Warm-hearted walkers battled 10k, 20k or 30k at the crack of dawn on Sunday 31st May for our flagship event, Sunrise Walk – and raised £25,000 so we can continue providing vital support for bereaved families.
Despite the wind and rain, over 200 people completed the walk, which started at Ham House in Richmond at 4.30am and passed picturesque sights including Richmond Park, Bushy Park and the Thames. Walkers remembered loved ones by decorating paper lanterns that lit up the beginning of the route, and the event began with a minute’s silence.
Participants included supporters from the local community; families cared for by Shooting Star Chase; corporate partners; the charity’s staff and volunteers; and the MP for Twickenham, Tania Mathias. Long term and loyal supporter and volunteer, Bridget Bagnall aged 67, has completed over 20 challenge events for Shooting Star Chase and was the first 20k walker across the finish line with a time of 3hours 25 minutes.
Sue Key from Hampton, a bereaved mum whose son sadly died 18 months ago, took part in the Sunrise Walk and said it was a special event for her:
“I did the Sunrise Walk in memory of my son, Oli. He died of cancer aged 16 and Oli and my family were cared for by Shooting Star Chase throughout the end of his life – and we still receive bereavement support from the charity.
“The walk was a special time for me – I passed lots of places that have strong links with our family and amazing memories. I am a rower so we spent lots of time together on the river when Oli was growing up and walking in Richmond Park when he was small.
“We passed through Kingston which reminded me of his time at school there and we stopped at Hampton Court Golf Club where his graduation would have been. It was really special to be able to think of him during the Sunrise Walk in the places that mean so much.”
Emma Edwards, Challenge Events Manager at Shooting Star Chase, said:
“Now in its third year, the Sunrise Walk enables Shooting Star Chase to continue providing our bereaved families with the support they need during an unimaginably difficult time. Just £100 could help pay for sessions of counselling for families so it’s fantastic this year’s event raised £25,000.
“A huge thanks to all our participants – the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and it was inspiring to see so many people of different ages get up in the early hours and walk the long distances to show their support for the families we care for.
“Thanks too to our 45 amazing volunteers, who gave their time to help at the event marshalling, setting up and cheering on our walkers. They were still smiling despite a very early start and a wet and windy event!”
Fancy taking part in one of our challenge events? We have something for everyone!
You can check out our Sunrise Walk gallery on Facebook.