St Nicholas Hospice Care’s annual Girls Night Out will return to the streets of Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, September 14, with registrations for the event now open.
Since the event began in 2009 it has raised £1,520,544 for the charity, which supports people living with death, dying and grief in West Suffolk and Thetford.
With more than 13,328 pairs of feet pacing the pavements of Bury over the years, organisers are hoping record numbers of women will continue to join them in remembering loved ones and supporting the hospice.
Jenny Smith, the hospice’s events manager, said: “Girls Night Out has become a ‘must do’ experience for thousands of women who team up with family and friends to walk in memory of loved ones who have received exceptional care from the hospice.”
“Even after 11 years, the event still continues to be an emotional occasion for me, as I stand on the stage and look out across the thousands of women either shedding tears or waving and cheering.
“This year we will continue with the Memory Minute, where just before setting out on the walk, all the ladies will be invited to shine their torches or phones into the sky and to think about the special people we love.”
The occasion, which sees women, put their best feet forward and walk either 11.2 or six miles while wearing pyjamas and flashing bunny ears helps raise vital awareness of the hospice and the many services it provides across the area.
Last year 2,100 women took part, resulting in an amazing £226,000, and with this year’s walk once again supported by main sponsor investment managers J M Finn, organisers are hoping even more women will join them on the night.
Brett Bayliss, head of the Bury St Edmunds office for wealth manager J M Finn commented: “We are more than happy to be involved in such a successful event that touches the heart of thousands of local women who walk in remembrance of a loved one.”
“We encourage all the ladies to sign up and get involved in fundraising for the hospice, which I know does great work in the community supporting people living with death, dying and grief.”
As the countdown for this year’s event begins, Jess Mills, of Cockfield, will be gathering family and friends again for the Griggs’ Girls team who last year raised £1,500 for the hospice.
Walking in memory of her mother, Jackie Griggs, who died just five months before last year’s Girls Night Out, Jess says taking part helps them retain an important connection with the charity.
She said: “Mum lived with cancer for 15 months and thanks to the hospice’s community nursing team she was able to die peacefully at home.
“Taking part in Girls Night Out for the first time last year was an emotional and amazing experience. When I looked around and saw other people shedding tears for loved ones, I felt I wasn’t alone in my grief. The marshals cheer you along and people come out of their houses along the route to support you.
“My mum would have loved Girls Night Out and she would have laughed at me having to stop at the hospice to feed my eight-month-old baby, Ada. The stop set the team back a bit but I was determined to finish the route by midnight.”
During the event, walkers will be able to remember their loved ones with messages and pictures, as the two memory boards, one on Angel Hill and one at the hospice in Hardwick Lane will be back again this year.
Other features – such as entertainment, hot chocolate, and medals for participants – are also returning this year.
Registration for the walk is now open, with an early sign-up offer of £10 per person valid until May 31 (£15 registration from June 1 onwards).
Walkers should try to aim to raise £100, but any sponsorship participants can raise is appreciated. They will also receive a T-shirt and medal.
You can sign-up online at www.girlsnightoutwalk.co.uk
You must be aged 14 to take part and those between 14 and 17 must walk with someone over the age of 18.
Pictured above are ladies walking and waving at last year’s tenth Girls Night Out.