Hundreds of fundraising fairies marched through the streets of Lichfield on Saturday night to help St Giles Hospice raise thousands of pounds.
More than 700 mums, daughters, sisters and aunties came out in force to join the nine-mile Solstice Walk and organisers hope their contribution will bring the total raised to more than £1 million since the sponsored walk began 13 years ago.
The event began with a sunset party at the Friary Grange Leisure Centre where families enjoyed live music and entertainment before a moment of reflection saw the sky filled with bubbles to remember loved ones.
Supporters lined the streets to cheer on wave after wave of walkers, adorned with lights, glitter and fairy wings – many of them with very personal reasons for supporting St Giles Hospice.
Dawn Grix, from Lichfield, took part with family and friends for the first time this year in memory of loved ones. She said: “It was absolutely magical, and we’ll definitely be doing it again next year. The support from local people on the route was fantastic and looking round to see all the people in fairy wings and lights walking behind us was a real ‘wow’ moment!”
Laura Fitzgerald, from Lichfield, took part with family and friends as ‘Team Duggie’ in memory of her grandad, Douglas Brown, who died six weeks ago at St Giles.
She said: “We can’t thank St Giles enough for the way they cared for Grandad. From the moment he arrived they couldn’t do enough for him and for us as a family. They made his last couple of weeks the absolute best he could have. We just wanted to take part in Solstice Walk to say thanks to all the wonderful staff and volunteers who work at St Giles. So far we’ve raised more than £1,000 which is great.”
Michelle Rounds, from Burntwood also took part for the first time with her friend Jacque Drain. She said: “The whole event was amazing and there was such a great vibe. We loved the party before the walk with all the stalls and the little things like food and water being provided on route really helped make it a night to remember.”
Event organisers have thanked everyone in the community who supported the Solstice Walk, particularly those who gave up their time to volunteer on the night.
Elinor Eustace, Director of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said “We couldn’t stage this fantastic event each year without the incredible support we get so we want to say a huge thank you to all our participants, volunteers and sponsors.
“It was great to see so many people lining the streets to cheer on the walkers and we’d like to say a special thank you to our 100 volunteers as well as our sponsors Florette and all the local businesses who helped with refreshments and pit stops.”
Emma Hodges, Chief Executive of St Giles Hospice, said: “St Giles Hospice needs to raise over £6 and a half million pounds every year to provide essential care to local people with a potentially terminal illness.
“The Solstice Walk is our biggest fundraising event of the year so we are incredibly grateful to everyone involved. Every step walked and every penny raised really does help us make a difference.”