Stars of the night walk

starrysd'St Luke's patient Helen Bale
starrysd'St Luke's patient Helen Bale

WALKERS and companies are lining up to support a stroll under the stars this month in aid of St Luke’s Hospice on its 40th anniversary.

The 5k sponsored Starlight Walk from Endcliffe Park to Forge Dam and back on May 21 aims to raise at least £50,000 for the hospice in Little Common Lane, Whirlow.

More than 325 people have signed up so far to join the event, and some of Sheffield’s best known business names are helping with sponsorship.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has provided £3,000 towards the cost of the St Luke’s T shirts the walkers will be wearing and LS Audio is providing a full lighting rig, PA and speaker system, stage manager and DJ for pre-walk entertainment in Endcliffe Park.

Security staff at city centre bar Dempsey’s are hoping to raise enough money in sponsorship by regulars for their team to be able to provide event security for free and employment agency boss Sue Ross is giving her time free to encourage businesses to sign up.

Many businesses are taking part in the walk, which aims to raise money towards the £4m-plus needed to keep the hospice operating annually and providing support for people like Helen Bale. The 61-year-old former careers adviser from Nether Edge was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, which spread to her lungs, liver and bones.

She said: “I’m a single parent so I have to plan for the future, not just for myself but for my daughter, Kiya.

“I’ve been told that although nothing is certain, I may now have only up to a year left to live, but whatever happens I have to be organised.”

Helen is now a regular visitor to St Luke’s therapies and rehabilitation centre.

“I’m only a patient because I asked to be. Part of my forward planning is that I’d rather die at St Luke’s than at home if I can, especially as my daughter, Kiya, is still young and I don’t want to have to put her through that experience.

“I know you can’t always choose these things but that’s my wish and the hospice knows that.

“In the past I have done a few charity things, the Great North Run and the Race for Life, but I know now that I won’t have the energy to take part in the Starlight Walk, so perhaps other people could do it for me!”

St Luke’s director of fundraising and communications Una Moran said: “Both the businesses and the families of Sheffield are signing up and their enthusiasm is going to mean so much to us as we look towards the future success of St Luke’s, a pioneer and still a leader in the field of palliative care.”

The torch-lit walk starts at 8.45pm and there will be entertainment in the park from 6.30pm.

Registration costs £15 per person, £10 for people in groups of six or more and £5 for five-to-15-year-olds.