East Antrim residents urged to back virtual Hospice Walk

Northern Ireland Hospice is encouraging people to get active this April and join the virtual Hospice Walk.

This year marks the 40th year of the annual Hospice Walk campaign, and whilst Covid-19

restrictions means that people are unable to come together to mark the special occasion, Northern Ireland Hospice are encouraging supporters to put their best foot forward and have their own Hospice Walk on Sunday, April 18, or a day that suits.

The fundraising effort has been well supported across east Antrim and Newtownabbey over the years with walkers supporting the care of people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Olivia Nash MBE steps out for Hospice.

In Larne, droves of people turn out for the annual event, which starts at Larne Lesiure Centre and sees walkers pound the Coast Road in support of this worthwhile cause.

Participants usually have the choice of a five-mile or an eight-mile route.

Meanwhile, the Carrickfergus event, which sets off from Carrick Castle, is one of Hospice’s most popular walks.

Newtownabbey walkers have turned out in numbers to support the Forget Me Not Walk. This walk, which starts at the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Horizon House and finishes at Northern Ireland Hospice, Somerton House, allows people to walk in memory of their loved ones.

Stepping out on the Larne Hospice Walk in 2016 are, Kathy Godfrey, Jackie McFerran, Lynsey Richmond and Sarah Barnes.

Commenting on this year’s virtual event, Give My Head Peace star and Northern Ireland Hospice Vice-President, Olivia Nash MBE, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Northern Ireland Hospice’s funding.

“Despite the challenges that they have faced, they have continued to provide outstanding care to people during the most difficult times. This year, they need the support of our local community, now more than ever, to help raise much-needed funds to continue to deliver its vital palliative care services.”

Mary McCall, NI Hospice Director, added: “The Hospice Walks are a wonderful tradition in Hospice and we are hoping that people will step out and join us as we celebrate our 40th anniversary.

“We have found that people taking part in our Hospice Walk treasure the event as a unique opportunity to actively remember, honour and celebrate the life of someone they love. With more and more people exploring the great outdoors during the lockdown period, the Hospice Walk is also the perfect motivation to get active and to gain a peace of mind.

“Events like the Hospice Walk are vital in helping to support the overall running costs of the Hospice, which totals £16m. The majority of our income comes from the generosity of the local community across Northern Ireland and we are continually humbled by the support that we receive and grateful for every single donation.

“We have seen the demand for our specialist service increase over the last year, and with the help of our supporters, we can continue to be there for families when they need us most.”

The beauty of this year’s virtual Hospice Walk is that anyone can take part wherever they are in the country or world and still be part of our Hospice Walking Community.

You can also plan your route to take in places of particular significance, or landmarks that are connected to special memories with your loved ones.

This year’s Hospice Walk is free to take part in. If you raise £50, you will receive a commemorative 40th anniversary medal, raise £100 or more and you will get a branded eco-friendly water bottle too.

To register for this year’s Hospice Walk, visit: www.nihospice.org/walk


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