Moonlight and Memories Walk to mark 10th anniversary

Last years St Catherines Hospice Moonlight and Memories Walk in Lostock Hall; then bride-to-be Suzanne McGary celebrated her hen night for the occasion
Last years St Catherines Hospice Moonlight and Memories Walk in Lostock Hall; then bride-to-be Suzanne McGary celebrated her hen night for the occasion

The biggest annual sponsored event organised by St Catherine’s Hospice reaches its 10th anniversary this year - and the charity is appealing for 1,000 walkers to help hit a fund-raising target of £100,000 to celebrate.

The Moonlight and Memories Walk first took place in 2007, when a proud parade of more than 2,000 ladies wound its way around Preston in the middle of the night.

Petra Grundy and Val Warry donned eighties fancy dress last year

Petra Grundy and Val Warry donned eighties fancy dress last year

Over the years since, this special event has welcomed thousands of people - including men and children since 2012, when it was opened up to all in honour of the Preston Guild year - all united in remembering their loved ones whilst raising vital funds for the charity.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, June 4, and features a 10-mile route - a mile for every year.

There is also the option of a four-mile family-friendly route, both starting and finishing at the hospice in Lostock Hall.

Among those striding out will be Petra Grundy and her friend Val Warry. They have taken part in all but one of the walks over the past decade - and say they always try to keep the date free as it’s an occasion they enjoy so much.

“The photos and messages remind you of why you’re there, and it’s really quite emotional”

Fund-raiser Petra Grundy

Petra, who last year turned out dressed in 30th anniversary banners and eighties accessories in honour of the hospice’s 30th birthday, said: “I remember I first heard about the walk back in 2007 via a clipping from the newspaper - I thought it sounded like fun and a brilliant way to raise money for St Catherine’s, which is such a wonderful local charity.

“Val and I signed up and have never looked back! We always keep the first Saturday in June free and think of a different outfit or accessories we can wear to make it different from the previous year.”

She added: “We keep coming back because there is such a brilliant atmosphere on the night - everyone is chatting and laughing and comparing notes on their outfits.

“Even if you are there on your own, you’re made to feel so welcome.”

Petra, aged 57 and from Clayon-le-Woods, said this year would be another poignant occasion as she will walk in memory of her good friend Amanda Nisbet who died from breast cancer recently.

“What’s really moving is seeing all the different messages on people’s T-shirts,” she said. “They’re walking for mums, dads, grandmas, friends - all kinds of special people being remembered.

“The photos and messages remind you of why you’re there, and it’s really quite emotional.

“It’s good knowing you’re doing something so positive to remember them by.”

Norman Cutler, senior fund-raiser at St Catherine’s and Moonlight and Memories Walk organiser, is urging walkers old and new to come together and join in the 10th anniversary celebrations this summer.

He said: “We’ve got a bold target to work towards this year after a fantastic year in 2015, when more than 900 walkers raised nearly £95,000 - what an incredible achievement!

“Now, as we mark a decade of moonlight and memories, we’re asking people to round up their friends and family and sign up together to show their support.

“All the money raised will be used to provide our specialised care for local people who need us.

“Every single penny helps us to raise the £5m we need each and every year to be able to deliver our services at the hospice, in the community and in people’s own homes.”

Registration is £15 for adults and £10 for under 18s.

To sign up visit www.stcatherines.co.uk or call 01772 629171.