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Supporters step out to shine for Pilgrims in biggest walk yet

Posted on 2 October 2017

Supporters shine for Pilgrims

More than 1,410 supporters put their best foot forward on Saturday to take part in A Night to Shine, Pilgrims Hospices sparkling new fundraising stroll. For the first time, the walk took place simultaneously in the hospice’s three home-areas of Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet.


Setting out from the Julie Rose Stadium, nearly 600 Ashford walkers chose a 5k or 10k lantern-lit route through the town.

It was a great atmosphere. I took part in memory of my brother Paul who was cared for by Pilgrims. It’s really important to fundraise to keep these vital local services.
– Amanda Strong

Victoria Friar, Community Fundraising Manager for Pilgrims, said: “We are thrilled that the first ever Ashford A Night to Shine was so successful. We’d hoped to bring together at least 1,400 walkers across the county, and thanks to all of the generous supporters who came out to get involved in Ashford we have topped that target. Thank you all so much for coming!”

Before setting off, supporters enjoyed disco music from DJ Shaun King and a warm-up with local radio presenter Webbo, who got everyone entering into the spirit and ready for the off! At 7pm, with glowing accessories sparkling in the light of the moon, everyone set off to the sound of the Air and Sea Cadets marching band. Along the route, supporters were invited to pause in Kennington Park to take a short moment of quiet reflection and place personalised memory lanterns dedicated to loved ones. Then everyone headed back to the finish for a warm welcome from volunteers, and to receive their finishers medals and a free leg massage.

Victoria added: “We’ve already received some really positive feedback, which we’re really pleased about, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year. Many thanks to everyone who took part and to everyone who helped make this event possible, including Andrew & Co estate agents, Premier Foods, Givaudan, the Julie Rose Stadium, the Ashford Lions Club and Rotary Club, Kennington CE Academy, DJ Shaun King, Webbo, Paris Robinson and Sophia Stutchbury, and especially the dozens of volunteers who so generously gave their time to lend a hand. We couldn’t have done it without you!”

Supporter Amanda Strong said: “It was a great atmosphere. I haven’t done anything like this before but I wanted to get involved. I especially took part in memory of my late brother Paul who was cared for by the hospice. I’ve had lots of support from my colleagues who have helped me raised sponsorship by giving donations. It’s really important to fundraise to keep these vital local services.”

Becky Cooper, who lives in Folkestone, said: “I really enjoyed my first night walk in Ashford. There was such good atmosphere and it was very well organised. I lost my stepfather to cancer four weeks ago at the hospice and the staff there were a tremendous help for my stepfather and Mum. I thought it was such a good way to raise money for this much needed charity and I’m hoping to take part again next year.”


Setting out from The Pavilion in Broadstairs, walkers took a picturesque coastal route to Ramsgate and back.

Supporters enjoyed disco music provided by Pilgrims staff member Pete Jevons. They were also invited to do with a fun warm-up with local fitness fans Nina, Becks and Sally who were joined by Pilgrims Community Fundraising Manager Karen Kenward and Pilgrims mascot Raffles. At 7pm with A Night to Shine t-shirts, memory lanterns and glowing accessories, supporters set off along a moonlit beach, rising up through Louisa Bay Gap, and then shining along the coastline to Margate.

Karen Kenward, Community Fundraising Manager for Pilgrims, said:  “It really was a night to shine; a truly wonderful evening. Thank you to everyone who took part. Every penny raised by their efforts will help make sure we are there for the next family that needs us.

“To hear the laughter, see the glowing lights and see the sea of flashing lights, bunny ears and crazy accessories was quite magical.

“The Thanet community excelled itself once again, with volunteers marshalling, registering supporters and ensuring everyone enjoyed the event. A special thank you to Thorley Taverns who generously hosted our event. Thank you to everyone who participated in making the evening such a lovely success.”


Setting out from Canterbury Christ Church University, more than 400 Canterbury walkers strolled a 5k lantern-lit route through the historic city.

Before the walk, supporters enjoyed decorating their lanterns and placing dedications to their loved ones on the Memory Wall. At 7pm, everyone set off to the sound of Whitstable’s Samba Pelo Mar band in a party atmosphere. Local MP Rosie Duffield and the Lord Sherrif of Canterbury, Colin Spooner, led walkers off on their lantern parade. Along the route, supporters paused in the Cathedral cloisters and placed their lanterns on Green Court, with music played by Jack Jenkins from Your Music School. Afterwards, everyone headed back to the finish for a warm welcome from volunteers and to receive their medals.

Among those walking in memory was Donna Lankford from Canterbury. Donna said: 
“Pilgrims supported my mum, Margaret Ballard, in 2013. This is our fourth year walking in memory for her at a Pilgrims event. All staff at the Canterbury hospice – from the nurses, to volunteers and cooks – were fantastic. Even now, some of them still remember us. Pilgrims was very accommodating, they treated us like family and nothing was too much trouble. We were even allowed to bring Mum’s dog to visit her. It feels good to give something back on a night like this.”

Deborah added: “It was a brilliant event. We look forward to our next fab fundraiser, Santas on the Run!, along Herne Bay seafront in December.”

“A big thank you to everyone who took part and to everyone who helped make this event possible, including 90 volunteers who so generously gave their time to lend a hand. Thanks also go to Rotary Club Forest of Blean who marshalled and kept everyone safe and motivated; Furley Page solicitors, our local Canterbury sponsor; and the Dean and Chapter for letting us access the beautiful Cathedral Precincts.”

If you’ve been inspired by Pilgrims shining supporters, join us at our brand new festive fun run, Santas on the Run!, on Sunday 3 December 2017. Register now to join fellow Santas as you dash along the seafront at Herne Bay in aid of hospice care.

Every day in east Kent 19 people receive the news that they have an incurable illness and have less than a year to live; a number that is set to rise. We believe each one of them deserves quality care so that they, and their family, can live each and every moment they have well. If you or your family are experiencing Pilgrims care, find out about the support Pilgrims can offer through our Wellbeing and Social Programme.


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