THERE were smiles and laughter as Mercedes-Benz World was tickled pink by the walkers in this year’s Midnight Walk for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices.
The event is in its sixth year, and the hospices’ biggest fundraiser continued its cash march in flashing style on Friday.
Women aged 13 and over walked the eight-mile route around Brooklands, New Haw and West Byfleet with a smile on their faces.
More than £100,000 was pledged on the night, raised by around 640 walkers, keeping last year’s staggering total of £130,000 firmly in sight.
Participants were encouraged to bring a friend along in a bid to double the amount of money raised this time around.
Fundraising events manager Sue Spencer said: “It’s always a very emotional evening for many taking part, but there’s such a wonderful atmosphere and everyone was still in good spirits when they finished.
“Thank you to Mercedes-Benz World who provided this wonderful venue, and to the other corporate sponsors who supplied the refreshments and goody bags.”
The charity need to raise £19,726 every day to keep the hospices open. In 2006, the Sam Beare Unit in Weybridge Hospital was under the threat of closure and a public consultation was held.
Residents strongly voted to retain the service in Weybridge, and Woking Hospice were chosen by the Primary Care Trust to manage it as an independent charity.
It was re-named the Sam Beare Hospice and opened in August 2006 under Woking Hospice management.
Office manager at West Byfleet Infant School Gill Davis, who was part of the largest group of walkers – who boasted 97 women – explained what had motivated such a grand number of her friends to take part. She said: “This year, we are walking in memory of Charles Frewin, a parent at the school who passed away in April.
“He came to the school Easter service this year, and told the children about the wonderful work of the hospice and added that he wanted us to raise the roof and continue fundraising.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support and have made more than £9,000.”
There was a raffle for the night walk with prizes on offer from Old Woking-based hair and beauty salon, The Surrey Retreat.
Each walker paid £15 to enter which included a trademark owl T-shirt, goody bag and refreshments.