1,000 take part in Portsmouth walk for The Rowans Hospice

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IT is an event that raises tens of thousands of pounds in memory of loved ones.

And once again determined fundraisers have gone the extra mile to raise money for The Rowans Hospice through the Moonlit Memories Walk.

The annual Moonlit Memories Walk, to raise money for The Rowans Hospice. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141868-998)

The annual Moonlit Memories Walk, to raise money for The Rowans Hospice. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141868-998)

Around 1,000 walkers strolled across Portsmouth as a way of saying thank you to the worthy cause for making their relatives’ final days as comfortable as possible.

Sylvia Harper, 51, flew over from Cyprus with her husband Derek, 56, to take part in memory to her mother Ena Brown, 76, of Gosport, on the second anniversary of her death. Other family members joined them for the walk including Ena’s husband Gordon, 82.

Mrs Harper said: ‘To actually do this on the day she died is special.

‘Knowing she was at The Rowans for the last few days of her life is comforting for us. It’s brilliant that so many people can join us.’

The group met up on Castle Field and enjoyed a vigorous warm-up routine before setting off.

Teams either had the choice of taking up a six or 12-mile route on the night. The walks took in Old Portsmouth and the Historic Dockyard and the longer route covered Eastney seafront. 
 Walkers got to light a candle in memory to someone at Portsmouth Cathedral and Portsmouth City Band played at the dockyard.

In total, £95,000 was collected in sponsorship for The Rowans through the event, which is in its seventh year.

Sisters Belinda Colley, 47, and Laura Chapman, 44, were remembering their father Albert ‘Albi’ McCann, who died earlier this year and played for Pompey from 1962 and 1974 as a midfielder.

Ms Colley said: ‘The Rowans staff are remarkable.

‘From the moment they came to us they took the burden away.

‘They changed the last week of his life.’

Cllr Steven Wylie, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, got stuck into the warm-up routine and cut a ribbon at the entrance to kick things off.

He said: ‘It’s special being here because when I started my year in office, I dedicated it to my mum Penny who died at a hospice.

‘The way that hospices and The Rowans do things is special and these are the things we need to highlight.’