‘Together we can lick it and help St Francis’

Ella Gardener is doing the Midnight Walk in memory of her grandad.
Ella Gardener is doing the Midnight Walk in memory of her grandad.

Teenager Ella Gardener is remembering her granddad by striding out on this weekend’s Midnight Walk in aid of the Northchurch-based Hospice of St Francis.

Ella, 13, a pupil at Berkhamsted’s Ashlyns School, asked her mum Hilary if she could do the 11-mile sponsored walk in memory of granddad, Tony, who passed away when she was just five.

The youngster said: “I only have a few memories of grandad when he was alive but, as I’ve grown older, I’ve asked my mum more and more about him and mum’s told me loads of stories.

“She also told me that the hospice did a great job of looking after him in its old Shrublands Road site when he was ill, helping him do so many things he couldn’t have done otherwise.

“I’m just keen to show my thanks to them for helping my family through one of its toughest times. I want to do him proud.”

Ella often helps her mum with her vintage ice cream van, Elsie’s Ices, and candy floss bike.

Last summer Ella commandeered the van to benefit the hospice by serving ice cream to the neighbours in exchange for donations.

“I made up the strapline ‘Every lick will help’ and our neighbours in South Park Gardens were delighted.”

Ella will be doing the walk on Saturday, with her friend Eve and is hoping to raise £100 for the Hospice, which provides professional support and care for people with terminal or life-limiting illnesses. To sponsor her visit www.justgiving.com/Ella-Gardener.

The Hospice of St Francis annual Midnight Walk takes place on Saturday and you can still sign up on the night to help raise vital funds for this local charity.

The Midnight Walk starts from Hemel Hempstead School in Heath Lane and people can chose between a five mile or 11 mile route. Anyone wishing to take part in the walk can register on the night – please bring cash or a cheque, no credit cards. Just turn up at the school at 8.45pm.

Registration costs £15 and closes at 9.45pm, with the first set of walkers departing at 10pm. Bunny ears will be sold on the night for £3.

There will be strictly no parking at the school.

“It promises to be a night to remember, an event you’ll never forget and a fantastic opportunity to make a difference,” said hospice senior community fundraising officer, Fran Martin.

Walkers will be helping to raise towards the 80 per cent of the £4.6 million the hospice relies on in voluntary donations annually to continue to provide its services.

To find out more visit www.stfrancis.org.uk/midnightwalk or call the fundraising team 01442 869555.