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Starlight-supporting sisters sign up again for Mothers' Day

Two sisters who lost their Mum to cancer will mark Mother's Day by signing up to our ladies night walk event for the tenth consecutive year.

Anne-Marie Clegg, 34 and her sister Catherine, 36 have taken part in the East Lancashire Hospice ladies only walk every year since it began in 2006, but this year the new Raring to Glow walk will be particularly special for the duo as it marks ten years of the ladies only night walk.

The sisters and their Dad have paid tribute to their Mum and the hospice that cared for her. Barbara Clegg was just 57 when she succumbed to a rare form of cancer. She was first diagnosed in 2005 and had radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Following this treatment she was well enough to return to work as a probation officer in Leyland, but during a holiday to Prague in March 2006 she began to feel unwell again and on her return was admitted to the hospice for about a month. Anne-Marie and Catherine said her stay at the hospice really helped her and the whole family.

Anne-Marie said: “The hospice sticks in our memory out of everyone who was involved in caring for Mum. They went beyond what we expected. I went to visit her one day and she’d had her nails done. Another day one of the staff had given her a pedicure. She also had lymphoma treatment like massage and some tips on how to do it herself too. It was no problem to take my laptop in so she could play a particular game she liked. There was one volunteer that my Mum particularly got on with during her stay. Like all of the volunteers she was so dedicated and committed. We saw in a hospice newsletter that she’s been given an award for her work. My Mum would have been so pleased that she’d been recognised for what she did.”

And Catherine added: “I was in Leeds at the time my Mum was in the hospice so was commuting over. On a Sunday night they made sure I could have tea with my Mum on a Sunday evening. I was always really impressed with the choice of foods and my Mum commented on how impressed she was too. I still remember how tasty the chocolate mint pudding was! You can also help yourself to tea and coffee whenever you want. You’re encouraged to treat it like home and that’s definitely how it feels when you’re there.”

Barbara’s husband Peter, 68 who had a successful operation to treat colon cancer 4 years ago said the family would have been lost without the support of the hospice. He has also volunteered as a marshal on the Starlight Walk. Peter said: “The hospice isn’t dreadful, horrible and downbeat, it’s actually a very happy environment. All the volunteers and staff were really helpful. We had no worry about how we were going to care for Barbara. Everything was just sorted. When she was able to come home they organised a bed to be brought in for her and nurses came to help care for her too. We support the hospice where we can and donate to the sunflower appeal and light up a life each year as well as the girls doing the walk too.

“The year I volunteered to be a marshal on the walk it didn’t stop raining for the whole night. I was near the bridge at Lower Darwen to direct and support all the walkers and we were all soaked to the skin, but they all kept going and spirits were still high. I enjoyed being part of the event.”

Catherine encouraged those who have never done the walk before to sign up: “If you’ve never done it before, try it once. The atmosphere on the night and the camaraderie makes it unforgettable. It’s great to be able to chat to the other walkers and stewards. One year we noticed a lady who’d been walking near us was struggling as we were climbing the final hill. I told her to stay with us and she’d do it as we didn’t want to leave her behind. Our group have always crossed the finish line together with our arms linked – it just makes it feel special that we’ve completed it together.

If you’ve not done the walk for a while, this is the year to come back and do it again .There’s always something new like the glow theme this year and whatever you can raise is invaluable.”

Anne-Marie added: “We couldn’t have done without the hospice so we want to help others. Even if you’ve never experienced the hospice you should still join in the Raring to Glow event – it’s a great thing for the community and you never know when you might need the hospice in the future.”

The Raring to Glow run, jog or walk is open to ladies and girls aged 10 and over and takes place on Saturday 4th July 2015. Entrants and volunteers can register now by clicking here or by calling 01254 733411.