Hundreds of walkers braved the scorching heat on Saturday to take part in the popular Not the Midnight Walk event in aid of Katharine House Hospice.

Armed with hats, sun cream and plenty of water, the dedicated participants toured the streets and surrounding countryside of Banbury, cheered on by the local community this weekend.

Members from TSB, The Lions Club of Banbury, St John the Baptist Church in Bodicote, St Mary's Church in Banbury and RAF Croughton joined the scores of volunteers who gave up their time to marshal and support the walkers on Saturday 17 July where temperatures reached highs of 26 degrees C.

Jen Storey from Karcher, which entered a team of 14 people in the event, said the need to raise money for the hospice far outweighed the discomfort of a little bit of heat: “We’ve been supporting Katharine House for years. It’s such an important local charity that cares for people when they need it most, and we want to do whatever we can to help.”

Joanne Wilson, owner of Paws Pets Supplies and Fishing Bait in Queensway, uses Not the Midnight Walk as an annual pilgrimage to meet up with her friend Helen Keeves who lives up north.

“The walk had an absolutely lovely route this year,” she said. “It took us on a really pretty scenic route that I’d never been on before, even though I’ve lived here for years!”

Her friend Helen said: “The whole day was absolutely brilliant. The marshals were so lovely, and it was all extremely well organised. And the people of Banbury were very encouraging, cheering us on. One woman even came out of her house with water for us, it was just lovely.”

The local business community pulled out all the stops to support this year’s event. A generous grant from Banbury Charities helped to fund the day; TSB also provided much needed umbrellas to help block out the sun, whilst Bookers donated food and First for Feet provided the well-deserved glass of finish line fizz!

Katharine House CEO, Trevor Johnson, said: “We couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that helped make the day such a success. It was a tough one to organise this year, and we faced many challenges because of Covid, but the spirit of everyone involved helped to make it a truly wonderful, enjoyable, safe day.

“Our volunteers were spectacular, and we must say a massive thank you to the local community for coming out in force to cheer our walkers on.

“As a charity that still desperately needs funds to guarantee our survival and ability to provide care to people affected by life limiting illnesses, these events are fundamentally important to us and the support of the community means everything.”

Enjoy pictures of the day on our Not the Midnight Walk page.

Katharine House Hospice