Midnight walk raises over £76,000 for Sussex children’s hospice
16th May 2016
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The annual event, now in its seventh year, raised an incredible £76,520.79 for the charity, enough to pay for 11 days of all Chestnut Tree’s care services, both at the hospice and out in the community in families’ own homes.

Women came from far and wide to take on the four and ten mile routes through Eastbourne’s streets and seafront.

Samantha Pilkington and Catherine Lambert from Northiam were both doing the walk for the first time.  “I saw it on Facebook,” said Samantha, “and I had always wanted to do a midnight walk.”

‘The Midnight Mums’, Leah Bowen and Sophie Tarrant from Hastings, were also walking for the first time and said, “We are doing it because Chestnut Tree is the children’s hospice for Sussex.”

Elaine Sayers, Carol Preece, Sarah Jeeves and AJ McNulty, all friends from Hastings, were doing the 10 mile route.  Elaine, who is a foster carer, and Sarah, whose son has special needs, said, “We read all about it and wanted to do it for the charity.”

Teams also came from across the county, including Connor’s Angels, a team of 10 from Worthing walking in memory of Connor Gilbert, who was cared for at Chestnut Tree House, on the anniversary of his death 10 years ago on 15 May 2006.  Connor’s Mum, Zoe, and her team have done the walk every year since it began.

Also walking in memory were Jayne Williams from Hurstpierpoint and her team of 10 ladies remembering Jayne’s twin granddaughters, Nancy and Nora. “The girls were born on 16 December 2014 with TTTS – Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome,” said Jayne. “They lived for just a few minutes but Chestnut Tree House enabled them to come home and they also provided counselling for their sister and my daughter and her partner.”

Many of the ladies were adorned with flashing lights, colourful wigs and tutus but some had pulled out all the stops with fancy dress, including a couple of Oompa Loompas, Malificent, the Cheshire Cat, Minnie Mouse and a Womble.  Team Florence, aka Eastbourne District General Hospital Nurses, Joy Yates, Odette Garcia and Karen Harding, donned Florence Nightingale wigs and walked the 10 miles carrying lanterns.

Local companies also got involved with Hart Reade Solicitors from Polegate and Eastbourne entering a team of 10, all resplendent in company sashes, as part of their Charity of the Year support for Chestnut Tree. Phoenix Security from Hastings sent along a team to keep the ladies safe out on the route.

DJs Millsy and Becky from More Radio FM kept the ladies entertained during the evening and Claire Ori from Abs Personal Training led an energetic warm up before    Eastbourne’s Mayor Elect, Councillor Pat Hearn, set the walkers off at the seafront.

“We are delighted with the amount raised from this year’s event.  Chestnut Tree is already caring for 300 children with life-shortening conditions across Sussex and South East Hampshire, including 55 in East Sussex (not including children in Brighton & Hove),” explains Linda Perry, Director of Children’s Services at Chestnut Tree. “But we know there are more families who need our help, which is why we are aiming to double the number of children we care for in the county.

“It costs well over £3.5 million every year to provide all of our care services, and as we reach more children this figure will increase. Less than 7% of our funding comes from central government so we rely on the money raised from events like the Night to Remember in order to continue to offer our care to the families who need it.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in the event, especially the 700 ladies who walked and 125 volunteers who gave up their Saturday night to help raise vital funds. From registering the walkers and marshalling the route to encouraging them every step of the way and handing out medals on their return, this event simply wouldn’t have been possible without our army of volunteers. 

 “Particular thanks also go to Sovereign Centre, Eastbourne Borough Council, Fergus Ford Photography, Tick Boom Facepainting, Blakemore Spar, Pavillion Van Hire, Winners Tool Hire, Event Medical Services, Temple Spa, The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, The Grove Experience and The English Wine Centre for their generous prize donations, Edgars Water, Sussex 4x4, Event Marshalling, Food Lover’s Delight for providing the ladies’ breakfasts  and Kay Shaw and Jade Foster for providing welcome massages for the ladies on their return.”

If you have been inspired by this year’s Night to Remember, early bird registration (£15 instead of £20) will open on Tuesday 17 May for the 2017 midnight walk on Saturday 20 May 2017. You can sign up today at www.nighttoremember.org.uk/cth.

About the Author

Chestnut Tree

Member since: 11th February 2016

Chestnut Tree is the children’s hospice service for East Sussex. Each year, they look after hundreds of local children with life-shortening conditions, their siblings and families, giving them the chance...

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