Hundreds Join the John Taylor Hospice Party

Hundreds of people from Birmingham and beyond joined the celebrations at John Taylor Hospice’s Birthday Walk.

The sun shone on the crowds as more than 300 people set off from the Ramada Sutton Coldfield to cover the 3.5 mile event which marked two years since the Birmingham Hospice chose to become independent from the NHS.

Heather O'Hagan, Claire Evans, Louise Cartwright and Karen Burke in Pype Hayes Park

Heather O’Hagan, Claire Evans, Louise Cartwright and Karen Burke in Pype Hayes Park

And all had special reasons to pull on their walking boots.

Elise Jones had travelled from Sheffield to join forces with her mum Jennifer Tomes and grandmother Margaret Bird to walk in memory of her grandfather David Bird who was cared for at John Taylor Hospice.

“They really looked after him when he was there – and it wasn’t just him they cared for, it was all of the family,” said 27-year-old Elise who, dressed in a tiger onesie, officially launched the walk. “This is the first time I’ve done the Birthday Walk but it’s been great fun and I’m sure we’ll do it again.”

Sisters Louise Cartwright, Claire Evans and Karen Burke were joined by friend Heather O’Hagan to don pink tutus and their walking shoes. The group, who live in Castle Bromwich and Hodge Hill, were taking part in memory of the sisters’ dad Peter Wilkins and their friend Diane Bennett who were both cared for at John Taylor Hospice.

“We’ve all seen what a special place John Taylor Hospice is,” said Karen. “And that is why we really wanted to take part today.”

Also joining the party were a group of staff from Witton-based Truflo Marine Ltd who turned out in force to support the Hospice.

“There are about 12 adults and two children in our group,” said site manager Tony Maxwell. “We’ve chosen John Taylor Hospice as our cause for the year and we wanted to come along and show our support. We all know people who’ve been cared for by John Taylor Hospice so we know what a difference it makes.”

This year’s event included a host of activities before the walk began including face-painting, the chance to have a go on Bike North Birmingham’s Smoothie Bike and a photo booth. There was also a Spot the Duck competition for children, with cuddly ducks hidden along the route.

It is the third time John Taylor Hospice has held the event, which begins at the Ramada Hotel in Penns Lane Sutton Coldfield and takes walkers through Pype Hayes Park and past the Hospice in Grange Road. It was launched in October 2011 as Walk for Change to celebrate the formation of the Hospice as an independent social enterprise and has now been followed by two Birthday Walks.

“Each year the Birthday Walk is getting bigger and better,” said John Taylor Hospice Community Investment Ambassador Liz Wood. “We had a brilliant turnout this year with lots of families enjoying the walk and the other activities organised. The sun shone all morning and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

“Everyone who took part, helped out and volunteered on the day has helped to contribute to the care we provide to hundreds of local families.

“We are always looking to support investors who want to support the Hospice. For more information on holding events contact us on 0121 465 2000 or see the website.”