Barrow woman’s ‘special’ challenge helps support St Mary’s Hospice

Like many people, St Mary’s Hospice has touched the life of Kirsty Parkinson in a way she’ll never forget.

Kirsty has always known about the hospice and the services they offered but experienced it all first hand when her dad, Eddie, was cared for on the in-patient unit in 2022. For years, Kirsty has fundraised for the hospice because she knew just how important it was to those around her.

But after experiencing the care her dad received, the 43-year-old decided to take her fundraising to the next level and signed up for the Helvellyn At Night challenge in 2023. The challenge holds a special place in her heart because Eddie was an avid walker and Kirsty knew he’d be proud of her efforts.

She was also able to spend some time along once reaching the summit to say a special goodbye to her dad and scatter his ashes. Speaking about her fundraising efforts, Kirsty said: “I have done quite a lot of fundraising for St Mary’s because I knew what it meant to people. I like supporting people and I always add money to people’s fundraising for St Mary’s. I just knew what it meant to people.

“But then my dad spent his last few days there and now I know why people want to fundraise so much because it was amazing. I wanted to do something special that would mean something to him.”

After seeing the social media post about the Helvellyn At Night event and knowing her dad was an avid walker, it made sense for her to take part. It was always Kirsty’s plan to scatter her dad’s ashes when she got to the top and said she’s never really been able to put into words the feeling of pride and accomplishment when she reached the summit at sunrise.

The mum-of-three added: “My dad was cremated so it was my plan to take his ashes and spread them. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done climbing that and I know it sounds silly, but if I didn’t have my dad in my bag I wouldn’t have got to the top. I’ll never, ever forget the experience. To do that for him and to be able to scatter his ashes as the top, there’s no words really.”

Kirsty took part in the walk with some friends and when they reached the summit, she said the scenery took her breath away. She’s now encouraging other people in the community to sign up to the Blencathra at Night event being held by St Mary’s.

The event takes place on June 8th into the morning of June 9th and there are still places available with coach trasnfers available from Barrow. By signing up and fundraising for St Mary’s Hospice you’ll also be making a huge, life changing impact on those that benefit from the work of the charity.

You’ll be led by experienced and professional leaders from Lakeland Mountain Guides who will help get you through the challenge and ensure you have a great time doing so.

Events and Challenges Manager, Mel Dixon is encouraging as many people as possible to sign up and take part in the event. She said: “We have worked in collaboration with Lakeland Mountain Guides for several years now on our extremely popular night climbs. Having the opportunity to safely summit some of the Lake District’s tallest mountains, then be rewarded with a stunning sunrise and a celebratory glass of fizz is a just an added bonus to the breathtaking views.

“We’d love as many people as possible to sign up to this event and help us continue to deliver amazing work within our community. We’re always grateful for anyone that supports us and those that are taking part in this event are wonderful. Good luck to everyone taking part.”

For more information, click here. 

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