Fundraisers step forward for first charity Sunset Walk

Hundreds of people turned out in Sutton Coldfield at the weekend for the launch of a new John Taylor Hospice fundraiser.

Dressed in flower crowns and fancy dress, 400 walkers took part in the Sunset Walk through Sutton Park, raising thousands for the charity that cares for people living with a terminal illness.

Following a high-energy Zumba warm-up the fundraisers set off from Sutton Town Hall on their 10k route – with many walking in memory of loved ones and to raise vital funds to support the work of the hospice.

Walking together in memory of their father Owen Sheridan were sisters Audrey Jackson, Jo Townsend and Sharon Moore. “Our wonderful dad Owen, or the Silver Fox as we called him, passed away in May 2018 from oesophageal cancer,” explained Jo (pictured centre).

Audrey, Jo and Sharon – ‘The Sheridan Sisters’

“Our dad received the most amazing care from John Taylor Hospice. We will always be thankful for everything they did for him and for allowing us to care for Dad at home with dignity until the end. Their commitment, care and support was also extended to us by every member of the team that cared for Dad and we counted our blessings for them every day during that time.

“We know first-hand how much this hospice is needed in our community and the crucial part it plays in people’s lives and we are so excited to support them here today and in the future.”

Owen Sheridan – described by his daughters as: “Just the best, so funny and charming and with a sparkle in his blue eyes that made him unforgettable and loved by everyone he met.”

After completing the 10k route, walkers returned to the Town Hall for a sparkling fizz after-party where participants were presented with a special Sunset Walk medal and glass of bubbly to toast their achievements. Weary walkers were also treated to a tasty surprise courtesy of Erdington-based business Papa John’s who delivered complimentary pizza for everyone taking part.

Debbie and Bob Franklin were walking in memory of Debbie’s mum Helen Gillespie.

Hospice Community and Events Fundraising Manager Emily Boate said: “A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the first-ever Sunset Walk. It was just wonderful to see so many people coming together to remember their loved ones and to support John Taylor Hospice.

“As a charity, the hospice relies heavily on the generosity and kindness of fundraisers. It was so heart-warming to see so many people taking part to raise funds for local families in need of hospice care. We were overwhelmed by such an incredible show of support and have so far raised over £11,000.

“There was such a party atmosphere at the Sunset Walk and we are delighted to hear just how much people enjoyed themselves. Many of you have asked if we’re holding the event again next year and the answer is definitely yes! We haven’t set a date yet but watch this space and we can’t wait to see you all again in summer 2020.”

Chris Southern, Kevin Bridgewater and James Smith were walking in memory of Phil Smith – AKA ‘Chief’.

Event survey

Did you take part in the Sunset Walk on 20 July? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Please complete this very short survey to let us know what you enjoyed and if there is anything we can improve on for next year’s event. Thank you.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7VH259B

Sunset Walk photo gallery

Can you spot yourself in our Sunset Walk photo gallery? Check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page! Link: https://www.facebook.com/jthospice

Our special thanks go to:

  • Volunteers who kindly donated their time as marshals along the route, who staffed stalls and the registration desk and took photographs at the sunset backdrop
  • Glyn Page of GAP Fitness for his fabulous warm-up
  • Immediate Medical Care for being on-hand to provide specialist first aid
  • Sutton Town Hall for being our wonderful hosts
  • Papa John’s in Erdington for their generosity and for supporting their local community
  • Switch Radio for playing great tunes and creating a party atmosphere  
  • Sisters Jo Townsend, Audrey Jackson and Sharon Moore for their beautiful opening speech   
  • Raynet Communications for their excellent radio communications support to ensure a safe event for all
  • Professional photographer Phil Hitchman for capturing so many special moments on camera
  • Dareane Chick for bringing sparkle to the event with her exceptional face-painting skills

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What our patients think

“I’d have really struggled without them”

“They’ve been ever so good to me and that’s why I wanted to fundraise and do something to help just like they’ve helped me.”

Philomena Sharpe

“The impact they had will never be forgotten”

“The community nurses were so helpful and they’re lovely people. They put my mind at rest and it’s such a comfort to know you’re not on your own.”

Jackie Day

“An angel sent into my life”

“I can’t thank Angie (patient and family support worker) enough for everything she’s done for us. She’s so reliable and professional – a wonderful person. She took away all these worries and was there for me in my time of need.”

Patricia Smith-Evans

“I’ve really enjoyed it”

“The FAB Programme has helped me to get fitter and my walking is better. Everyone is really nice at the hospice, they’re friendly and they’re good company. I’d recommend it to anyone who is in a similar situation to me.”

Don Bell

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