Moonlight and Memories Walk
11 ½ months ago Eileen and I were returning from a meal out when we came across an impressive and rather moving sight. It was late in the evening and along the full length of Leyland Road small groups of people were walking in procession in the annual St Catherine's Hospice Moonlight and Memories fundraising walk. Seeing this wasn’t entirely unexpected because our daughter and her friends were participating but what came as a surprise were the numbers involved.
St Catherine’s like many hospices is a charity is held dear in many people’s affections. I think there are two reasons for this. First many of us have had friends or relatives who have been looked after by the hospice in the final days of their lives. Second it is not hard for us to imagine ourselves in that situation and so would want to be cared for in the comfort and dignity that hospices provide. This is why we respond so positively to fundraising events.
The first Moonlight and Memories walk took place in 2007 – starting and finishing at Preston Docks and was the distance of a half marathon. It was a ladies-only event and 1,800 people took part, raising just over a quarter of a million pounds.
The following year the event moved to the Police HQ at Hutton and was there for a few years.
In 2012, for the Preston Guild Year, it was opened to men and children, and also introduced a smaller eight-mile route.
Last year, to mark the 30th anniversary of St Catherine’s , saw numbers increase after they had dipped for a few years, and around 900 walkers raised £97,000. This was the first time the event started and finished at the hospice with the new route being introduced.
This year, for the 10th anniversary, there are two routes available – a 10-mile option (one mile for every year), and a 4-mile route which is suitable for younger walkers. St Catherine’s fundraising team are hoping to beat last year’s figures in terms of number of walkers and money raised to really celebrate the 10th anniversary. All funds raised in sponsorship help fund specialised care for local people facing conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure.
In total, over the years, around 13,500 walkers have raised £1.7m for the hospice. It's also a very special occasion because people use the walk to remember their loved ones. T-shirts are dedicated with tributes and photos, and there is a poignant Memory Wall back at base where people can post messages.
It’s still the biggest event on the calendar in terms of participants and funds raised. Entry is £15.00 for adults (note both women and men) and £10 for under 18s who must be accompanied by an adult. Go to www.st.catherines.co.uk for an entry form and further details.
Start. St Catherine's Park 10.00pm Saturday 4th June
Distance: 4 miles and 10 miles
Time: Event ends 3.00am Sunday 5th June
Map: Street map of Preston. Route maps and directions can be downloaded from St Catherine's website www.stcatherines.co.uk The routes will be marshalled throughout.
Map by kind permission of Johnston Press
Four Mile Route: Suitable for families and people not wanting to walk ten miles. Turn left out of St Catherine's Park and cross the A6 to continue along Lostock Lane passing Sainsbury's to reach the traffic lights at Station Road. Turn left. Walk through Bamber Bridge to Brownedge Lane traffic lights. Turn left. Keep on Brownedge Lane and continue on Brownedge Road under flyover close to Bamber Bridge FC. Keep ahead to junction and traffic lights at Lostock Hall. Turn left. Follow Watkin Lane to roundabout at Lostock Lane. Turn left for St Catherine's Park.
Ten Mile Route: Each mile representing a year since the first Moonlight and Memories Walk in 2007. Follow the directions for the four mile route until you reach Brownedge Lane. Here keep ahead on Chorley Road (B6258) as it takes you onto Walton-le-Dale. At mini roundabout close to petrol service station turn left towards Preston centre on Victoria Road leading onto London Road and the Ring Road. Opposite the prison turn left into Church Street. Continue through Preston centre on Fishergate and then down Fishergate Hill. Cross the river and climb Penwortham Hill. At the traffic lights turn left into Cop Lane. Keep ahead into Pope Lane passing shops at Kingsfold. Turn right into New Lane and then at the end right again onto Leyland Road. After Lostock Hall traffic lights the fastest of you will be able to join the slowest of the Four mile walkers and in their company return to St Catherine's Park on the route described above.
Other the years this column has trumpeted the benefits of walking as a means of improving well being and health as well as being a highly social activity. In taking part in Moonlight and Memories a further benefit can be listed - providing vital funds to a much loved charity.
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