93-year-old Sophie heads Haverhill contingent at Girls Night Out
27th September 2010
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A fantastic team of ladies from Haverhill – led by a 93-year-old great grandmother – has helped St Nicholas Hospice Care achieve its most successful fundraiser of all time.

The charity’s Girls Night Out on Saturday evening saw 550 women walk 11.2 miles around the moonlit streets of Bury St Edmunds – with initial estimates that the event has raised more than £87,000.

Helping to reach that fantastic target was Sophie Benson, 93, who cut the ribbon to launch the walk before embarking on the trek herself.

She was accompanied by her granddaughter Gabrielle and her friend, Katherine Hodson, with the trio joining hundreds taking part in the walk dressed in the now-traditional pyjamas and dressing gowns.

Sophie, who took part in the fantastic fundraiser in tribute to the staff and volunteers who cared for her late husband Sydney, said: “When Gabrielle and I heard about Girls Night Out, we knew it was something we wanted to be part of. The Hospice staff were so caring and lovely towards my husband and this is a way of saying thank you to them.

“And to make it even more special, my granddaughter was with me – Sydney thought the world of her.”

Mother-of-three Sophie, the oldest participant in the fundraiser, was pushed in her wheelchair by Gabrielle, 30, one of her seven grandchildren. She also has six great-grandchildren.

She was also joined by an impressive contingent from Haverhill including staff from the Arts Centre, Paralympian wheelchair basketball player Caroline Maclean and town mayor Elaine McManus. 

Local accountants and Best of Haverhill business members Paul Donno & Co Ltd also had a team in the event.  I joined Sandra Piper and Beverley Ballard, who work at the company's Glemsford office, and  Paul's wife Jenni Donno and fifteeen year old daughter, Jade, on the walk.  Together the Paul Donno & Co Ltd team raised over £550 for the Hospice.

Jenny Baskett, Challenges and Events Fundraiser, said: “The Hospice has always had great support from the Haverhill area and we are delighted that so many women from the town spent their Saturday night in pyjamas, walking more than 11 miles to raise money.

“The event was a wonderful success, set to a fantastic and fun atmosphere. We would like to thank everyone who took part and helped raise the amazing £87,000-plus and to everyone who supported it as well.”

It is the second year the Hospice has held the Girls Night Out walk with £60,000 raised last year.

Images: Sophie Benson with grand daughter Gabrielle and her friend Kathryn Hodson.

The team from Paul Donno & Co Ltd - before the walk started!




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Elaine C

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