Warm-hearted walkers tackled 10km and 20km at the crack of dawn on Sunday 5th June for our flagship event, Sunrise Walk – and raised a massive £43,000 and counting!

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The sun was shining on the 300 participants who set off from Ham House in Richmond at 4.30am. The walkers passed through some of the area’s most stunning sights, including Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace – after remembering loved ones by decorating paper lanterns that lit up the beginning of the route and taking part in a minute’s silence.

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The Sunrise Walk, which was sponsored by the Pauline Quirke Academy, is expected to exceed last year’s fundraising target of £50,000 and participants included families cared for by Shooting Star Chase; supporters from the local area; corporate partners; and the charity’s staff and volunteers.

The money raised will enable us to provide even more practical and emotional support for families in London and Surrey who are coping with the devastating loss of a child. This includes counselling for mums and dads, play therapy for siblings, bereaved parents support groups and memory days for the whole family.

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Leanne Beardsall is a bereaved mum from Aldershot, whose daughter sadly died in 2013 aged one. Her family receive support from Christopher’s, the charity’s Guildford-based hospice and this year she took part in her second Sunrise Walk.

“The Sunrise Walk was amazing as always with lots of friendly people. It is such a lovely event because it raises money for bereaved families like us and I know just how vital the support from the hospice has been to me and my children in coping with Isabelle’s death. I can’t imagine what life would be like without Shooting Star Chase – I don’t even know what I would have done.”

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Thanking everyone involved, Emma Edwards, Challenge Events Manager at Shooting Star Chase, said:

“Now in its fourth year, the Sunrise Walk enables Shooting Star Chase to continue providing bereaved families like Leanne’s with the support they need during an unimaginably difficult time.

“I’d like to extend a huge thanks to all our participants – 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 charity.

“Thanks too to all of our 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!”

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To find out more about what you can do to raise money for Shooting Star Chase, visit our challenge events page – and view photos from the Sunrise Walk via our Facebook page.