Support us, albeit virtually, by taking part in our Virtual Sunrise Walk over the months of May and June to support babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families across Surrey and London.

Our much loved event, the Sunrise Walk, usually consists of two summertime walks, a Richmond route and a Guildford route, – which start at 4.30am, allowing participants an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque scenery and surroundings as the sun rises.

Due to the current pandemic, as with many events of its kind,we had to make the devastating decision to cancel both Sunrise Walk events. This means huge financial losses for us as we rely on fundraising for 90% of our income in order to provide vital care and support to families facing the unimaginable.

So, at a time when we are all embracing a daily walk, we are asking people to sign up to our event and support whilst you walk!

You can do the Virtual Sunrise Walk your way any day throughout May and June – whether it’s walking around your local park at sunrise (helping with social distancing as everyone else is asleep!), taking one of the routes solo or stepping into your garden to get your daily exercise whilst seeing the sun come up (or go down if you’d prefer!).

If local to Richmond or Guildford, we can provide the official Sunrise Walk 10km or 20km routes or you can plan your own. And if taking on the challenge with the family, we’re created a special activity sheet to keep children occupied during and after the walk.

What’s more you will receive an electronic certificate and, when possible, receive a special Sunrise Walk 2020 medal.

Alexa Dizon, Head of Challenge Events at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “Our Sunrise Walk events are always so well supported, bringing people together and raising a huge amount of money for us. At this uncertain time we wanted to offer something for people in the community to get involved in, whilst still following the current guidelines, that’s fun and rewarding. We’re encouraging those taking part to share their sunrise or sunset photos and have already received some wonderful photos and comments. We understand it’s a difficult time for people financially, so are asking people to raise what they can – every penny helps us to continue support the most vulnerable families at a time when they need us most.”

Mum Helen Golder was joined by son Tom, friend Lisa and grandparents Pauline and Alan Watts to complete their Virtual Sunrise Walk this week in memory of son Matthew who was supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

Helen Golder said, “We took part in the Sunrise Walk in Richmond last year, which was amazing so when we heard this year’s was cancelled we decided to do our own 20km walk around Richmond, whilst practising social distancing of course. I was joined by my eldest son Tom for the first part, and Matthew’s godmother, Lisa, for the second part. We weren’t very good at judging the distances though, I did two lots of 11km and my parents did four lots of 5.5km – so we definitely did our distances!”

Alan Watts said, “Last year’s walk was such an eye-opener for me as I witnessed scores and scores of lovely people, including my daughter Helen and wife Pauline, completing the Sunrise Walk. When talking about this year’s event, I made sure that my name was added to the ‘runners and riders’. 20km in one walk was a little beyond Pauline and I, so we donned our trainers on four separate days and ended up completing 22km. Every step was for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and the wonderful work they do.”

The family have so far raised an amazing £1020 – Helen concludes, “It was lovely to walk for a purpose, think of our Matthew and help to raise money, in his name, for this amazing charity.”

Also keen to get involved in a fundraising challenge, 11 year-old Poppy Poole decided her Virtual Sunrise Walk would take place in her garden – challenging herself to walk 20km (1000 lengths of her garden!) to raise money for the charity who cared for her sister Elsie.

Poppy Poole said, “I heard about all the amazing fundraising people are doing during lockdown and wanted to do something too. Shooting Star Children’s Hospices looked after Elsie really well and were kind to me so I want to be kind to them. Especially as I was sad to hear that they aren’t getting as many donations at the moment. 20km was a big challenge for me to walk but I wanted to give it my best shot and have fun.”

In a beautifully decorated garden, complete with positive messages, fairy lights and rainbows, Poppy set off just as dawn was breaking so she was able to see the sun rise as she walked, triumphantly running her last two laps to complete her challenge – raising a fantastic £1000. Poppy said, “I’m just pleased I could make a difference and add to Elsie’s fundraising achievements.”

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices are facing a very real and immediate crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a lifeline to over 700 families and the demand for our service is forever increasing. The hospices have never been more vital to children living with complex medical conditions, and their families, who desperately need support.

If you’d like to take part in your own Virtual Sunrise Walk and support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices you can find out more and sign up here.