It was the night of 1,000 stars, the night that 1,000 people lit up the streets of Sheffield and supported St Luke’s Hospice by raising at least £80,000.
And one of the brightest stars of all was mum and medical secretary Eve Garrett, who persuaded almost 100 friends and colleagues from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to join her for Night Strider, the major new fundraising event for Sheffield’s only adult hospice.
Eve, who joined BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Paulette Edwards to officially start the event, told the fully illuminated crowd assembled at the start point in Tudor Square how she had been inspired to get involved by the death of her best friend, Helen Fisher, who was a patient at St Luke’s as she battled against cancer.
“Helen would be so pleased to know that so many people have joined Night Strider to work in her memory – it’s unbelievable,” said a delighted Eve.
It was a story reflected throughout the crowd as participants all wore messages bearing the names of loved ones and friends who, like Helen, were patients at St Luke’s. Night Strider, sponsored by Gripple, Reward Health, Irwin Mitchell and Decathlon, was a night-time sponsored walking half marathon and 10k challenge, raising vital funds for St Luke’s.
Starting out from Tudor Square in Sheffield city centre at 9.30pm, Night Strider took in some of Sheffield’s finest and most popular locations, passing through Crookes before heading out to Fulwood, on up to High Storrs and then towards St Luke’s itself before beginning the descent back into the city via Abbey Lane, Millhouses, Sharrow and the Botanical Gardens.
“To say we were overwhelmed by the levels of support and enthusiasm from everybody who took part would be a massive understatement,” said St Luke’s Events manager David Martin.
“This is a first for St Luke’s and a first for Sheffield and we aim to see it become a major landmark on the city’s annual fundraising calendar, an event that everybody looks forward to taking part.
“We need to raise at least £5.6 million annually to keep the hospice open so to have raised at least £80,000 in just one evening is an extraordinary achievement and everybody who took part should be proud of what they have done.
“To see so many people prepared to give up their Saturday evening and walk into the night was incredible and we thank them all for their hard work and dedication.”