The Foyle Hospice has appealed to the women of Derry to help them set a new record for those participating in this year’s Female Walk/Run.
The event has become an annual staple in the Hospice’s calendar of fundraising events, attracting upwards of well over 4,000 people year on year.
Last year’s event almost tipped the 5,000 mark with 4,800 people in attendance, with the Foyle Hospice now hoping to set a new milestone with this year’s walk/run, which takes place on Sunday, June 8.
Noel McMonagle, Community Fundraising Manager with Foyle Hospice, encouraged local women to now help them set a new record this June.
“The biggest turnout we’ve ever had was 4,960 a few years ago, and it would mean a lot to us if we were to break past the 5,000 mark this year,” he said.
“The Female Walk/Run is our single biggest fundraising event. The running costs of the Hospice last year was £2.6million, so it’s vital that we get as many people as possible signed for this year.”
Noel added that since its inception in 1983, the Female Walk/Run had now created a legacy where many generations of the same family take part in the event together.
“The first one was in 1983, which was run with Sparta, then we took it ourselves the year after that,” Noel added.
“Those finished in 1987, and we resurrected the event in 2000 to coincide with the International Year of Women, so we started the whole thing afresh, and the first event saw 1,300 taking part.
“We were delighted at the response we got when we started the Wak/Run again, and there’s been a huge upsurge year on year since it was brought back.
“What’s great about the event is the social aspect to it, where you have families out enjoying the day together, mother, daughters and granddaughters walking together, and there’s been a lot of friendships forged through the event down the years.”
Noel continued that it also gives people who have had loved ones cared for by the Hospice the chance to commemorate family members who have now passed on.
“In the last few years we’re seeing a lot of people come out with t-shirts remembering a family member who was being cared for by the hospice, and we think that’s a nice gesture,” he added.
Noel also said that new route of the Walk/Run, particularly with the addition of the Peace Bridge and Ebrington Square, had added a new dimension to the event.
“The fact that we now end up in Ebrington Square has made such a difference to us,” he said.
“Before, when we finished up in the Sports Complex, it wasn’t possible for people to sit about and have a chat, it was all a bit of a rush, but that’s all changed now.
“Those taking part can now sit, down, put their feet up and enjoy the craic, and with this event in June we’ll be having music and entertainment in Ebrington Square.
“Also, anyone who wants to can feel free to turn up in fancy dress, because that all adds to the carnival atmosphere.”
Noel added that the Walk/Run fulfilled their three folds purpose of raising public awareness of the Foyle Hospice, raising much needed funds and encouraging exercise and a healthier lifestyle.
“We’ve also been working with the local running clubs and going out to local schools to highlight the benefits of taking part,” he said.
“All in all, it’s a great day out for a good cause, so we would love to see a great turnout and finally get past the 5,000 mark.”
Meanwhile, June Coates, corporate communications manager Seagate, added that the firm was delighted with its continued association with the event.
“It’s a great event, and one that really resonates with our employees which is evidenced by the number of participants from Seagate in the Walk/Run,” she said.
This year’s event takes place on Sunday, June 8.
If you would like to take part in the event, contact the Foyle Hospice Fundraising unit on 71359888 or go to www.foylehospice.com.
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