Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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Pyjamas on parade for Carlisle hospice

Lively groups of women and girls partied in their pyjamas – and paraded through the streets.

All dressed as if tucking up for a cosy night in, they were actually enjoying a big night out.

More than 100 women took part in a pyjama party last night to raise money for Carlisle’s Eden Valley Hospice and its sister unit Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice. And they attracted some curious looks as they strolled through the streets – wearing their onesies, dressing gowns and slippers.

The evening of fundraising kicked of with live music at Carlisle Racecourse and got everyone in the mood for their 10km parade.

The walk took the women from the racecourse, into the city centre – taking in places including Botchergate where they joined Friday night revellers – on a circular route back towards the starting line.

Tracey Murray, of Belle Vue, and Marie Johnston, of Bleaberry Way, also in the west of the city, went to work at K France Opticians dressed in their pyjamas in preparation for the walk.

Marie, 38, who was taking part in memory of her dad, said: “It’s the experience. I’d like to thank everyone for sponsoring us so far. We’ve raised about £450.”

Tracey, 48, added: “I’ve just come to join in and have a laugh.”

Leona Cameron is support services manager at Eden Valley Hospice. She said: “It’s about women coming together, having fun while doing it and remembering loved ones.

“There’s not many people in Cumbria who haven’t been touched in some way by the hospice. Somebody once said it’s like an insurance policy. You never know when you’re going to need it.”

The hospice relies on £2m worth of fundraising each year to continue its work.

Its fundraising manager, Katrina Sander, said: “The hospice wouldn’t exist without the support from the community.”

Gillian Marr, 63, and her daughter-in-law Kim Young, have been doing the fundraising walk, in its different guises, for a decade.

She said: “My closest friend died in the hospice. It’s tremendously important that people have somewhere where they feel loved at the end of their lives.”

“It’s a good excuse to buy another onesie,” added Kim.

While many were taking part in memory of a loved one, others were doing it simply to show their support for the charity.

Ruth Pooley, 31, of London Road, and her pink bunnies team from the Cumberland Building Society were among them. She said: “It’s an amazing charity. You never know when you might need it yourself.”

Colleague Jenny Beattie, 29, of Carlisle, added: “My auntie was supported heavily.

“She had motor neurone disease. It is a charity close to my heart. We’ve come as the Cumberland Building Society team to support local charities and good causes. We want to give something back.”

Another team member, Clare Thompson, 36, of Sandsfield Park, said: “It’s a really good local charity. The support they offer people is fantastic.

“There’s always someone you know that’s experienced it and you never know when it might be you. It’s good to give something back.”

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