A sea of flashing bunny ears lit up the night sky above Burnley as more than 1,000 women completed the fifth annual Pendleside Hospice Midnight Walk.
Girls and women of all ages donned their pink T-shirts to walk eight miles and raise money for the hospice on a clear, warm night.
Many of them were doing the walk in memory of a loved one who had been cared for at the hospice.
Alongside them an army of volunteers gave up their night to ensure everything went smoothly.
A party atmosphere hung in the air above Burnley Football Club’s Turf Moor ground where the walkers registered and gathered for the start of the race.
A stage set up in the James Hargreaves Stand car park saw tribute band ABBA Fever belt out hits as the walkers registered and assembled.
Presenters from 2BR Christopher Dean and Jason Hardy also acted as MCs on the night.
Among those tackling the walk for the first time were friends Sammy Sawley, Sarah Link, Shula McEvoy, Disa Booth and Katie Salttery, from Burnley.
Barclays Bank staff Sam Dixon, Heather Kayley and Danielle Cooney had raised £650 which the bank had promised to match-fund.
The evening was especially poignant for Heather, from Burnley, as it would have been her late brother-in-law’s birthday. The trio said they planned to stop at his graveside at Burnley Cemetery during the walk. Heather also lost her dad, Mick Davis, to cancer last year. He was cared for by the Hospice at Home.
She said: “I think the Midnight Walk is a brilliant idea. It’s nice that work have promised to match-fund what we raise, too.”
Mother and daughter Yvonne Howell and Lisa Douglas, from Brierfield, have now taken part in all five Midnight Walks. Yvonne, who works as an auxilliary nurse for the hospice, said: “Events such as this are so important for us because we need all the money we can get. I would urge women everywhere to take part.”
Joanne Nuttall from Bacup was doing the walk with her daughter, Imogen Paige (12), and her schoolfriend Natalie Jefferson (12).
Kylie Ogden, from Albert Street, Colne, was one of a group of 15 friends taking part.
She said: “My friend’s mother died earlier this year. She was cared for by the hospice who were excellent with her.
“It’s a really good atmosphere and it’s nice to see so many people taking part.”
Others from Colne taking part included Mandy and Jade Phair, Angela Moore and Laura Morgan.
Nichola Stewart and Paula Riley commented on the “brilliant atmosphere” before the walk.
Over the past four years, participants have raised around £800,000 of much-needed funds for Pendleside Hospice; money that will be used to provide care for local people diagnosed with cancer or other life-limiting illness and support for their family and carers.
Hospice fund-raising manager Mrs Kaye Bartle said: “Our Midnight Walk is one of those events that really does put the ‘fun’ into fund-raising.
“It was a great atmosphere on the night and an amazing sight to see so many ladies gathered together and walking to raise funds for Pendleside Hospice.
“We also had around 130 volunteers that gave up their time to help on the night too – either at Burnley Football Club or on the route making sure the ladies were kept safe while they were walking.
“We want to thank everyone for their contribution towards this event, either by participating or volunteering their time.”
Kay revealed that 1,041 women had pre-registered to take part with around another 30 on the night. They had pledged £77,238 on the night but the hospice expected this figure to go up with Gift Aid and other contributions.
She added: “The figure is slightly down from last year but it is still a tremendous of people from the area supporting us. It was a wonderful night and a great amount of money raised.”