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NADV1107022 Midnight Walk. The big warm up.  (1107022AM21)
NADV1107022 Midnight Walk. The big warm up. (1107022AM21)

HARROGATE’S favourite starlight stroll returns for its sixth year this summer - with a special early bird offer for those signing up before the end of March. The Midnight Walk, the annual quarter marathon fundraiser in aid of Saint Michael’s, will take place this year on Saturday, June 30. Tony Collins, chief executive of the charity that provides specialist end of life care and support to more than 2,400 local people each year, said: “We are celebrating Saint Michael’s 25th anniversary this year, so as it’s a special year for Saint Michael’s we hope that this Midnight Walk is extra special for the community.

“Since 2007, our Midnight Walkers have raised more than £500,000 to support families in our community living with terminal illness and bereavement – that is a huge impact and something that everyone involved can be very proud of.” The 6.5mile walk will start and finish at the Yorkshire Event Centre on the Great Yorkshire Showground, Wetherby Road, and follow a well lit, fully marshalled circular route around Harrogate town centre.

The first person to sign up to this year’s event and to take advantage of the £10 early bird offer was committed Midnight Walker Sue Oxley, from Wetherby.

The retired deputy headteacher has taken part in the event every year since it began in 2007 and couldn’t wait to secure her place on the star light stroll this time around.

Sue, walking for the second consecutive year in memory of her friend and relative, Moira Wilson, who died in Saint Michael’s inpatient unit in April 2010, said: “It was Moira who originally encouraged me to sign up to the first ever Midnight Walk and we continued to take part together each year until she became too ill. Last year’s walk was hard, coming so soon after losing Moira. But I was determined to do it, both for my dear friend, and to support the charity that cared for her in the last weeks of her life.

“It’s now a bittersweet event for me, but the atmosphere is fantastic and there is plenty of support along the way.

“I love my sleep, but this is the one night of the year that I don’t mind having a very late night.”

Tony Collins added: “Sue is a tireless supporter of the Midnight Walk, raising a significant amount of personal sponsorship to support the services that helped her dear friend.

“We are grateful for her continued support and look forward to welcoming her back this year to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary.” For the fifth year running the event is sponsored by Engage Mutual.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive of the Harrogate-based financial services provider, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Midnight Walk for a fifth year.

“In addition to our sponsorship of the event, we have many staff members who look forward to taking part, either as walkers or through a number of volunteer roles. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of an enjoyable and important community event which supports a great cause.”

The event is also being supported by two media partners, the Harrogate Advertiser series and 97.2 Stray FM. The charity is offering a special early bird registration price of just £10 for those signing up to the event before Thursday, March 31. Places are limited and participants must pre-register before Friday, June 15. People can secure their place today by visiting www.midnight-walk.org. Alternatively, paper registration forms are available from any Saint Michael’s shop or by calling the hospice on 01423 879687.