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Women step out to support St Giles Hospice at Lichfield event

An estimated £80,000 has been raised for St Giles Hospice at an event in Lichfield city centre.

More than 850 women took part in the fourth annual St Giles Solstice Walk at 10pm on Saturday (June 19).

Women gearing up for the Solstice Walk in Lichfield

Women gearing up for the Solstice Walk in Lichfield

The nine-mile course saw fairy wings, magic wands and enchanting fancy dress as the Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed walk took place before hundreds of balloons were released in memory of loved ones.

Peter Holliday, Chief Executive of St Giles Hospice, said:

“The sight of so many people of all ages coming together to support a common cause really was something to behold, and their magnificent efforts have ensured that this year’s Solstice Walk was one of the biggest fundraising events ever held for St Giles Hospice.

“With every single penny of the proceeds funding the free services we provide, Saturday’s event has made a huge difference to our care for local people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. On behalf of St Giles, I would like express my gratitude to everybody who took part in the Solstice Walk, their generous sponsors and all the volunteers and marshals who gave up their time to help out on the night.”

Rory Payne takes a first-hand look at the Solstice Walk event:

The Solstice Walk event saw women dressed as fairies, (with the odd exception such as a bumble bee or ladybird), parading the streets of Lichfield.

All of those taking part had gathered sponsors, with many collecting more than £100 for this good cause.

The Friary Leisure Centre on Eastern Avenue was set up as the base camp, with ten desks spread across the sports hall, each manned by two volunteers and enough glow sticks to light the entire Cathedral. On the sports field stood a large white tent, consisting of stalls and a DJ, who was eagerly getting the women into spirits for the night ahead.

There was a quiet ambience – almost a quiet before the storm, when suddenly fairies were flocking into the hall to register. Tutus, wands, feathers and glitter swamped the volunteers.

Once registration was complete the Tinkerbells and Peaseblossoms gathered on the playground in front of a small stage, their presence created a sea of pink of which their excitement swirled. The warm up began and hundreds of the magical creatures burst into life. However amongst all the fun and excitement the true and important purpose of the event remained in the minds of all those taking part.

Luckily I had the opportunity to talk to some of the women taking part, and discover the purpose of their trek.

Dee Kalirai from Heath Hayes sat on a bench alone holding her I-pod earphones in her hands. She told me that she had lost her father in 2003 and that although he wasn’t in the hospice, the nurses still gave the support the family needed.

This story was familiar with many people doing the walk. Dee added that she had raised £185: “It’s a group of ladies all walking for an excellent cause,” she said.

Melissa Adkins sat close to her grandmother who was busy helping people to register. She sat quietly with a message on her pink top stating that she was ‘Walking in memory of Norman Fairley’. She explained that this was her grandfather who she had only recently lost. Too young to take part in the main Solstice event, Melissa did the lunchtime walk with her cousins.  Her mother was walking at night, showing how some families get entirely involved, much like the family of Laura Brown who also took part in the walk around the Cathedral.

Laura is a student and columnist for the Lichfield Mercury where she tells of her own health struggles. For the walk she was joined by her mother Julie, aunt June Canning and sister Sarah.

The family were determined to complete a lap – but explained they would have to see how Laura felt before continuing.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.