On a bright and fresh Sunday morning, 29 May, hundreds of early birds took part in the Richmond Sunrise Walk to raise vital funds for families supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices – raising £30,000 and counting.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we welcomed back walkers to take on their flagship event, setting off from Ham House in Richmond at 4.30am.

Our unique walk asks participants to come together just before sunrise to raise money to support babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families across West London and Surrey.

The wonderful walkers took on two routes, a 10km and 20km, through the area’s most beautiful and picturesque sights including Richmond Park, Richmond Hill, along by The Thames, Ham Common, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace all bathed in glorious dawn sunshine.

Our Sunrise Walk’s offers a perfect opportunity to reflect, celebrate and remember loved ones, as walkers were able to hang decorated lanterns on a Celebration Tree to light the start line. They also observed a minute’s silence to pay tribute to bereaved families supported by us.

Throughout the walk participants were revived with some welcome refreshments at Hampton Court Palace for the 20km route and Richmond Hill Hotel for the 10km.

This year’s walkers made up of groups, individuals, friends and families, and their four-legged friends – smiled, strode and bounded their way throughout the routes, thankfully in dry, bright conditions.

In celebration of their achievements the walkers were rewarded with a sustainable wooden commemorative medal and cheers as they crossed the finish line. They also had the chance to recharge and refuel with a post-walk breakfast bap and refreshing drinks to enjoy in Ham grounds.

Alexa Dizon, Head of Challenge Events at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, said, ““We want to thank all the lovely supporters who came out in the early hours, and it was wonderful to see some of the families we support join us to walk in celebration and in memory. It was amazing to finally bring the return of our hugely successful Sunrise Walk to where it all started in Richmond and its beautiful surroundings. The Sunrise Walk series, now in its ninth year has always been so warmly received, so with the effects the pandemic had on our events over the past two years, it was all the more special to welcome our wonderful walkers back in person to take on this unique experience and to raise huge funds for the families who rely on our vital care and support.

“A huge thanks to everyone who took part and got up in the early hours and walked the long distances, and to all those who donated and showed support. Special thanks to Brewin Dolphin for sponsoring our T-shirts and some of the team taking part, and of course a thanks to our wonderful volunteers who are always so dedicated and give up their time to help set up the event, marshal, and cheer on our walkers – it really wouldn’t be possible without them! We’re now looking forward to our Guildford Sunrise Walk in June and Snowdon Sunrise Trek in September!”

There is still time to see the sunrise in support us this June, with our Guildford walk on Sunday 26 June, as well as our tougher challenge the Snowdon Sunrise Trek in September!