Walkers at the 2019 Clonaslee walk for Laois Hospice. Photo: Denis Byrne
The annual St Stephen's Day walk held in Clonaslee for Laois Hospice Foundation has hit and exceeded its target of €1 million after this year's successful event.
Co-ordinator Sheila Bourke is thrilled that their aim to hit a million since the walk started 27 years ago, was a success.
"We knew on the day we were going to hit it. The crowd seemed to be bigger and we were absolutely blessed with the weather," she told the Leinster Express.
About 1,000 walkers and runners come to the walk from Laois and all over Ireland.
"I talked to people who come every year from Dublin, Limerick, Westmeath, and they bring hundreds of euros in donations with them. A huge thanks to everyone who came. It's a huge community effort too, and we had lots of new volunteers this year. Some did the walk and then came in after to help or that evening to clean up the chairs," she said.
Seamus O’Donoghue, Chairperson of Laois Hospice Foundation went from table to table this year to explain the services they give to people in the end stage of life in their homes, including free nursing care.
"Normally he gives a speech but the mic wasn't working and it was actually lovely to meet people and hear their stories and Laois connections. One Dublin woman who is a native of Emo said she is coming for over 22 years," she said.
On the day they took in €31,616 and another €800 was posted in envelopes into Sheila's letterbox the next day.
More money will come back in sponsorship cards up to March she expects, with plans underway for next year.
"We have a follow up meeting to review the walk and see if there is anything we need to change or improve. We will be starting on our second million now," she said.
Sheila also offers her sincere thanks to all the sponsors and all who baked Christmas cakes.
"Where would we be without all our volunteers, a fabulous bunch of people coming together from all areas of the community, who work tirelessly on the day and for days prior to the event. Well done to you all and it is great to see many new faces. Huge thanks also to Sean and Denise Flynn for their baking and slice up, much appreciated," she said.
Sponsorship cards can be returned to Sheila at Capparogan, Clonaslee.