‘Perfect evening’ for the Starlight Walk

Some of the St Lukes Starlight Walkers
Some of the St Lukes Starlight Walkers

A bumper fundraising boost is expected following the latest Starlight Walk in aid of St Luke’s Hospice - which saw around 1,000 people turn out for a dusk stroll through the Porter Valley.

Organisers hope the walk, from Endcliffe Park up to Forge Dam and back again, will raise at least £100,000 once sponsorship money is tallied up.

And as well as the main event last Saturday, there was plenty of fun to be had before it began, with a live band, beer tent, a hog roast and more.

Ceri Jones, St Luke’s capital appeal development manager, said the event had been moved forward from May last year, when it had been very cold.

“July is not quite as dark but we have a perfect evening. This is now one of our four big annual events and we’re delighted with the turn out,” he added.

Among the walkers was Jonathan Slater, who was walking with Lindsay Washbourne and children Katie and George in tribute to his wife Deborah, who passed away three years ago.

“She was in St Luke’s for her last three weeks. The hospice supported her - and me, for months after that,” said the 46-year-old from Owlthorpe.

“I’ve been involved in other fundraising events, such as playing a gig with my band, but the good thing about the Starlight Walk is that is brings together a lot of people together in one place, it’s a focal point for us.”

Caroline and Daniel Baldock, both 23, from Chapeltown, took part in memory of Caroline’s grandad Roy, who died 12 years ago from bowel cancer, and Daniel’s grandfather Jim, who had the same condition.

“They looked after him until the end, it was 24/7 care and nothing like a hospital,” Caroline said. “You could go and visit whenever you wanted, there were no visiting times or anything. I’ve done the Race for Life before but this is my first Starlight Walk and I’m here with my cousins. It’s a nice relaxed atmosphere.”

Meanwhile 19-year-old Courtney Smith from Parson Cross was one of a six-strong team from the Youth Justice Service taking part.

“I’m walking in memory of my gran but helping St Luke’s is a bit of a family tradition, we’re very fond of the charity,” she said. “I’m also here with my 11 week old son Isaac - I think he’ll be the youngest person completing the course,” Courtney added.