Norwich mother steps out for Starlight Walk

Matthew SparkesA Norwich woman who has taken part in every Starlight Walk since it was founded will enter again this year in memory of her motherMatthew Sparkes

A Norwich woman who has taken part in every Starlight Walk since it was founded will enter again this summer in memory of three members of her family.

Nursing assistant Joanna George, 39, will complete her fifth lap of the 13-mile course around the ring road on June 18.

The annual event has raised over �200,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, and this year organisers are hoping to attract record numbers of entrants.

Mrs George, from Norwich, has lost her mother, mother-in-law and grandmother to cancer and says she is passionate about fundraising for charity.

For the first two years she entered with friends, but eventually began to recruit family members too.

'I roped in my husband and my step-son,' she said.

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'He was only 13 at the time and the minimum age was 14, and I told him to look older because he wanted to do it.'

This year she will be doing the walk with her staff nurse husband Ray, 51, and step-son Robert, 15, while her younger children Charlotte, seven, and Thomas, six, get an early night.

She said that the walk was well organised and that, importantly, corporate sponsors helped with overhead costs.

'The lovely thing about this is the �25 you put in, you know every penny goes to Macmillan,' said Mrs George.

When her grandmother died in 1997, Mrs George said that the level of support was quite poor, but that years later when her mother was ill things had improved drastically thanks to organisations like Macmillan.

'My mum died of bowel cancer having had ovarian cancer. My granny died of breast cancer having had skin cancer,' she said.

'Having seen her treatment and care in comparison to the care that my mum and mother-in-law got with the Macmillan nurses I think they do a wonderful job.'

She said that dedicated Macmillan staff do all they can to help to make the situation more bearable.

'I think they're particularly special people. To constantly be able to give that support I just think is wonderful,' she said.

'It's just not a job that anybody can do.'

Being able to raise money by doing the walk was a way to give something back for the help her family has received, said Mrs George.

'I was grateful for the support of those people and for me it's just like doing something to make sure that anybody else who needs that support gets it,' she said.

'The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the emotion is something totally unbelievable.'

'It's an absolutely awe-inspiring night.'

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