A mother and daughter are urging others to join them for a night filled with “laughter, camaraderie and sisterhood” at this year’s Strictly Starlight Walk.
The duo put on their walking shoes on Mothers’ Day in training for the East Lancashire Hospice’s largest fundraising event.
Ann Aspin and daughter Nicola from Barrow near Clitheroe took part in the Starlight Walk for the first time last year in memory of Ann’s husband and Nicola’s dad, Alan who passed away in 2010 from a brain tumour aged 65, just six weeks after being diagnosed.
Ann Aspin volunteers at East Lancashire Hospice on reception, a role she took up 18 months ago following her retirement from Calderstones hospital.
Ann looked for a volunteer role at a charity and East Lancashire Hospice stood out to her as a worth local cause and began volunteering on the main reception one morning a week.
Ann said: “I hadn’t heard of the Starlight Walk until volunteering for the hospice but I decided I’d give it a go.
“It was absolutely brilliant. It wasn’t a great night weather-wise as it rained a bit on the way round but the camaraderie and atmosphere with all the ladies taking part was super.
“We really enjoyed the warm up and a policeman even joined in with the YMCA which was hilarious.
Nicola said: “I’m really proud of mum and I know she values volunteering at the hospice.
“She has made friends and gets a lot back from what she does.”
“The Starlight Walk appealed to me because it’s a different way of raising money with other women.
“From the fitness warm up to the dancing policemen on the route, people coming out of houses and pubs to cheer us on and the sausage butties at the end.
“It felt lovely to walk alongside mum and our friend who took part with us knowing that every lady taking part was on the same wavelength as us, all raising money for the hospice.”
Ann added: “It was lovely to pass the hospice tree all lit up as we got to the top of Park Lee Road, it really spurred us onto the end after walking up that hill.
“It can be upsetting thinking that many of the walkers have lost someone close, maybe even their own mums, but I’m lucky that Nicola and I are so close and we have each other.
“We completed the 8-mile walk in just under 2 and a half hours, finishing at 12.30am. The brew and sausage butty at the end was very welcome! Besides being exhausted, I felt as though we’d done something worthwhile.”
Nicola added: “Seeing some of the messages people had put on their t-shirts was both emotional and positive at the same time. “It really brought it home about the importance of raising money for the hospice, but also lifted people’s mood as well.”
Easy fundraising options will be on offer this year to encourage more women to take part, as well as a shorter five mile option for those who find eight miles too much.
Events fundraiser Denise Gee said: “We’ve listened to the ladies who take part every year who told us they find it hard to always ask the same people to sponsor them, so we’ve come up with different options to make it easier to take part.
“As well as the traditional sponsorship form, entrants can alternatively choose a pick-a-dance card and sell places on it at £1 per go.
“Once the 100 dances have been sold, the winner will be revealed and receives a £30 prize.
“The rest of the money goes to the hospice.
“Walkers can also choose to sign up for the hospice lottery at £1 a week for a year instead, with the chance of winning a share of £1,500 prize money each week.
“We hope these options will make the walk appeal to a wider range of women, all signing up with the goal of raising much-needed funds to help care for patients in their own communities.”
The Strictly Starlight Walk takes place on Saturday, June 28 from the Soccerdome, Haslingden Road, Blackburn.
Registration is £10 and is open to women and girls aged 10 and above. Call 01254 733411 to sign up or click here to register.