Southern Co-operative fundraisers complete Neon Night Walk for Whizz-Kids

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WEARING neon accessories and fancy dress, fundraisers walked through the streets of Portsmouth all in the name of a good cause.

Employees and supporters of the Southern Co-operative decided to have some fun and do a 10-mile Neon Night Walk across the city supporting disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz.

READY, SET... The walkers get ready for their charity walk with a warm-up routine in the lobby of 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour                                         Pictures: Sarah Standing (150765-5930)

READY, SET... The walkers get ready for their charity walk with a warm-up routine in the lobby of 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour Pictures: Sarah Standing (150765-5930)

Starting from 1000 Lakeside North Harbour, the team of 30 staff made their way through London Road down to Gunwharf Quays before taking another route back up through the city to the business park.

Southern Co-operative area manager Dips Hathi was part of a team of 15 walkers who raised around £800.

He said: ‘My managers work hard every day and it’s a bit of fun for us, plus this is our corporate charity.

‘We are very much about the community and that’s why we decided to take part.’

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: Anne Buckingham (47) and Tanya Oxberry (43) took part in the walk. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5863) PPP-150417-195030001

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: Anne Buckingham (47) and Tanya Oxberry (43) took part in the walk. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5863) PPP-150417-195030001

Participants enjoyed taking part in a warm-up dance routine before setting off.

Whizz-Kidz ambassador Hattie Little, 16, the charity’s board member for the south-east, came along to share her story.

‘This raises awareness of Whizz-Kidz, it’s a charity that opens up the lives and provides independence for disabled people in the local area,’ she said.

‘It helps us to get more friends.’

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: (l-r) Sharon Hibberd (44), Andrew Cotterill (48) and Julie Humphreys (53) who all work for the Southern Co-operative also took part in the walk. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5873) PPP-150417-195043001

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: (l-r) Sharon Hibberd (44), Andrew Cotterill (48) and Julie Humphreys (53) who all work for the Southern Co-operative also took part in the walk. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5873) PPP-150417-195043001

Steve Collins, manager of the Co-op store in Great Southsea Street, Southsea, said he was inspired after watching a video including another ambassador for the charity talking about how their life had been improved.

Friends Tanya Oxberry, 43, and Anne Buckingham, 47, said they were glad to take part in something worthwhile.

Tanya said: ‘I have never done a sponsored walk this far before.

‘It’s great to do this for a worthwhile charity.’ Anne added: ‘I’m used to walking long distances anyway, it’s nice to do something to help children.’

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: The Neon Night Walkers set off from 1000 Lakeside. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5938) PPP-150417-195107001

17/4/2015 (MOL)''The Neon Night Walk took place on Friday evening at 1000 Lakeside. ''Pictured is: The Neon Night Walkers set off from 1000 Lakeside. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150765-5938) PPP-150417-195107001

The charity also runs monthly Ambassador Club meetings at the Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth, which are open to all children up to the age of 18 with a disability.

Each runner was set a minimum target of raising around £100 each.

Heather Ridley, corporate account manager for Whizz-Kidz, said: ‘It’s amazing to see these guys give up their Friday night and walk 10 miles and raise funds for us.’