Charity

ELLENORS’ TWILIGHT WALK JUST GOT BIGGER – NOW COMING TO GRAVESEND AND DARTFORD

Join #Teamellenor for one of the most iconic events on the charity sporting calendar. 

A continuing and overwhelming level of public support for ellenor’s annual Twilight Walk has led the hospice charity to launch a second 10km fundraising walk this year.

The walk, which began 13 years ago in Gravesend, has gone from strength to strength, raising a staggering £86,000 last year. The electric atmosphere with a crowd of over 1,000 supporters strong, has always made the event a firm favourite with ellenor supporters. It is expected the original walk will be as popular as ever this year, and now there is also the chance to take part in the NEW Dartford Twilight Walk.

Not only will you have one of the most amazing evenings of your life, but your support can help to change the lives of those living with life limiting conditions.

Far from being just a walk, the Twilight Walk has always been a celebration of generosity and community spirit bringing people together – all dressed in orange T-shirts, with poignant remembrance messages on their backs. They will walk in solidarity to raise money for their local hospice and to remember loved ones or just to show support for those impacted by death, dying and bereavement in our communities.

Supporter engagement officer Melissa Rosenqvist said: “It’s easy for families and friends to join in, and they don’t have to do a skydive or run a marathon. It can be good for people in two ways – it’s a fun night to remember but it is also a way to share memories of people they have lost and to pay tribute to them. It’s always been ellenor’s way of painting Gravesend orange – and now we’ll be able to do the same to Dartford.”

ellenor provides hospice care for adults and children living in North Kent and Bexley. Services include an inpatient ward, a Living Well programme and hospice at home care. Clinical nursing support is offered to children in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, often in their own family homes.

For ellenor supporters like Katie Ferris and her family the new Dartford event will make the September challenge even easier as she lives virtually opposite the start point. She is planning to do the walk-in memory of her husband Paul’s grandmother, who died in ellenor’s Northfleet hospice.

She said: “There’s always such a lovely atmosphere at the Twilight Walk – it’s something for everyone.  It’s a chance to talk to others openly about the people they have loved and lost and their reasons for being there.

“I have done the Gravesend walk twice. The first time I had lost eight stone and did the walk on my own, which was very emotional for me and a real personal challenge after losing all that weight. I started with my friends from Slimming World, but I wanted to up the pace, so I ran on ahead. All the family were cheering me on. I also had a spiritual moment when I felt I couldn’t carry on. My grandmother seemed to be telling me I could do it – and I did!

“The second time my two daughters and my future son-in-law joined me, and it was amazing. We raised about £250 between us.”

Katie admitted that some of her weight crept back on during lockdown, but she has joined Slimming World again as part of her quest to be as healthy as she can. The Twilight Walk has given her a new goal to focus on.

Following Paul’s grandmother’s death in 2017, she was inspired to volunteer in one of ellenor’s charity shops in Dartford, until she took a full-time job two years ago. Her daughters are also ellenor supporters. As well as doing the Twilight Walk with their mum last year, Chloe offered free face painting at a Christmas breakfast in aid of ellenor and Amber, who is an art college student, made bunting to support ellenor’s children’s hospice events.

Melissa said: “Katie and her family are typical of Twilight Walk supporters. Many have a personal reason for wanting to take part. Others just want to support their local hospice and enjoy a community event.

“This will be ellenor’s 12th Twilight Walk, 13 if you count the walk we held virtually during lockdown. We were a bit apprehensive when we held the event again last year but on the evening everything just felt normal. There were 1,200 people there supporting their local hospice.

“People enjoy being part of a big group. It’s just good fun and it’s such a positive thing that we are now also able to put on another Twilight Walk in Dartford too!”

How to get involved:

The Dartford walk will be on September 16 – The Dartford route starts and ends at Dartford Valley Community Rugby Club in Cotton Lane and follows approximately 10k around Dartford past The Orchard Theatre. 

The Gravesend walk will be on September 23 – The Gravesend route starts and ends at the Cyclopark, following another 10k route through the town and past the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara. Both walks start at 7pm with registration from 6pm.

If you sign up before June 19 there is an early bird fee of just £20, although it is possible to join up any time right up until the night of the event. There are also reduced entry fees for children.

Participants are also encouraged to ask friends and family for sponsorship. Everyone who takes part is given an ellenor T-shirt to wear — and a medal at the end.

ellenor is ready to welcome walkers to the Twilight Walk start line on 16 and 23 September. To find out more or to sign up for either of the Twilight Walks go to https://ellenor.org/twilight 

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