More than 1,000 women took part in Saturday night’s illumathon ‘sleep walk’ in aid of Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice.
Dressed in a colourful assortment of pyjamas, dressing gowns, flashing bunny ears and tutus, the ladies stayed up extra, extra late in a tribute to the parents and carers for whom a full night’s sleep is a rare luxury.
With two routes to choose from down the Promenade – a five mile or a ten mile trek – the oldest walkers were over 70 and the youngest just eight years old. There were family groups and friends and neighbours walking together; not just from Fylde, but also from much further away.
One group of lady walkers had come from Bury to take part, another pair had travelled from Scotland to be part of the big night.
Many of those taking part were walking in memory of loved ones who had been cared for at Trinity Hospice or Brian House, and before a raucous send-off from Sainsbury’s car park in Bispham there was a poignant minute’s silence.
It was the fifth illumathon – which has become Blackpool’s biggest charity fundraising event – and
Jane Molyneux, Trinity’s Fundraising Director, was delighted with the way things went.
She said: “To have over 1,000 ladies taking part was amazing, and it was a fantastic atmosphere. The illumathon is vital to us; Trinity faces increasing challenges to raise money as the economic downturn continues and demand for our services grows.
“I am grateful to every lady who turned out for us, and to everyone who contributed in any way; from the 100 volunteers who marshalled the event to the St John Ambulance; to the Army who did the cooking at the end and the crew members from HMS Triumph who patrolled the Prom. It was an enormous team effort.”
Linda Nolan was the official event starter, counting down the seconds to midnight and taking to the stage for a high energy warm up beforehand, accompanied by her sister Maureen.
The rain held off for most of the night and the first of the ‘five milers’ were back at Bispham by around 1:10am, with the final ten milers completing the walk by 4.15am.