A caring couple are preparing for a stroll under the stars to raise funds for their hospice in memory of their loved ones.
Husband and wife Ellie and Steve Kingston, of Darlington, have signed up for the first ever St Teresa’s Hospice Moonlight and Memories Charity Walk.
The pioneering hospice, on Woodlands Road, Darlington, provides free care and support for residents of Darlington, South West Durham and North-Yorkshire who are affected by life-limiting illness.
Ellie, 52, a former day therapy staff nurse at the hospice, is walking in memory of her mum Mary Wilson, 71, who was cared for at St Teresa’s in 2014.
“I was working at St Teresa’s when my mum was admitted,” said Ellie. “She had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and it took just six weeks from diagnosis until she passed away.
“It was the worst time of my life but everyone, all my friends and colleagues, were there for her and for me right up to the end. The care she received at St Teresa’s was just as it should be. Everyone looked after us like we were family and went above and beyond to make sure her final days were as comforting as possible.”
Ellie’s husband Steve, 51, a computer programmer, will be walking in memory of his wife Angela, 32, who passed away in June 2007.
“Angela and I moved to Darlington in 2005, bought a new house and were planning our wedding in Kenya for October 2007,” said Steve.
But in April 2007 Angela became ill and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“We were told she only had a few weeks to live and were referred to St Teresa’s Hospice where the care she received was incredible,” said Steve.
“Knowing we would never get to our wedding in Kenya the hospice staff decorated the room with palm trees and flowers to try and bring Kenya to us but Angela was too ill by this point to move so the nurses helped her to put on her wedding dress in bed, did her hair and nails and our wedding took place in her room the day before she died.
“The staff even arranged for a fold down bed so I could stay with her that night – they really did everything they possibly could do.”
Ellie and Steve who met each other on Facebook in 2009 and married in 2011 will be joined on the walk by their cocker spaniel dog Scarlett.
“We both have so much love for St Teresa’s Hospice and all the staff that work there,” added Ellie.
“It is so important that we continue to have a hospice in Darlington to care for terminally ill patients and every penny raised from fundraising events really does help.
“Taking part in the walk is just a small way of giving something back and supporting the incredible work that the hospice does.”
St Teresa’s Hospice relies on commercial, company and individual support to help raise the £3m a year needed to maintain its free of charge services.
The Moonlight and Memories Charity Walk, sponsored by Bannatyne Health Club and Spa, is the successor to the former Midnight Walk and is open to everyone, men, women, children and even their dogs.
Walkers will set off on Friday October 18 at 7pm around South Park and the streets of Darlington.
Glow in the dark merchandise including glow sticks, flashing eyeball headbands and flower garlands will be available to purchase on the night, as well as gorgeous glittery tutus.
A poignant feature of the event will allow walkers to leave the names of their relatives in a special memory glow garden.
Entry fee is £5 or £10 with a commemorative t-shirt. Walkers can register on line now at www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/moonlight or by email to [email protected], or can fill in entry forms available at St T’s charity shops or the hospice.