Over 1,000 people took part in the biggest ever Starlight Stroll for St Wilfrid’s Hospice last Saturday night. From babies in buggies to octogenarians, it was the largest ever mass-participation event in the history of the hospice.
The Redoubt was buzzing as people signed in, warmed up and had glitter applied, ready for the 6.45pm start. Participants walked either a four or six mile route along Eastbourne’s seafront to the halfway point, the Italian Gardens at Holywell. It was a physical and emotional struggle for some and the hospice is very grateful for the effort everyone made.
The atmosphere became more sombre at the Italian Gardens as participants came together to lay their decorated and dedicated lanterns to create a glowing garden of memories. People took a moment to reflect on their loved ones and to share their feelings with others before heading back to the Redoubt to collect their medals. The hospice’s Family Support Co-ordinator, Ella Williams, who was offering support to the bereaved at the Italian Gardens said: ‘It was refreshing that so many men felt able to be open about their grief with us, and how they initially had felt a level of shame in asking for further support.
‘I was also touched by how many children and young people attended the stroll this year, emphasising the need for recognising how bereavement affects the family throughout the generations.’
On their return, there was an opportunity for participants to enjoy some free stargazing courtesy of the Eastbourne Astronomical Society – those who wanted were able to look at the moon, Saturn and Mars through telescopes provided. Event Organiser, Beth Hillier from the Fundraising Team at the hospice, said: ‘Starlight Stroll is always a special night, but this year was something else. It was incredible to see such a huge number of people in the community supporting the event and raising money for the hospice. Thank you so much to everyone who attended the walk, as well as to the 100+ volunteers who gave up their time to help with its success. We can’t wait to find out how much money was raised and it would be amazing if it was a six digit sum!’
Please do collect your sponsorship money and send or take it to the hospice as soon as possible so that the funds raised can start being used to fund the hospice’s Closer to You campaign. The aim of Closer to You is to provide more of St Wilfrid’s services closer to where patients and their families need them. Beth reported that they do know of one family who raised an astonishing £4,300.
Beth also wanted particularly to thank the Redoubt Fortress for the use of the building, Switchplane for being the event sponsor, Eastbourne Astronomical Society for providing the stargazing and local businesses for donating essential items; they are: Tesco, Morrisons, Hobbycraft, The Gym, York House Hotel and Bliss Spa.
St Wifrid’s runs a range of events and is currently looking for a group of intrepid explorers to trek the Sahara. To find out more about future events and how to get involved visit stwhospice.org/events or call 01323 434241.
Member since: 18th January 2019
Provides care to 235k people in East Sussex. Closer to you through enabling patients and families to live well at end of life. 9-5 Mon-Fri.