Sarah Brown, Dougie Brown and Laura Fitzgerald

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The family of a Lichfield man who spent his final days at St Giles Hospice is calling on supporters to join a new fundraising event.

Walkers taking part in the Solstice Stroll will be on the march to support the Whittington-based charity this month.

It comes after the coronavirus crisis forced the cancellation of the annual Solstice Walk event.

The replacement fundraiser will see groups of up to six people walking together to support St Giles Hospice.

Laura Fitzgerald was will be among those taking part after her grandfather Doug Brown died from lung cancer aged 88 last year.

Just weeks after his death, Laura joined her sister Sarah Brown, mum Julie Brown, godmother Cathy Calnan and friends Lucy Hill and Amy Hawksworth to take part in the Solstice Walk as part of Team Dougie.

Team Dougie taking part in the 2019 Solstice Walk

“The first time I did the Solstice Walk I was really ill with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, so it was nice to be able to take part in an event with my family and friends out in the open air.

“Then last year we wanted to thank St Giles for looking after my grandad and to support them for the outstanding work that they do.

“From the moment grandad arrived at St Giles he was like a different person.

“Even when he was really ill, if he wanted to go outside they would fetch us a wheelchair and help him to get out onto the terrace in the fresh air and sunshine, which he really loved.

“We will be forever grateful to St Giles for what they gave to grandad.

“They allowed us to spend as much time as we could with him and helped make the time he had left so very special.”

Laura Fitzgerald

The Solstice Stroll encourages supporters to walk either 10km or 10,000 steps in their own time and at their own pace.

Although the event has traditionally been a women-only fundraiser, this year the stroll will be open to everyone.

Elinor Eustace, director of fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said:

“The Solstice Walk is our largest and most popular fundraising event of the year and we were so sorry we had to disappoint everyone by cancelling it because of the COVID-19 pandemic – however, safety has to come first.

“Each year the Solstice Walk brings hundreds of people together to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones in support of their local hospice, so we hope that the Solstice Stroll will give our community the chance to still get involved in a safe way and at a safe distance.

“Anyone can take part in the Solstice stroll – individuals, family household groups and small groups of six people or fewer, and it’s a fantastic way for all the family to enjoy the summer evenings while getting exercise and fresh air.

“And as usual we want our midsummer event to be as fun and colourful as ever, so we’d love to see everyone in their traditional fairy wings, tiaras and tutus or other fancy dress, which you can share with us on social media using the hashtag #SolsticeSelfie.”

Elinor Eustace, St Giles Hospice

Everyone who signs up to take part in the Solstice stroll will get a digital fundraising pack and a dedicated member of the hospice fundraising team to support them, as well as special goodies as they hit their individual fundraising targets.

For more information or to register for the Solstice Stroll visit www.stgileshospice.com/solsticestroll.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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