‘Mum will be looking down on us,’ says midnight walker Laura

Laura and Paul Kirk
Laura and Paul Kirk

A daughter and her dad will be taking part in a charity’s Midnight Walk for the fourth year running in memory of their mum and wife.

Laura and Paul Kirk, both from Hemel Hempstead, will be striding out for Berkhamsted-based The Hospice of St Francis at its flagship fundraiser on Saturday, June 28.

Sue Kirk PNL-140618-120544001

Sue Kirk PNL-140618-120544001

The event - now little more than a week away - will be nearly three years after they lost their beloved Sue to cancer, aged just 52.

Nursery nurse Laura, 30, of Bury Road, near the town centre, said: “Mum was a star and a fighter and we miss her so much, but I know she’ll be looking down on us, spurring us on and knowing we’re doing it for her and others like her.

“She went into the hospice three times after cancer was diagnosed in February 2010.

“Throughout the whole time, the care she received from the hospice until she died in September 2011 was second to none.

“The hospice was like a second home and the support and friendship it gave us at a time when we needed it the most was amazing.

“It’s a very special place and we want to do everything we can do to raise money so it can help other people going through what we did.

“Until you’re in that situation, you just don’t realise what’s involved, but it was just positive all the way.”

Laura and retired project manager Paul, 61, of Woodhall Farm, will be donning their trademark pink and blonde wigs for the walk.

They will join a sea of flashing bunny ears on the five-mile route from Hemel Hempstead School.

Laura said: “I get a real buzz from doing it. You’re with all those people doing it for the same fantastic cause and it’s incredible.”

Paul said: “It’s the one time of the year when I can legitimately don my blonde wig and walk the walk to help raise some money for this great hospice.

“Many thanks to everyone who’s sponsored me on past walks and mega thanks to anyone who sponsors me this time. Every penny really does count! “

The five or 11-mile circular Midnight Walk is open to everyone over the age of 11. It costs £20 to register or £15 for under 18s, which includes an exclusive pink T-shirt, refreshments en route, finisher’s medal and hot bacon butty and hot chocolate at the end.

Participants are also asked to secure sponsorship to help ensure that the vital work of the hospice, which cares for people living with life-shortening illnesses, can continue.

This year the hundreds of walkers will be joined by local actress Rosie Marcel, who plays heart surgeon Jac Naylor in the BBC One drama Holby City. Rosie will be starting the event, inspiring the midnight walkers as they gather excitedly before the off.

Hospice community fundraiser Jamie Smith said: “The Midnight Walk is the perfect night to remember loved ones like Sue, do something amazing in their memory and celebrate the amazing care the hospice provides to patients and families within the local community.

“It’s also the perfect excuse to get fit for the summer, enjoy a fun night out with friends and family and help us raise 80 per cent of the £4.7million we need every year to fund our free services.”

You can sign up by clicking here or by calling 01442 869555 or by emailing fundraising@stfrancis.org.uk.

Online registration closes at midnight next Tuesday, June 24, but walkers can still sign up on the night from 9pm at Hemel Hempstead School.

To sponsor Laura, click here and to sponsor Paul, click here