13.1 MILES


Plymouth turns pink for the St Luke's Midnight Walk 10th birthday

Mist and rain didn't dampen the spirits of thousands of local ladies who took to the streets of Plymouth last night for the biggest charity birthday party the city has ever seen.

The annual St Luke' s Hospice Plymouth Midnight Walk, sponsored in 2016 by Nash & Co Solicitors, celebrated its tenth anniversary with 1,700 ladies donning the distinctive pink t-shirts to raise funds to help look after people in our area at the end of their lives.

Leaving in staggered groups, the sea of pink washed the city with waves of walkers going three, six or 13.1 miles to start and finish at the University of St Mark & St John. And the ladies certainly took the party spirit to heart as women dressed from top to toe in pink waltzed out onto the course for live music from the in-house band, Reckless.

Jade Popplewell from Stoke, completed the 6 mile course with mum Louise Barrett. "It was such a lovely atmosphere and everyone was in good spirits said Jade. "It's our second year walking in memory of Ken Barrett who died in St Luke's at Turnchapel as the ladies were walking 2 years ago, so this is a very emotional and memorable night for us. The doctors and nurses were brilliant and made those last moments so much better. Nothing was too much for them, even arranging to take dad's bed out into the hospice garden so he could take in those amazing views out to sea and Smeaton's Tower.

It was a first time for Sharon Scantlebury from Plympton. 3 miles and £250 raised, Sharon was walking in memory of her Dad Stuart Davies who had bowel cancer. "Without St Luke' s Dad would have had a horrible ending as he didn't want to go into hospital" said Sharon. "At St Luke's it was very personal, six of us were allowed to stay with him on his final days which meant so much to Dad and the family. After Dad died, St Luke's were still there for the family, particularly mum. The charity will always have a special place in our heart".

People tooting their horns and shouting words of encouragement from their windows really spurred us on during the wet weather" said Gemma Harris from St Jude's.

It was a family affair for mum Jacqui Woodward and 12 year old daughter Izzy from Stoke. Walking 13.1 miles in a record time, Jacqui said: "It is a cracking event. The marshals en route were great and the support from members of public really lifted the atmosphere. I admire how inclusive the event is, everyone walks together in a mass group and offers such encouragement when it gets tough out there. Really impressed with the amount of food and refreshments throughout the night to keep us going into the early hours, the Costa at Marsh Mills was a lovely touch, so was the buck's fizz breakfast at the finishing line. Tonight was for the amazing, Mick Woodward. He spent 10 days at Turnchapel and the outstanding love and care St Luke's provided inspired us to continue to raise money for them."

If walking 13.1 miles wasn't enough of a challenge, Amiee Smith and Emma Cummings completed the course handcuffed together. Emma from Beacon Park said: "It was a challenge from colleagues at work to walk handcuffed together and certainly added an extra dimension to the walk. The route for us got tough when we hit Embankment Road and we started to get tired and blistered, that's when we needed to dig deep. But we did it and are so proud of our achievement. The night from start to finish was fantastic. The little touches before the walk including makeup, hair, live band and photo booth were really nice and all added to the girlie experience".

Emma Winter, St Luke's Senior Event Fundraiser said, "I hope all of our ladies had as much fun as I have. It's a huge amount of work to put this on but we know the money raised helps people every day all over our area so we're just really happy to do it. Thank you to everyone and please get your sponsorship money in so your walk can really make a difference."

The hard-working local charity would like to thank everyone that contributed, donated or volunteered to make the walk possible including University of St Mark & St John, St John Ambulance, Devon & Cornwall 4x4 Rescue Services, Torbridge High, Costa Coffee Marsh Mills, Plymouth University, Plymouth Argyle, Sainsbury's Armada Way, Portlebay Popcorn, House of Fraser, Friary Mill Bakery and M J Baker.

The Midnight Walk is St Luke's flagship event, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to support the most needy in our community, either in their own homes, at Derriford Hospital or at their specialist unit in Turnchapel.