Hundreds of women from across northwest London gearing up for charity walk in aid of hospice
The St Luke’s Hospice Midnight Walk – now in its tenth year – involves a nine or five mile route around Harrow and is filled with colour and laughter.
Pink is the order of the day as the women don their bright t-shirts, feather boas and whatever else they can get their hands on to light up the evening. And while many will take part for fun, it also gives people the opportunity to remember their family and friends, raise awareness of the work done at the hospice and give thanks to the tireless efforts of its staff.
Laura Montaut, whose grandmother, Elaine, was cared for at St Luke’s, explained how this year she would be taking part in honour of her Nan as well as those who helped her in her final months.
She said: “I have done the Midnight Walk 4 or 5 times in the last 8 years but, last year, I lost my beautiful Nan and I experienced first-hand the amazing work that St Luke’s do.
“So this year my aunt and I have gathered a team of 11 wonderful women and we will march together in her memory as ‘Elaine’s Angels.’
“Thanks to St Luke’s and the remarkable palliative care they provided my Nan in her last few months, weeks and days were as comfortable and painless as they possibly could have been and she passed away in the comfort of her own home with her family around her and a smile on her face.
“St Luke’s not only made my Nan’s last days comfortable but really supported my family during the most heart breaking time,” she said.
“They were extremely caring and kind and nothing was too much trouble. I have a very large family and no matter how many times they had to explain something they did it with such compassion and were so gentle with us all.”
She added that seeing the streets lined with pink would have certainly made her Nan smile. Another perennial walker, Bala Vekaria, noted how the event gives people an opportunity to contribute to the legacy of their loved ones who are no longer with us. Her parents were cared for at the hospice and she explained how taking part in the Midnight Walk gives her the chance to “keep their memory alive”.
“Over the years we have managed to encourage work colleagues and friends to join in and participate in the Midnight Walk,” she said.
“They have all said what a brilliant night it is and it’s such a bonus that they have helped raise money for a worthy cause. My family and I take part every year to show our appreciation.”
The evening kicks off with some entertainment and a group warm-up to add to the community feel and blow away any cobwebs. Rekha Patel, communications manager at St. Luke’s, explained how people really get into the swing of things by customising their outfits, taking part in zumba sessions and mixing in with one another.
“There really is a special atmosphere and I think that when people notice this, any tiredness they might have soon disappears,” she said. “Everyone’s in pink, there’s a lot of craziness and everyone is in a great mood. Even if it rains, it doesn’t stop people walking and nothing dampens their spirits.
“And now, particularly with social media, the walkers love to take loads of pictures selfies and put them online.” Rekha noted how the walk has been going from strength to strength and how more than 1300 people are regularly involved.
This year, they have added in a five mile loop for those who would prefer a shorter walk and every participant still gets a well-earned breakfast at the end. Starting at Harrow Leisure Centre, the walk takes place on 30 June – fitting, since St Luke’s is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
• For registration details and more information, visit www.stlukes-hospice.org or call 020 8382 8112.