PHOTO GALLERY: Thousands don bunny ears and PJs for record-breaking moonlit walk

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A record number of women braved the rain as they took to the streets of Bury St Edmunds on Saturday for the annual Girls’ Night Out fund-raiser.

The moonlit-walk – now in its eighth year – saw more than 2,370 women complete six or 11.2 mile routes around the town, many in pyjamas and all wearing flashing bunny ears.

Girls Night Out 2016

Girls Night Out 2016

Among those taking part was Elaine McManus who signed up in memory of her husband, Paul, who died in June last year, age 68.

She was joined by 15 of her friends, family and colleagues – The McManus Mob – who all wore green tutus in honour of Paul’s Irish roots.

“He’d be very proud of all of us,” Elaine said.

Denise Unsworth, a specialist nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, and her 16-year-old daughter, Beth, took part this year for the first time.

The McManus Mob

The McManus Mob

The pair, from Croxton, completed it in memory of Denise’s mother, Mary Vogeler, who passed away in the hospice last year.

“She’d be so proud,” said Denise.

“She’d be laughing her head off,” said Beth, admiring their matching pyjamas.

“We were so amazed how the hospice helped us, not just my mum but us as well as a family,” added Denise.

Denise and Beth Unsworth

Denise and Beth Unsworth

“Even being a nurse I didn’t realise the extra mile they go and we’d like to give them plenty back to help make someone else’s final days special.”

Carla Stark, a drug worker at HMP Highpoint in Stradishall, stepped out with her daughter, Jessica Freeman.

“My friend’s daughter died three weeks ago at the hospice and my dad died there 11 years ago so it seemed a good time to do it,” she said.

Meanwhile, ‘buzzing’ in the fun atmosphere of the event was Val Rogers, of Euston, and Heath Pynn, of Brandon, who even brought their inflatable friend, Mr Blobby, along.

Carla Stark, Jessica Freeman and Catherine Hawkes

Carla Stark, Jessica Freeman and Catherine Hawkes

Of their motivation, Heather said: “I’ve lost at least four members of my family through cancer and Val’s lost two.”

The hospice hopes to have raised £250,000, making it the biggest Girls’ Night Out total yet.

Val Rogers and Heather Pynn with Mr Blobby

Val Rogers and Heather Pynn with Mr Blobby

Girls Night Out 2016

Girls Night Out 2016

Jess Darnell, Michelle Kidd and Alison Hall with friends

Jess Darnell, Michelle Kidd and Alison Hall with friends