I have to confess that I’ve only just woken up but I’ve pretty much been up most of the night doing something really cool. Last night, I was a guide marshal for the St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk in Horsham and I had a blast!
Turning up to something where you don’t know anyone at all might be a little bit daunting but the welcome from the volunteering team at Broadbridge Health Leisure Centre was so warm. Lots of smiles! Lots of excitement about an exciting night ahead! With my name ticked off, I picked up my hi-vis jacket, my lanyard that had some emergency contact numbers, a drink, a snack and a torch. I had two positions to cover last night, one from 8-11pm and the other from 11.30pm-3am.
I guessed that I’d be paired with someone at each location and, of course, you don’t know who’ll you end up with. The super lady at my first post could not have been more charming. We had so much in common and we didn’t stop talking! We settled into our camp chairs, ready to stand up once we saw the first sign of a walker coming our way. With more than 900 people taking part, we knew that we were going to be confronted with a really spectacle. At times, there were solo walkers or some pairs but there were times when swathes of people came by, all wearing their charity orange T-shirts and many with accessories too, such as tutus, neon light ears, angel wings and some with as many lights as you’d find on a Christmas tree! Yes, you could tell that many were tired but they managed to muster up the energy to smile. As well making sure they were going in the right direction, it was my job to encourage them so there was lots of positive talk coming from me like “Well done!!”, “You’re doing brilliantly!!”, ‘Fantastic!!”. We had one lady fall but the whole event had an emergency service provider and, in no time at all, we had a paramedic vehicle turn up.
Once we were stood down from our duties, we made our way back to the leisure centre which was also the finishing point. And then I spent some time watching the last few people come through the finishing point on the running track, collect their medals, grab a glass of champagne and a sausage/veggie sausage bap. A sense of achievement was etched on everyone’s face although I could also hear many people feel the pain of walking up some concrete steps after their 7, 13 or 20 mile walk!
You know, I could have stayed in last night but I’d come across the event just 2 weeks ago and saw that they were looking for people to help out. I’ll definitely be helping next year too but I wonder how much else there is out there where our involvement for just a few hours could make all the difference.
So, I’m now up to 39 hours of volunteering with just 11 more hours until I reach my bucket list goal!
Happy weekend, everyone xx