An enduring tribute to popular dance teacher Betty Blackmore has seen three Ilfracombe ladies complete a decade of Nightwalks for North Devon Hospice.
On Saturday, May 18, Betty’s daughter Linda Weeks, her daughter-in-law Sharron Blackmore and her close friend Margaret Rudd will take on their 11th Nightwalk.
The charity looked after Betty in her final days and when she died in 2008 the trio decided they wanted to do something to show their support for the hospice.
Nightwalk is a ladies-only walk along the Tarka Trail, with more than 1,000 women stepping out to take the challenge, with routes of three, seven and 11 miles from start points at Barnstaple, Instow, Bideford and Torrington.
Linda said: “When mum became ill, we had incredible support at home from Keely, one of the hospice nurses. It made such a difference to all of us.
“After mum died we wanted to do something to show our gratitude for all the care North Devon Hospice had given us, and Nightwalk seemed like a fun way to do it.
“We keep coming back each year because we know how important it is to keep supporting the hospice. Once your own family has gone through it you realise how vital hospice care is during those tough times.”
Margaret said the atmosphere at Nightwalk is the most special element. “It’s always a great feeling on the night because the atmosphere is amazing,” she said.
“Betty was such a dear friend of mine, and I have another friend who’s being supported by the hospice at the moment, so I don’t have to look far for inspiration. If I can walk 11 miles to show my support then it’s the least I can do.”
Sharron added: “As a family it was a very difficult time, but the hospice made a huge difference, so this is a way to give something back. It’s such a fun night and we talk and laugh the whole way. I have very limited sight and when the light gets low I can barely see, but I always get through thanks to the help of my friends and the encouragement of everyone on route. So if I can do it then anyone can!”
The theme for this year’s Nightwalk is ‘Party Like It’s 1984’, in honour of the hospice’s 35th anniversary and the year it first started caring for patients and families in North Devon.
If you would like to join Nightwalk 2019, sign up at www.nightwalk.co.uk before April 1 for the special early-bird rate of just £15.