When Perfect Colours sales account manager Rachel Heath volunteered to get involved with a Sparkle Night Walk for a local hospice, she had no idea it would involve 5,000 sparkling bunny ears taking over the centre of Chesterfield for the night – or that they’d be able to raise a grand total of £202,500.
Ashgate Hospice Care provides a 21-bed inpatient unit and a 16-place day hospice for the local Chesterfield community, free of charge to patients with life-limiting illnesses. Their aim is to provide the best place to live for all their patients, and when times are tough they extend their support to their patients’ families, too. Rachel has been supporting the charity for the last nine years, since they offered care when her mother was terminally ill.
“Ashgate Hospice gave my mum brilliant care when we needed it, and I’ve supported them however I can ever since,” says Rachel. This year, that has taken the form of Rachel volunteering as a marshal for the 10-kilometre Sparkle Night Walk – which has just broken records for being Chesterfield’s biggest ever fundraising event. Setting off at 10pm, the 2,563 walkers, all dressed in bright pink t-shirts and sparkly bunny ears, took between two and three hours to complete the route around Chesterfield town centre.
The Chesterfield bypass was closed for the event, but most of the rest of the route was on still-open roads, so the marshals at 28 marshal points had an important role to play in keeping the walkers off the roads and making sure they crossed roads at appropriate crossing points. “It was our job to keep the walkers safe as they walked the route,” explains Rachel. The marshals were ably assisted by the local fire service cadets, who turned out in force to hand out bottles of water to the walkers.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” adds Rachel. “Seeing a sea of 5,000 sparkly bunny ears setting off through town was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There were face painters as well, using UV face paint to add to the effect, and there were entertainers and giveaways along the route.”
The Sparkle Night Walk for Ashgate has become a local annual fixture, and the level of support is evidence of how much the local community values the outstanding services they provide. To find out more about the event or to make a donation to the hospice, visit their website at https://www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk .
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