Today we are launching an appeal for 2,000 women to join what has become a popular annual event in the Bury St Edmunds calendar.
The Girls Night Out walk is back for an eighth time on Saturday September 10 and the Bury Free Press is delighted to announce that registration is now open.
Since it started in 2009 the fundraising walk has raised more than £800,000 for St Nicholas Hospice Care, a charity which helps to make living with dying better for people across West Suffolk and Thetford facing long-term or life-threatening illnesses, and their loved ones.
Last year 1,800 women registered for the moonlight walk, raising a record £190,000 for the charity.
This year, the Hospice hopes 2,000 women will take part.
Girls Night Out participants choose to walk either 11.2 or six miles around Bury St Edmunds, while wearing pyjamas and flashing bunny ears.
They gather on Angel Hill as dusk falls, start the walk at 8pm and arrive back by midnight.
Jenny Baskett, Hospice Events and Challenges Fundraiser, said: “Ever since Girls Night Out started people have taken it to their hearts.
“It has continually grown, with many teams and walkers coming back year after year.
“Some see the Hospice as a worthy cause and want to help ra se funds, while some have a strong personal connection to the Hospice and walk in memory of someone they have loved or lost.
“Whatever the reason, we are grateful to everyone who takes part.”
Elaine Channen, of Badwell Ash, will be taking part in Girls Night Out for the sixth time this year.
She said: “I just love it. Girls Night Out is one of the biggest highlights of my year and every walk just gets bigger and better.
“I can’t describe how good the build-up to the walk is.
“From the moment I park my car I feel it and the excitement just grows as I get nearer Angel Hill.
“It is a night the whole town comes together.
The two memory boards will be back again this year, so walkers can write messages about the loved ones they have lost.
“We get some lovely tributes,” said Jenny. “They inspire us all at the Hospice and show us why it is such an important place, and why it is so important to keep raising funds for it.”
Other popular features – such as entertainment, ‘water boys’ handing out refreshments, hot chocolate and bacon rolls (or veggie alternative) at the end, and medals for participants – are also returning.
Jenny added: “We can guarantee there will be a wonderful atmosphere throughout the whole evening.
“We always have a lot of fun at Girls Night Out and this year will be no exception.
“I hope it will be the biggest and best walk yet, so I am appealing for women to sign up to take part and to ask their friends, family and colleagues to walk with us.”
Registration opens today, April 1, with an early sign-up offer of £10 per person valid until May 31 (£15 registration from June 1 onwards).
To register, fill out the coupon in this week’s Bury Free Press and send it, along with your registration fee, to: Events and Challenges Fundraiser, St Nicholas Hospice Care, Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2QY.
You can also sign up online at www.girlsnightoutwalk.co.uk