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Norwich Starlight Walk a huge success

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:24 01 July 2010

Walkers at the Starlight Walk in Norwich

Walkers at the Starlight Walk in Norwich

David Bale

Thirteen miles walking around Norwich's outer ring road in the dark must be one of the toughest sponsored charity events on the calendar.

But that did not stop about 700 people raising thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support in Norfolk in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Thirteen miles walking around Norwich's outer ring road in the dark must be one of the toughest sponsored charity events on the calendar.

But that did not stop about 700 people raising thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support in Norfolk in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The huge turnout consisted of members of families that had lost loved ones to cancer, others whose families were still affected by cancer, and even those who did it just to show their commitment to helping a good cause.

Wayne Howe, from Eaton, had special cause to do the walk as his twin brother Vinnie Howe was just 36 when he died from lung cancer that had spread to his brain in 2008.

“I definitely had to do it,” he said. “I wanted to do it last year but I had a split disk. This year I'm also struggling, but I've taken pain killers to see me through.”

Stephen Corbould, 51, from Wymondham, did it last year. He said: “My grandson Mark Sweeney had cancer, neuroblastoma when he was just six months old. He's six now and survived.”

Sue Hurst, 57, from Gorleston, said she was doing it because it was such a good cause.

She said: “The Macmillan nurses deserve every penny. I'm happy to give a couple of hours of my time as everyone knows somebody affected by cancer. I lost my boss to bowel cancer and my sister-in-law to liver cancer. This is my third fundraising event this year, as I did Sport for Life and Race for Life.”

Walking buddies Victoria Wilson, 37, and Diana Hills, 47, both from Beccles, must have been two of the more colourfully dressed walkers.

Victoria said she lost her gran, Maria Whitbread to cancer, while Diana lost her aunt, Bridget Carter, to the disease.

Sisters Claire Townsend, 30, from Unthank Road, Norwich, and Karla Sparrow, from Reedham, said their mother, Lynn Townsend, died from breast cancer.

Claire said: “She was looked after by two Macmillan nurses who were brilliant, and that's why we are doing the walk.”

A group of girls who work at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel near Asda in Norwich walked together.

Meanwhile, friends Gemma Chapman, 23, Suzie Henseler, 39, and Alison Hatch, 44, all from Poringland, managed to stay awake for the midnight start.

Gemma said her mother survived breast cancer, and Alison added: “I lost my brother Owen Parsons to cancer three years ago, and he was just 46. I also had a cancer scare earlier this year.”

Sisters Sam Notley, 23, from Sprowston, and Kerry Ducker, 33, from Poringland, said they had no family members affected by cancer. But Kerry, who works at the private Norwich Spire hospital in Colney, said: “I know how much impact the Macmillan nurses have.”

Jenni Maxwell, Macmillan's area fundraising manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “The Starlight Walk just shows what is possible when a community really gets behind an event.

“Every person taking part is helping to support local people living with cancer and together they can achieve something fantastic.

“The money raised this year will be enough to fund a local Macmillan nurse for over 12 months, which will make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of people in the Norwich area.

“It's been great to see such a fantastic atmosphere again, and everyone had a great time.”

The total money raised from the walk will not be known until all the sponsorship cash is collected.

Have you organised an event for charity? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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