At midnight on Saturday 24 June over 750 ladies lit up the streets of Worthing for the tenth anniversary of St Barnabas House’s Night to Remember midnight walk, raising an incredible £116,049.22 for the hospice.
The fundraising total was announced shortly before midnight when the ladies set off from Worthing Leisure Centre in a flock of pink t-shirts and glow accessories.
To mark the ten year anniversary of the event there were plenty of special additions, including a spectacular glow performance by Smoking Hot Promotions who performed at the start of the walk and at Worthing pier.
As in previous years, ladies had a choice of walking a seven, 13.1 (half marathon) or 20 mile route, taking in the iconic sights of Worthing and Shoreham.
The first walker to complete the seven mile route was Suneeta Kambam, 35, from Worthing who was participating for the first time.
Kelly Earle, 30, from Littlehampton was the first walker to complete the 13.1 mile route. Kelly was taking part in Night to Remember for the sixth time.
She said: “The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was in high spirits. The event was fantastically organised. We got back at 3am and everyone was still cheering us on which we really needed during that last mile.
“St Barnabas House is a charity very close to my heart. I actually volunteer there and have done for one and a half years. It’s a good charity and helps a lot of people locally, so I want to do my bit.”
The first walkers to complete the 20 mile route, walking as far as Shoreham’s state-of-the-art footbridge and back, were Ali Spear, 50, Ginny Cole, 51, and Lisa Oliver, 47, who all live in West Sussex.
Ali said: “We were walking to raise money for the Hospice at Home Team which I work for. It’s amazing and the volunteers are incredible.”
Many of the ladies taking part in Night to Remember were walking in memory of a loved one who had been cared for by the hospice in the past.
Friends Claire and Lucy from Brighton and West Chiltington were walking for the first time in memory of Claire’s aunt Lynn Upperton.
After completing the seven mile route, Claire said: “It was longer than expected and we probably should have done a bit more training, but it’s a nice walk along the seafront. The atmosphere was really nice. It was really happy and friendly and everyone was really supportive.”
Sue Thom, 48, from Worthing took on the 13.1 mile challenge as part of the team White Meadows Wanderers who this year had 17 walkers.
Taking part for the third time, Sue said: “My friend Lucy Scriven is the ‘Superstar’ for our team. We are the largest team and every year we grow in numbers.
“I’m in a very fortunate position – I’ve never known anyone who has been in St Barnabas but it’s one of those situations where anyone could need them at any point so I’m happy to help.
“My friends have had in-laws and parents go through it and they couldn’t sing their praised highly enough. It’s a great cause, lovely people and we should all help them as much as we possibly can.”
The sponsorship money raised by Night to Remember will go towards funding the Hospice at Home Service, which provides care for patients in their own homes across the Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield areas.
During 2016, 409 patients were referred to the Hospice at Home Team for end of life or palliative care in the comfort of their own homes.
The team, which operates a night sitting service from 10pm to 7am, made 357 night sit visits and delivered 3,314 hours of care as a result of those visits.
The money raised from this year’s Night to Remember is enough to pay for the whole Hospice at Home night service for the coming year.
Kathy Mardle-Aylett, who until recently held the position of Hospice at Home Team Lead at St Barnabas House, gave her usual motivating speech before the walk.
She said: “The Hospice at Home Service began in 2012 and allows local people to choose where they receive end of life care. Since the service began we have cared for more than 2,000 local patients and their families which is amazing.
“With the help of the money raised from Night to Remember we were able to launch the Hospice at Home night service which allows the patient’s family to rest knowing that a St Barnabas House nurse is there to sit with the patient and provide for their needs for the whole night.”
Kathy then introduced Ali Spear, who has taken on the role of Hospice at Home Acting Team Lead while the hospice recruits a permanent member of staff.
The new Mayor of Worthing, Alex Harman, was also in attendance with his wife, the Mayoress of Worthing, Mrs Fran Harman.
Before the ladies set off, he said: “It’s fantastic to look out and see a sea of pink and flashing bunny ears! It’s great that you’re all here, you’ve raised a phenomenal amount, so well done.”
Lucy Bone, Events Fundraiser at St Barnabas House, was delighted that the event continues to be such a great success, ten years after it first took place.
She said: “As this year was the tenth time we’ve held Night to Remember we wanted to make it an extra special occasion for everyone taking part. We had all the usual excitement, including an energetic warm up by Jo Clark from Fit4, entertainment by DJ Millsy from More Radio and face painting by Tick Boom Face Painting.
“There were lots of new additions, including a photo booth with props for walkers to have their photo taken and male models mingling with the ladies before setting off, a glow performer and confetti cannons creating an explosive start to the walk. We also brought the memory wall out onto the route, where walkers could write messages about their loved ones.”
Lucy said that without the wonderful support of the community and local businesses, the hospice would not be able to run the event.
She said: “There are so many people to thank, including Worthing Leisure Centre for providing the venue, Richard John Hair and Beauty and Lush and Tropic Skin Care for generous prize donations, and Mirage Beauty for providing post-walk massages.
“Thank you also to Blakemore Spar and Edgars Water for providing all of our bottled water, Tesco for providing 900 chocolate bars, Sainsbury’s Lyons Farm for providing 900 bananas, Gates and Mallony for providing volunteers and refreshments at the turnaround point, Winners Tool Hire for supplying a generator, STS Communications for loaning radios, Sussex 4×4, F&G Transport for loaning us our transportation and providing volunteers and The Events Team and 4×4 Assist for providing marshals.”
“Last but not least, I would like to give a special mention to the amazing team of over 200 volunteers, including those who marshal the route, keep walkers safe and offer refreshments and encouragement to the ladies throughout the night. We simply could not do it without them!”
Over the past ten years, around 10,000 ladies have taken part in Night to Remember, and this year’s fundraising total of £116,049.22 means that the amount of money raised through sponsorship over the whole ten years is now nearly £1.5 million.
It will cost £6.1 million to pay for all of the care services provided by St Barnabas House this year and only 21% is covered by statutory funding. For more information about the care services provided by the hospice, visit www.stbh.org.uk.
If you would like to take part in next year’s Night to Remember midnight walk, early bird registration is now open at www.nighttoremember.org.uk/stb at a discounted rate of £15.