Thank you for everything you have done for me; truly grateful.
- Hospice patient
Starlight Ladies Walk 2017 – Simply the Best!
Walking either 6.5 miles or 13 miles in the middle of the night to support patient care at St. Rocco’s takes dedication and perseverance but coming 6000 miles from Surrey BC in Canada to join up with over one thousand ladies to pound the pavements of Warrington on a Saturday night is something pretty special.
This was the case for Betty Charles, 76, who joined friends and relations to walk as part of ‘Team Jean’. Along with the rest of the wonderful walkers, the ladies were all in high spirits and suitably attired in their purple T-shirts and ‘glow for it’ accessories. What really made Team Jean’s night was being waved off at the start of the walk at Orford’s Jubilee Hub by the special person for whom they were walking, Jean who currently attends the Vitality Centre at St, Rocco’s.
St. Rocco’s, a registered charity, provides care free of charge for patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and is reliant on the generosity of the Warrington community to help raise the £3.6 million a year it costs to run the hospice.
Jean and her sister Eileen have completed the Starlight Walk together in the past and Jean has also marshalled, so it is an event that is close to their hearts. They had planned to walk together in 2017 but earlier in the year Jean became ill and so her younger sisters and other friends and relations decided to walk it together.
Betty was already planning a visit but, once she heard about the walk, she brought it forward so that she could take part as well and has even raised sponsorship from her friends in Canada.
“I’m delighted to be here with my cousins and it’s going to be a fantastic night!” she said before the race.
Betty’s prediction was certainly correct. The walkers were undeterred by rain earlier on in the evening and bopped away to requests played by DJ Andy Vance, including Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’, one of Jean’s favourite songs. There was also entertainment from Rock Choir Warrington and AT Dance.
With over 200 marshalls forgoing their night’s sleep to line the route and keep everyone safe, the stage was set and, following speeches by Pam Massey, CEO of St. Rocco’s and Norman Banner, Chair of Trustees, the countdown to midnight began in the presence of the Mayor of Warrington.
For the next five hours Warrington was aglow with colour and laughter as the ladies made their way through the town in support of patients and families receiving care from St. Rocco’s.
Two or three hours later and the ladies were beginning to return to the Orford Hub where former Wolves player Ben Harrison, alongside a team of volunteers, was on hand to distribute medals and congratulate all the ladies.
“The Starlight Ladies Walk is now an iconic event for St. Rocco’s and a part of the Warrington calendar. We know that ladies come from far and wide but we think Canada is the furthest we have known about,” said Charlie Rowen, Event Fundraiser for St. Rocco’s.
“The atmosphere has been amazing tonight and the ladies have really embraced our ‘Glow for it’ theme. This year we have seen whole generations of families walking together, having introduced our 12+ age limit to celebrate our 12th Starlight Ladies Walk. We’d like to thank all of our ladies, the volunteers and also all the organisations who give us so much support in order to make the walk possible. The sponsorship raised from Starlight makes an incredible difference and allows us to continue to deliver our care. We can honestly say that you are all ‘Simply the Best’!”
The next St. Rocco’s event for all the family will be the Colour Run on August Bank Holiday Monday at Walton Hall & Gardens. You can register online at /events/st-roccos-colour-run/.