They came in their hundreds to raise thousands of pounds for a hospice that means so much to the people of Huddersfield.

More than 700 walkers took part in Saturday night’s Memory Walk to raise around £55,000 for The Kirkwood in Dalton.

The annual event saw families, friends and strangers coming together to share special memories and make new ones as they made their way around a six or 10-mile route. 

Each year the hospice supports over 2,000 patients, family members and carers affected by life limiting illnesses, helping to improve their quality of life as well as offering compassionate care at the end of life. 

For some the walk was a chance to remember a loved one cared for recently by The Kirkwood whether in the hospice or in their own home. For others, taking part was about saying thank you to a charity which supported them and their loved one years or even decades ago. 

Nicola, James, Max and Ben Carter from Cowlersley (pictured below) were walking in memory of Nicola’s mum, Sandra Washington.

Nicola said: “We’re walking for my mum who we sadly lost last year. We’ve actually taken part in the walk with mum in the past so it’s really nice to do it again tonight. 

“We’re thinking about mum tonight, but also about lots of other friends and family who we’ve lost along the way to cancer.” 

Shazia Sharif, who works in adult social services at Kirklees Council, took part in walk with family and friends.  

She said: “We’re aware of what The Kirkwood do on a professional level and all the fantastic work they do. Not just in regard to caring for people who are ill, but supporting their families, all the extra classes they offer and the extra care they provide with nurses in the community, and the work they do to support people through bereavement – helping them to cope.” 

The Kirkwood holds a special place in Paul Richard Stead’s heart and this year he was taking part in his eighth walk. Paul, from Kirkheaton, was walking in memory of his parents and friend Freda Dawson. 

He said: “I received counselling with The Kirkwood when my parents died. They have helped so many people, including myself, and as long as I’m fit enough I will carry on supporting them, spreading the word of their amazing work far and wide to anyone that may need them.” 

The walkers were entertained with live music and the spectacular sight of an LED glowbot show before they set off from the John Smith’s Stadium at 10pm on Saturday night.

Just as the walk was about to get underway, The Kirkwood’s director of clinical services, Lynne Hall Bentley, took to the stage to thank the crowd.  

She said: “To see so many people here tonight shows how much people care about The Kirkwood here in Kirklees. 

“It’s only thanks to amazing supporters like everyone walking tonight that we continue to be here for patients and families in need in their own homes, in their communities and at our hospice. Without everyone’s support we couldn’t keep caring for the people who need us most.”

Scroll through our gallery of images by Marcus and Ché Macaulay

The Kirkwood’s events manager, Katie Fielding, added: “Everyone here tonight is passionate about the care we provide for people affected by a whole host of life limiting illnesses. By coming together on nights like this we are helping to improve people’s quality of life in ways that really matter to them.  

“It’s always an emotional event and I’m humbled to have been able to meet so many amazing people who have all come along to remember someone special.”  

The Kirkwood wants to thank main event partners Syngenta, the John Smith’s Stadium for hosting the event and photobooth sponsor Harvey’s Bar/Kitchen. 

The hospice also wants to thank Shepley Spring, the West Yorkshire 4×4 Volunteers, First+ Medical, John Mayoh Events, Crazy Amigos, Pet Food Discount Store, Marcus Macaulay Design & Photography, Rowley Lane School, LV, Made by Cooper, SSL Direct Mail & Print, Good Gym, George Shaw Toilet Hire and Info Displays.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.