Walkers shared a moment’s silence in a poignant tribute to their dearly departed before embarking on a charity hike to raise funds for a popular hospice.
More than 400 people, many accompanied by their dogs, took part in the inaugural Moonlight and Memories Charity Walk.
The event, staged in and around South Park, Darlington, is expected to raise more than £10,000 for St Teresa’s Hospice.
St Teresa’s Hospice relies on commercial, company and individual support to help raise the £3m a year needed to maintain services for the people of Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.
Walkers soaked up an emotional atmosphere with many sporting commemorative t-shirts and signing a ‘memories wall’ for their loved ones in a special glow-tepee. Entertainers Melyssa and Melynda Trenholm proved to be shining lights illuminating the way as stilt-walking angels.
St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw told the crowds: “This means such a lot to us and I know it means such a lot to all of you. We are all walking in memory of someone we loved to realise much-needed funds at a very difficult time for charitable fundraising. So thank you, thank you, thank you, from the patients, staff and volunteers.”
Lynsey McQueen and Gemma Bond were both walking in memory of their friend and work colleague at Matalan Sylvia Airey who died last October. Lynsey said: “We have been so excited about taking part in the walk; then you remember exactly why you are doing it and it’s sad. So it has been mixed emotions, but we are still glad to have done it.”
St Teresa’s Hospice volunteer for the past 21 years Nancy Spencer – and her 12 friends, the Rambling Roses – were walking in memory of her husband Brian, who died seven years ago.
She said: “I love the hospice and have raised money by staging a bed push and an abseil, but this is the first time I’ve entered a team in the walk.”
The Moonlight and Memories Charity Walk was sponsored by Bannatyne Health Club and Spa, and supported by RPMI Ltd, Sherwoods Durham, CAG Management Solutions (Chris Griffin), Hall Construction, 1st Stop Party Shop and the Protector Group.
Jane added: “The support for this new event has been outstanding and I’m sure our loved ones were with us in spirit every step of the way.”