More than 100 local people took to the historic streets of St Albans and embraced the 10-mile Moonlight Walk for Rennie Grove Hospice Care on Saturday September 9.
The Moonlight Walkers were ready to start from Westminster Lodge with their glittery faces and personalised t-shirts after an energetic warm up from Naomiczumba
Nicky from Hemel Hempstead walked with her feline-friend Leo, but not for the first time. “I’ve taken part five times before as well as helping with the marshalling. Tonight I’m in a positive mood… although not sure I’m ready for Holywell Hill! I’m here because Rennie Grove is a fantastic cause… and it’s good exercise!”
Anne and her husband Andy from Harpenden walked to raise awareness of the charity. Anne’s volunteered at Grove House previously running exercise classes for its patients and is thinking about where to venture next with Rennie Grove as it is a charity she wished she was aware of when her Mum was unwell with motor neuron disease three years ago. “If we’d have known Rennie Grove was there to help her, she would have stayed living at home instead of going into care which she hated. Rennie Grove would have made it possible for her to be at home had we have known about it. My aim is to let everybody know that Rennie Grove is here in case they need it.”
A group of four friends from Harpenden collectively agreed to aim for a finish before midnight. “Otherwise we’ll be like Cinderella, turning into pumpkins and whatnot! But we’re here because Rennie Grove is a great local cause that we want to support, despite not having a personal connection with the charity we want to support local people in the community.”
Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Day Services building, Grove House hosted the 3-mile stop off point. Welcomed with hot chocolate and bananas to boost energy levels, participants had the opportunity to place a heart-shaped padlock on the memory fence to signify who they are walking in memory of. The peaceful garden was trimmed with fairy lights - its glow leading the walkers down the memorial Path of Life.
Team Rayner Essex were sporting fancy light lit beanies. The team are from St Albans as well as London and Oxford. Jean is walking in memory of a good friend of hers.
Engel, Maria and Amanda work in the day surgery team at St Albans and have taken part in half marathons and other sponsored events in aid of Rennie Grove.
Nothing fazed 11-year-old Sasha and her family who walked in memory of her Grandad Malcolm. “I’m looking forward to my hot chocolate the most!”
Chloe and friend Issy from St Albans were kitted out with glowsticks and layers as the night got cooler. Chloe tries to support the charity as much as she can:
“My mum volunteers at Grove House in Day Hospice and has done for a number of years. Rennie Grove also cared for my Grandad Sidney so that’s who I’m walking for tonight.”
Sam walked with her two cousins Sophie and Katie in memory of her mum and their auntie Karen to whom they placed their padlock on the memory gate for. “Mum was diagnosed with cancer last year and there was nothing that anyone could do. She only had a few weeks and she made us promise that she wouldn’t got into a hospital. If it wasn’t for Rennie Grove and the district nurses she would’ve had to go into hospital but she was able to stay at home with her family in a home she’d been in for 30-odd years. She smiled until the very end.”
Head of Supporter Fundraising Kate Grigg said: “We are thrilled to see so many local people supporting Rennie Grove and taking part in the Moonlight Walk this year. Events such as these are vital for raising funds to enable Rennie Grove to carry on caring for local adults and children who are living with life-limiting illnesses. If everyone who took part raises £50 then each person will fund two hours of specialist care in a patient’s home or two health assessments in our Day Hospice which would be an amazing achievement.”
“We’d like to thank Naomiczumba Dance for leading the warm-up and getting everyone ready for the walk and also Rachel Jeffery Contemporary Jewellery, Sainsbury’s London Colney and St Albans for sponsoring the event. And of course to all our marshals who kept the walkers on the right track and safe under the stars.”