Hundreds of hospital staff and members of the community took part in the first ever Big NHS Walk on Sunday 23 June which raised thousands of pounds for ELHT&Me, the official charity of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Almost 200 walkers set off on two 12-mile walks from the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals, with official duties performed by the Mayors of Burnley (Councillor Anne Kelly) and Blackburn with Darwen (Councillor Jim Shorrock).
When all registration fees and sponsorship monies are counted, the BIG NHS Walk will have raised in excess of £10,000 to improve NHS hospital and community services in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen through ELHT&Me.
“It was a great day out and such a nice feeling to know we’ve raised money for our local NHS services”, said Michelle Brown who completed the Burnley-to-Padiham Big NHS Walk.
“I’m so glad the weather held out! The walk was great fun and I really enjoyed it – I’ll definitely be signing up next year”, said Steve Davies, one of the many Blackburn-to-Padiham Big NHS Walkers.
All 200 participants completed a 12-mile stroll through beautiful East Lancashire scenery to meet up at the headquarters of main sponsor, Business First, at Shuttleworth Mead Business Park in Padiham. First to welcome the finishers was ELHT&Me mascot, ELMORE and each finisher was presented with a specially designed Big NHS Walk medal.
Christine Hughes, East Lancashire Hospitals’ Director of Communications and Engagement, said: “The charity is delighted to have hosted our first ever Big NHS Walk, and I’d like to say congratulations to everyone who took part.
“The event has generated a huge amount of community spirit and shown how passionate the people of East Lancashire are about their local hospitals. Everyone uses the NHS at some point in their lives, and the Big NHS Walk is a great way of showing your appreciation for the NHS.
“All the money raised – which is above and beyond the standard NHS funding - will help to improve the experience that patients receive at their local NHS hospitals.”
A range of sponsors were involved in making the event a success – Business First, the Burnley and East Lancashire Freemasons, who provided marshals and logistic support, the Thorn Inn and Padiham Leisure Centre, who volunteered as pit stops for the walkers and Fagan and Whalley, who provided car parking space.
Registration for the 2020 Big NHS Walk will open in the Autumn. For more information on ELHT&Me, or to find out more about fundraising opportunities, visit www.elht.nhs.uk/charity