A record 609 people took part in hospice charity ellenor’s Twilight Walk on Friday night in Gravesend – truly turning the streets of the town orange for an evening! Undeterred by the earlier rain, young and old, family and friends, joined together to undertake either a 8km or 12km route through Gravesend in an event which was sponsored by Esquire Developments. The event is hoped to raise in the region of £40,000.
It was, as ever, a walk of smiles and memories, as one supporter said: “So much fun and so many happy faces - I can't imagine anyone wanting to miss out.”
After a warm-up from Natasha McDiarmid and a colleague from Fight Klub, walkers were sent on their way from Gravesend’s Cyclopark by ellenor Patron, Tom Parker from The Wanted and his fiancée, Kelsey Hardwick – who both took part in the walk as well.
“Kelsey and I loved taking part in ellenor’s Twilight Walk again this year,” says Tom. “We met lots of ellenor supporters and experienced the great atmosphere which the Twilight Walk brings to Gravesend. I am proud to be a Patron of ellenor and know that events like this are key in raising vital funds to support families facing terminal illness.”
The sight of more than 600 people – dressed in orange t-shirts, with poignant remembrance messages on their backs – was very moving.
Among those walking in memory of a loved one was Carrie Guest, who says: “This was my first Twilight Walk and it was a memorable one! It was fantastically organised and I will be back next year. ellenor has supported my family and I through an awful time in my life when my son passed away aged 10. The before and after care we received was faultless. ellenor is a charity that will always have my support.”
Dena Bennett was walking in memory of her Mother, along with her daughter, Candice.
“This was our first Twilight Walk and we will be back next year,” she says. “My Mum died on 17 May from Cerebral Lymphoma and, without ellenor’s help and support, we would not have been able to get her home for her final few days of life. Thanks to ellenor she was able to die with dignity and in the comfort of her own home with us by her side. My daughters and I will be forever in ellenor’s debt.”
Walkers were cheered all the way by local residents and by people in their cars honking in support. Participants also enjoyed some treats along the route – including ice cream supplied by Taywell and chips from Northfleet Fish Bar, before returning to the Cyclopark for hot chocolate, accompanied by music from ellenor supporter - the DJ with a Twist of Lemon - Tony Durrant.
“The support we had for our Twilight Walk this year was incredible – from the walkers themselves, right through to our volunteers, sponsors and the people of Gravesend who really got behind the event,” says Rachel Holweger, Director Fundraising at ellenor. “The messages which people wrote on the back of their t-shirts were very moving and we hope that, as well as raising money, everyone created some really precious memories.”
The ellenor Winter Walk is taking place on Sunday 11 December at Shorne Woods Country Park. Visit www.ellenor.org/events for more information.