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Hundreds of women and girls take to the streets of Bury St Edmunds for Girls Night Out to raise money for St Nicholas Hospice Care




Hundreds of women and girls donned their twinkling bunny ears as they took to the streets in Bury St Edmunds for the annual Girls Night Out event.

Excitement was palpable in the air yesterday evening as friends and families from across East Anglia geared up to walk the either six or 11.2 miles around town in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care.

The event, which kicked off from Angel Hill, was a long time coming after last year's occasion had to be held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions.

Barbara Gale, CEO of St Nicholas Hospice Care, who is retiring from her post in December after 16 years, said last night: "It's quite a moving moment to see this happening after having the virtual event.

"And for the community to come together the whole evening and with so many people walking for others, it's absolutely lovely."

The event started around 7.30pm and saw two Zumba dancers warming up the roughly 800-strong cohort, before they set off on the walk at 8pm.

Barbara Gale, CEO of St Nicholas Hospice Care.
Barbara Gale, CEO of St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Preparation for the event started back in March.

Charlie De-Moore, event organiser, said: "It's not a secret that it's been tough fund-raising over the last 18 months.

"So having this event for the town and the hospice is much-needed."

St Nicholas Hospice Care provides help, advice and support to people in West Suffolk and Thetford in the final chapters of their life who are living with long-term and life-threatening illnesses.

Team Fab Five. All pictures: Mecha Morton.
Team Fab Five. All pictures: Mecha Morton.

Many of the women out walking last night were doing so in memory of a lost loved one who has received care with the hospice.

Ana Henriques, of Bury, who was joined by a number of colleagues from Dalehead Foods, was one such person.

"Each one of us has someone that we want to walk for," she said.

Ana Henriques with colleagues.
Ana Henriques with colleagues.

"And to have a bit of fun after two years of lockdown with no fun, no nothing.

"We have been working because we are key workers so it's for us to relax."

Tracy Wheaton and Jane Koopmans.
Tracy Wheaton and Jane Koopmans.

Jane Koopmans was another woman at the event.

"My reason for walking is in memory of my mum, and for everybody else," she said.

Elaine Channen, who has been to every Girls Night Out event since it started in 2009 except one, said: "Somewhere along our journey in life, we know somebody that's been affected by cancer.

"They are a brilliant team, look at what they do."

Mererid Devanney, Ruth Green and Elaine Channen.
Mererid Devanney, Ruth Green and Elaine Channen.

Sally Jacobs was wearing a t-shirt with her mother-in-law, Ann Jacobs, on the front, and said the walk was in memory of her.

"My mother-in-law passed away on November 16, 2019," the Mundford resident said.

"This is a tribute to her and the hospice for looking after her so well."

Becky Jacobs, Sally Jacobs, Kelly McCullagh and Amber Sanders.
Becky Jacobs, Sally Jacobs, Kelly McCullagh and Amber Sanders.

Penny White, of Bury, said it had taken her a lot of courage to join the walk last night.

She lost her husband Paul in December 2019 to cancer. He died just 11 weeks after receiving his diagnosis, and Penny said the St Nicholas Hospice Care team were 'amazing'.

"I stayed with Paul 24 hours for the full week whilst he was at the hospice," she said.

Penny White and Gill Cooksey.
Penny White and Gill Cooksey.

"They made up a bed in his room."

Girls Night Out has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for St Nicholas Hospice Care since its inception in 2009.

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