Children’s hospice charity, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is encouraging people to join them to rise and shine for their first-ever Sunrise Walk in Reigate this July.
2023 marks the 10-year anniversary of the charity’s much-loved early morning challenge, taking walkers through the picturesque sights of Surrey and southwest London as the sun rises.
The Sunrise Walk series, which includes their long-standing Richmond route, has raised over half a million pounds over the decade to provide hospice care to babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, across Surrey and West London.
An event with a difference, the Sunrise Walk starts at 4.30am, setting off from Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate on Saturday 8 July. Walkers have the chance to see the beautiful sights and picturesque surroundings as the sun rises – a perfect way to start a weekend with family, friends, and of course the dog!
There are two routes available to choose from, a 5km route through the beautiful grounds of Gatton Park, or if you fancied a bit more of a challenge why not take on the longer hillier 15km route along the North Downs.
Laura Evanov, and her family, will be walking the 5km Reigate Sunrise Walk in memory of their baby girl, Anna. Anna was born in June 2022. When she was three and a half weeks old, she stopped breathing and had to be rushed to the hospital, where she stayed for five months. Anna had suffered a massive brain injury from the time she was deprived of oxygen and tragically died on 7 December 2022 at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices Guildford hospice, aged just six months and four days old.
“The team at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices looked after us at the most awful time in our lives. Our family support worker came to St George’s to do memory-making activities for Anna, such as making hands and footprints, and a beautiful cast of her foot in her daddy’s hand. They liaised with the team at St George’s so her move to the hospice went smoothly.
“They made Anna’s last day beautiful and gave her the opportunity to experience things that she hadn’t done. We were able to stay at the hospice for a week after Anna had died, in their bereavement suites, so we could spend time with her to say goodbye. It was something that really helped us with transitioning to life without her. It felt like such a safe place to be, we were fed, nourished, and the team always seemed to know to want we needed. We continue to be supported by the hospice, and frankly, without their support, we would not be able to cope with the loss of our precious daughter.
“We live in a village in the Surrey Hills where the Sunrise Walk is taking place, and Gatton Park is somewhere that we’d usually walk to and from with our Golden Retriever Rosie.”
The walk will be all the more special for the family as it will mark Rosie’s first big walk after she suffered an accident.
“Rosie was hit by a car in March, suffering a broken paw and has been recuperating since. She’s only just been allowed to go out on walks – so this will be her first big walk and we’re really looking forward to taking part.”
Participants have the opportunity to hang a lantern on celebration trees to remember and celebrate loved ones and can mark their achievements at the finish line with a free post-walk picnic breakfast to recharge and refuel, a medal to mark the occasion and an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere with fellow walkers.
Alexa Dizon, Head of Challenge Events at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said:
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring our Sunrise Walk event to Reigate – the area has so much to offer with the most amazing views. We support families across the whole of Surrey, and so to be able to hold our event in an area where many families we care for live, is really special. We are hoping to raise £90,000 from our Sunrise Walk Series this year to ensure we can continue to provide a lifeline to the families we support, and so encourage the lovely community who live in and around Reigate to join us for this very unique experience.”
Entry fees range from £5 for a child to £25 for an adult but look out for special registration discounts available! To find out more and sign up visit www.shootingstar.org.uk/event/sunrise-walk-reigate/
Whether you walk in memory or walk in celebration – sign up to walk together, and help Shooting Star Children’s Hospices make every moment count for local families.
Event timings and information:
Reigate Sunrise Walk:
When: Saturday 8 July at 4.30am
Where: Royal Alexandra and Albert School, Reigate
Richmond Sunrise Walk:
When: Sunday 25 June at 4.30am
Where: Ham Common, Riverside Pitches