I spent Saturday night in Watford town centre surrounded by people cheering and shouting. But what I witnessed wasn’t a booze-fuelled display of aggression.
Instead I was lucky enough to witness 1,161 women wearing glowing pink headbands make their way through the town as part of the 13-mile Starlight Walk for the Peace Hospice.
I was marshalling at the event and my job was to guide walkers through the High Street, which has the unfortunate reputation of being “lively” on Saturday nights, and not in a good way.
However, last Saturday, the atmosphere was amazing, with clubbers and drinkers cheering on the walkers. In the background you could also hear the sound of drivers on Ricky Road beeping their car horns in support.
The Starlight Walk is an annual fixture (last year it raised £180,000), and even though this year the start time and route were different, the mood was as buoyant as ever.
The women taking part in the event were from all walks of life, many of whom were walking in memory of a loved one.
Interestingly, this year a higher proportion of under-18s took part including year 6 pupil Sophia Dobson who completed the walk with her mum and friends and teachers from Arnett Hills School.
So far £120,000 has been pledged, although organisers are pretty confident the final fundraising tally will surpass last year’s total.
The whole event was testament to just how, if people work together, something fantastic can be achieved. The event was organised with military efficiency (the organising committee had spent ten months on the project to ensure its smooth running) and the walkers and volunteers were brimming with enthusiasm.
A friend of mine, Mike Cole, who runs Imagine Estates in Watford and was part of the organising committee, said: “I thought the excellent branding this year alongside the funky headbands with lights made for a real spectacle along the route.”
So congratulations to those who took part, or who volunteered on the night. I look forward to the same again next year.