INDEPENDENT Suffolk charity St Elizabeth Hospice is calling on supporters to sign up to its popular Midnight Walk and help the organisation during the coronavirus pandemic.
For 14 years, the much-loved annual event has seen thousands of people don colourful clothing and take to the streets of Ipswich to complete a sponsored six or ten-mile walk at midnight in support of St Elizabeth Hospice.
This year, in accordance with COVID-19 government guidelines, the flagship fundraiser will see participants complete their walks individually or in small, socially distanced groups between 19th to 26th September at any time of day.
However, the party atmosphere will not be lost as walkers are encouraged to share photos of their challenges online and decorate the hospice’s social media channels with colour and vibrancy as part of a weeklong Virtual Midnight Walk 2020 social media takeover.
Becky Jedrzejewski, Events and Challenges Fundraiser at St Elizabeth Hospice said:
“We cannot wait to see what is in store with the unique adaptations we have made to the Midnight Walk.
“We explored all routes to continuing the Midnight Walk in the same way we normally would but unfortunately this was not possible and as a result, we have chosen to do a virtual event to ensure the safety of our supporters and to comply with government guidelines.
“Participants can complete their walks whenever and wherever they would like but we would encourage people to do their walks in daylight. We are really excited to see participants sharing their Midnight Walk experiences across social media to help make Suffolk’s biggest party online.”
The Virtual Midnight Walk 2020 will also allow walkers of any age to take part as long as they accompanied by an adult and will feature two new distances for participants to complete – a 10km and half marathon walk – as well as the opportunity to choose a distance based on their ability. These walks can be completed upon any route, at any time of day, throughout the fundraising week and further details can be found once entrants have completed their £13 registration.
All funds raised from the event will go towards St Elizabeth Hospice’s #HereTogether appeal. A campaign launched in April to counteract the financial impact of coronavirus on the charity; after lockdown saw the closure of its 31 retail shops and postponing of all fundraising activities which are vital income sources needed to support the provision of its end of life care and bereavement services.
Setting a target of £250,000, in less than 3 months communities from across the region have united to help the campaign raise more than £195,000 and now the hospice is encouraging supporters to make the Midnight Walk 2020 the final push needed to take the #HereTogether campaign over the fundraising finishing line.
“Throughout lockdown, we have been so grateful for all the help and donations from the community in support of our #HereTogether campaign which is vital to ensuring we can provide our much-needed service to patients and their families throughout East Anglia.
“The Midnight Walk is always such a special event, full of celebration and people marking the memory of their loved ones and this year will be the same and we wish all who take part the best of luck and thank them for their efforts.”
Last year, the hospice cared for more than 3,000 Suffolk patients and their families at a cost of £10.5m, of which 75% was raised by the community through St Elizabeth Hospice’s retail shops and local fundraising activities which were made impossible due to social distancing and self-isolation brought by the COVID-19 lockdown.
St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent Suffolk charity providing free services to improve life for people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness. Centred on an individual’s needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice.
To find out more and to sign up to the Virtual Midnight Walk 2020 visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/event/midnight-walk-2020/.
To donate towards St Elizabeth hospice’s #HereTogether campaign visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/SEHCoronavirusAppeal or to find out more call 01473 727776 or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.