Hundreds of walkers stay up late for The Kirkwood Midnight Memory Walk

Under starry skies, families, friends and the Kirklees community came together on Saturday night to support The Kirkwood and walk in memory of their loved ones. 

After two years of postponements and cancellations, the Kirklees community came together again on Saturday night to lace up for someone special and take part in the Midnight Memory Walk.  

Around 700 walkers turned the sleepy Huddersfield streets into a sea of orange, helping to raise over £58,000 to help The Kirkwood Support Life across Kirklees. 

The Midnight Memory Walk, which is supported by Syngenta, brought people of all ages together to share special memories as they made their way around the challenging six- or ten-mile route. 

The Midnight Memory walk is organised by The Kirkwood, the local charity that supports anyone affected by any life-limiting illness, offering care for patients and families in their own homes, in care homes and in towns and villages across Kirklees – as well as at their hospice in Dalton. 

The crowd had come to remember, but also to celebrate the special people in their lives. After three years away, this event was even more poignant than usual, and people paid special tribute by customising their bright orange t-shirts with the names and photos of those being remembered. 

Sisters Linda and Jill were taking on the Midnight Memory Walk for the first time in memory of their dad, Donald. 

They said: “We’ve both had first-hand experience of The Kirkwood. We just wanted to do this for Dad. 

“It’s an emotional night, with everyone remembering loved ones. We’ve all been there and lost someone. To be able to do it together as sisters, for our dad, that’s really important to us both. 

“The care The Kirkwood offer is absolutely fabulous. The Kirkwood is so important to the community. It’s invaluable. We hope lots of people come down tonight and help to raise a fortune.” 

Event organisers were delighted to see lots of new and old faces at this year’s walk. The Covid-19 pandemic left thousands of people isolated from loved ones, and the Midnight Memory Walk was an opportunity to bring people together again. 

Ian and Jade signed up to walk in memory of their wife and mum, Debbie.  

Ian said: “The Kirkwood has been there for years and years. When my wife was really ill with cancer, she decided she wanted to stay at home and see life out at home. Whenever we needed anything from The Kirkwood it was there on a plate. They’re wonderful people. 

“It’s been a quiet few years with the pandemic, and we’ve never done the Midnight Memory Walk before. We just wanted to come along and do it, and we’re so happy to be here. 

“The atmosphere is superb. Even though it’s an event where you’re remembering someone, people are smiling, which is really good.” 

Walkers who got to the University of Huddersfield early were wowed by a dazzling fire-breathing display and mesmerised by close-up magic from Rob Ellams, with Pulse 1 DJ, Ant Arthur on hand to pump up the crowd. 

Leanne Taylor from Crazy Amigos jumped onto the stage as walkers gathered, performing a fun, lighthearted warm-up that really got the crowd into the party spirit. 

As the minutes ticked down to midnight, mums, dads, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, nieces and nephews gathered at the start line. There was a hush in the air as people waited for the official countdown to begin. As the countdown reached zero, confetti cannons pierced the ink-black midnight sky, sending plumes of ticker tape high into the air before fluttering back to earth, showering walkers in a burst of colour.  

Alison Edwards, who brought along her eight-year-old pug, Aggie, was thinking of someone special.  She said: “I’m remembering my mum tonight. She actually only passed away a month ago today, and The Kirkwood helped her in her last few weeks. 

“The Kirkwood is massively important. We all know someone who might need them at some point!” 

Kathryn Box from The Kirkwood was delighted to welcome walkers back to the Midnight Memory Walk again after what has been a difficult few years.  

She said: “We’re delighted to finally be able to bring our supporters back together again for our biggest event of the year. After three years away, we’re so pleased to be here! 

“The Midnight Memory Walk is much more than a fundraiser for The Kirkwood. It’s a chance for the whole of our community to come together and do something amazing in memory of people they love.  

“The Midnight Memory Walk is all about togetherness and community. There’s been such an amazing family atmosphere tonight. No one is on their own on a night like tonight.  

“As well as remembering those that mean the most to them, our walkers are helping to make sure that we can continue to reach those in need, wherever and whenever they need us.” 

The Kirkwood would like to thank main event supporters, Syngenta, and the University of Huddersfield for hosting the event. 

They would also like to thank West Yorkshire 4×4 Volunteers, all of The Kirkwood volunteers, event photographer Mark Flynn and everyone else who helped to make the event a success. 

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