THE Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Fremington came alive in a buzz of enthusiasm and a riot of purple on Saturday when more than 200 walkers took part in the Starpath Memory Walk for Children s Hospice South West - and raised more than £18,000 in the proc

THE Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Fremington came alive in a buzz of enthusiasm and a riot of purple on Saturday when more than 200 walkers took part in the Starpath Memory Walk for Children's Hospice South West - and raised more than £18,000 in the process.

The commemorative five mile (or 10 mile circular) sponsored walk made its way to Little Bridge House, as part of the 15th birthday celebrations of the charity.

Conditions on the night were near perfect as a clear bright sky guided everyone along the route and to the beautiful candle lit gardens of Little Bridge House. Walkers of all ages and in all manner of outfits from tu tus to a turkey costume were welcomed with a birthday cupcake, goodie bag and a well-deserved hot drink, not forgetting their all important celebratory medal. Stars were hung in celebration of the memories of loved ones as singer Steve Laister performed a moving rendition of Playground in the Sky.

The proceeds are still coming in but it is estimated more than £18,000 has been raised.

"We had perfect birthday weather, and all the stars were carpeting the sky as friends and families walked the beautiful route from Barnstaple to Fremington village," said Emma Puckey, Head of Fund-raising at Little Bridge House.

"There were memories shared and some tears, as the stars that had been carried by each walker were placed on our Memory Trees. But smiles, lots of laughter and some delicious birthday cupcakes were such a part of the evening - it was the best birthday we could have wished for! It was especially lovely to see so many children walking - boundless energy and so proud to have raised pennies in support of the children and families we care for at Little Bridge House. We are so proud to have been able to share this night of celebration with you."

A number of plucky individuals walked the additional five miles back to Barnstaple and Stagecoach provided buses for the remaining weary walkers.

The money raised will go to support the vital work at CHSW.

Participants are proud to know their hard work will go to help raise vital funds to continue to support the families who use the services of Children's Hospice South West for so many years to come, helping them create magical memories to last a lifetime.