HUNDREDS of eventgoers have helped raise nearly £50,000 in less than a week for St Elizabeth Hospice as part of the Virtual Midnight Walk 2020.
St Elizabeth Hospice’s flagship fundraising event, the Virtual Midnight Walk, took place between 19th to 26th September and supporters have already raised £44,014 while donations continue to flood in.
From beachside walks with family and friends to evening strolls with four-legged friends, more than 400 walkers shared photos of their walks to decorate the hospice’s social media channels with colour as part of a weeklong Virtual Midnight Walk 2020 social media takeover; while St Elizabeth Hospice staff covered a combined 387 miles, to comfortably break their target of 100 miles.
Becky Jedrzejewski, Events and Challenges Fundraiser at St Elizabeth Hospice, said:
“A massive well done to everyone who took part in this year’s Virtual Midnight Walk and thank you for all your fundraising efforts.
“To have raised such a brilliant amount already is fantastic, especially as we still have donations coming in. Every penny will make a difference, particularly during the difficult times brought by the pandemic, and will enable us to continue providing our much-needed care to patients and their families in our community.”
For 14 years, the popular annual event has seen hundreds 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.
However, in accordance with COVID-19 government guidelines, this year the fundraiser took a virtual twist and saw participants encouraged to ‘Walk Your Way’ as they completed their walks individually or in small, socially distanced groups between 19th to 26th September at any time of day.
One walker who took part in the event was Philippa Price, who took part in this year’s Midnight Walk in memory of her late father she said:
“This is the first year that I have taken part in the Midnight Walk and was really looking forward to completing the challenge in May. When the pandemic hit, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to complete it so I was excited when it was announced we would be doing it virtually.
“He was a Colonel in the British Army and, despite shouting orders at the staff a few times, he was cared for by the wonderful nurses at St Elizabeth Hospice with such love and respect. He was only 57 when he died at the hospice in January 2017 and was so well looked after, we couldn’t have asked for more.
“I already plan on signing up for next year’s walk, whatever format it takes. I would encourage anyone who thinks they can complete a walk of any distance to sign up too. You get to raise money for an amazing cause plus get some exercise in too!”
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.
Last year, the hospice cared for more than 3,000 Suffolk patients and their families at a cost of £12.9m, 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 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.