total for the Kirkwood Hospice event.
On a mostly fine summer night, enthusiastic and emotional walkers took on a six or 10 mile loop around the streets of Huddersfield, taking in Waterloo, Lepton and Almondbury along the way. As well as raising funds, the event brought the community together to share special memories of their loved ones.
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Joanne Bell, of Holmfirth, took on the challenge in memory of her husband, Ian Bell, who sadly died at Kirkwood Hospice in August 2014.
“My husband had a brain tumour and had a prognosis of just 9 months, but with the help of everyone he managed 22.” said Joanne.
“The Hospice were great. He went to day care and also accessed counselling, which I did too. The therapists even provided holistic care at home, which was fantastic.
“I’m walking with lots of friends tonight. It’s a fantastic atmosphere, really good fun.”
People arrived early to soak up the party atmosphere and were dazzled by stilt walkers and neon glow shows. TAP events were also on hand to get walkers in the party spirit before fitness instructor Lucy Penrose took the crowd through an energetic pre-midnight warm up.
Friends, Heather Holberry and Sarah Kiehl from Huddersfield were walking for the first time.
“There’s an electric atmosphere and a real community spirit here tonight with people from lots of different backgrounds.” said Heather before the walk got underway.
“We all know people that have used the services and I have never heard anyone with a bad thing to say.
Sarah added: “My grandma Dorothy was a patient at the Hospice and they were brilliant.They really looked after her. They were so sensitive and really upbeat as well.”
At the stroke of midnight, confetti canons pierced the still night air, sending showers of multi-coloured ticker-tape skyward as a procession of yellow streaked its away across the start line and flowed into the deserted streets.
Walkers Zoe Haigh and Sinead Quinn, of Marsh, walked in memory of Zoe’s mum Carol Fitzsimmons.
“Mum died at the Hospice nearly two years ago. We didn’t want her to go to in at first but once we got there we knew we’d made the right decision within 5 minutes.
“We took on 6 miles last year so we had to do 10 this time. We still talk about mum her all the time. She had lots of grandchildren and they all still like to talk about her too.”
Event organiser, Emily Kennedy, was thrilled to see so many people taking part on a record breaking night for the Dalton based Hospice.
“To see a record number of people coming down to walk and share memories of someone they love is humbling. The walk is an uplifting event for the community and it’s something truly special to be involved in”.
The Midnight Memory Walk would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors Bluebird Care, Hepworth Honda, Myers Building Supplies and Syngenta and supporting sponsors Paisley Properties, Acumen, Probado, Roses Cleaning Services and The Insurance Shop.