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A Rum Deal

Partying pirates are being offered a rum deal by a boutique hostelry as they prepare their sea legs for a midnight charity stroll.

Swashbuckling scurvies are invited to weigh anchor at Houndgate Townhouse, Darlington, for a glass of pirate ‘grog’, before setting sail for the annual St Teresa’s Hospice Midnight Walk.

Now in its tenth year, the ladies-only event, which has raised in excess of £100,000 for the Hospice, will take place on Friday May 19.

The event will see walkers set off on a new 2.8 mile route through the town’s South Park.  Landlubbers aged 11+ are now also able to take part, and the walk will officially begin at 10pm to accommodate younger entrants and to allow for the longer course.

Natalie Cooper, director of Houndgate Townhouse, which has supported the St Teresa’s Hospice Midnight Walk for the past two years, said: “We are inviting all midnight walkers to join us in our bar between 6pm and 9pm for a pirate themed party before the event begins.

“We will be selling our special Pirate Punch or ‘Houndgate Grog’ with a percentage of the proceeds donated to St Teresa’s Hospice. There will also be a pirate photo booth and props and a special message in a bottle lucky dip treasure hunt in the hotel with prizes of cocktails and gift vouchers on offer.

“It’s great to get involved by supporting such a fantastic local charity and to help make the event into a fabulous Friday night out for everyone.”

The potent punch, created by bar manager Laura Sawyer, which contains Havana rum, spiced rum, pineapple puree, orange juice, grenadine, lemons, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters will be on sale at Houndgate Townhouse, served in a parrot mug and decorated with pineapple, lemon and mint, from early May until the event.

A non-alcoholic version of the ‘grog’, courtesy of Houndgate Townhouse, will also be given to walkers at the finish line along with a hot drink and bacon roll or Caribbean fruit pot and a goody bag.

Houndgate Townhouse duty manager Becca Ward, 23, of Darlington, who volunteers at St Teresa’s Hospice one day a week, said: “It’s great that the place where I work is so supportive of such a brilliant charity.

“St Teresa’s is an amazing place, so positive and calming, where small things, like giving up your time to sit and talk with patients and help with crafts and activities, can make such a big difference.”

All entrants signing up for the walk, also supported by the Cornmill Centre, Securitas and Northumbrian Water, are encouraged to come dressed in their finest pirate attire with the best costume winning afternoon tea for four at Houndgate Townhouse.

Games and entertainment from Backscratch Theatre Co and a photo stall will also keep walkers entertained along the route.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw added: “I’m overwhelmed with all the support that we have had from our supporters for The Midnight Walk. It is certainly ship-shaping up to be another fantastic event.”

Registration for the pirate-themed women-only sponsored walk costs £10, with entrants asked to try and raise £50 sponsorship money for the charity.

Click here to enter or call (01325) 254321 for a form.