“When I found out about the Midnight Walk it seemed a great a way to help.”
Laura Connolly has completed the Midnight Walk eight times since it first began in 2011. She tells us why she loves the event and continues to sign up year after year…
“I first took part in the Midnight Walk in 2011. It was the year my Uncle Pip died of bowel cancer, and he was looked after in St Catherine’s Hospice. I was a teenager, and I wasn’t even aware of what a hospice was. I remember realising, for the first time, that it could be someone’s job to look after people in the last few days of their lives. I heard my dad talk about all the amazing things the hospice was putting in place for my uncle and how the staff supported him and his cousins afterwards. I was in awe of those people and so grateful to the hospice.
“After my uncle died, I felt a bit hopeless, and I wanted to do something for the hospice. When I found out about the Midnight Walk it seemed a great a way to help.
“I have now done the event eight times and who I walk with changes every year. It is always family and friends, and my ten-year-old cousin even joined me one year for the first three miles. For me, it is such a great event so why wouldn’t I do it again and again?
“The first time I took part I walked 13 miles. The atmosphere was outstanding, and to this day, I have never experienced anything like it. I don’t think my friend and I really understood how far 13 miles was, so at mile 12 we became slightly delirious! We were so pleased to be given sweets by the marshals to keep us going for that final mile!
“It is such a fun and welcoming environment and it’s inspiring seeing everyone there for the same reason. That feeling doesn’t wear off – I love it – there’s a real sense of camaraderie. The support you get on the route is great too, the marshals give you positive reinforcement the whole way round. No one is negative and they tell you how well you are doing and how much further you have to go.
“So many people taking part are walking in memory of someone. I feel that it’s a way to take the sadness that you don’t know what to do with and channel it into something positive. There are tutus and glow sticks which are fun on the night, but you also have the remembrance wall for reflection.
“Every time I cross the finish line, I feel really proud of myself because it’s a challenge, and you can hurt in places you didn’t know were there! But there is a wonderful sense of pride and as you drink your prosecco at the end, you’re so happy for everyone around you too! The more times I do it, the more times I want to do it. It’s a really positive experience.
“My family and I have now raised £10,500 in total through the Midnight Walk. Whenever I ask for sponsorship, I always ask people to donate whatever amount they can. People know I’m asking for a brilliant reason, and everyone will reach the end of their life at some stage, and they might need a hospice one day. We are always so grateful to anyone who donates. There is a core of Uncle Pip’s old friends who have supported us every year and they donate in memory of him.
“For anyone considering taking part, I’d say do it! I’ll be walking 20 miles again this year. Not only is it a perfect way to be around people who understand, but it is also a way to take something sad and turn it into something inspirational, and you will feel amazing as you cross that finishing line!”
To find out more about the Midnight Walk 2023 or to register to take part click here.