Local people set to raise over £10,000 as hospice’s flagship event goes virtual
The first ‘Sunrise to Remember: Virtual Edition’ took place on Saturday 12 September, replacing St Barnabas House’s biggest annual fundraising event ‘Night to Remember’, which was unable to go ahead this year due to COVID-19. The virtual event saw hundreds of local residents setting off from their own homes at sunrise on a seven-mile walk in memory of their loved ones. Sponsorship money is still coming in, but participants look set to raise over £10,000 for the charity.
Many of those who took part did so in memory of a family member or friend cared for by the hospice, including eight-year old, Beth Hamilton from Worthing who walked with her mother, Marie Hamilton, in memory of her Nanna, Kate Gladden who was cared for by St Barnabas House in 2015.
“I wanted to take part in Sunrise to Remember because my mummy has done it every year and I wanted to join in too,” says eight-year-old Beth. “I’m walking for my Nanna, because the nurses were really kind and lovely when she was poorly.”
Beth’s mother, Marie, adds, “Mum and Beth were so close so it’s lovely for her to be able to take part and so special for me to have her by my side doing the walk together. St Barnabas looked after Mum so well, so it is the least we can do to say thank you.”
Explaining the importance of the event and why the hospice were so determined to make it happen, Events Fundraiser, Sophie Henderson says, “The St Barnabas House Night to Remember midnight walk has taken place for the last 12 years and holds a special place in many local people’s hearts. As it is so important to our supporters – many of whom take part year after year in memory of loved ones, we were determined to make the event possible, in some way.
“Of course, it wasn’t the same as being able to set off all together as in previous years, but it was amazing to see so many people coming together virtually. The atmosphere was incredible, with walkers joining together live on the St Barnabas House Facebook page at 6am before setting out on their own seven-mile route.”
Participants listened to good luck messages from the care team and patients as well as taking part in a live warm up courtesy of Anytime Fitness. Lots of people also lit a virtual candle in memory of a loved one, and just before the walk began, everyone stepped outside to watch the sunrise together.
During the walk, More Radio Worthing looked after supporters with a special Sunrise to Remember takeover and after the challenge, a cook-along with MasterChef Champion, Kenny Tutt, filmed at his restaurant, Pitch, gave walkers the chance to reward themselves with a decadent brunch of Eggs Royale.
Anthony Ledword, 42 from Littlehampton, took on the challenge in honour of his late partner, Paul Reynolds, who sadly passed away at the hospice in January 2016.
“St Barnabas were there to support not only Paul, but all his family and friends. The staff there all made sure that Paul was always comfortable and treated with dignity and respect. At first, Paul and myself wanted him to spend his last days at home, but as things moved very quick it was better to have him in the hospice where he would receive 24/7 care,” says Anthony.
Anthony continues, “I think this virtual event has been a great idea as in view of these difficult times, we are still able to go on Facebook and see and support each other during the event, and raise money for charity.”
With COVID-19 leading to the postponement and cancellation of many events, virtual events like Sunrise to Remember are vital to ensure the hospice can continue caring for local people, now and in the future. To find out more about other upcoming events you can get involved in visit: www.stbh.org.uk/challenge-events/