After a day of continuous heavy downpours on Saturday, the charity’s dedicated fundraisers assembled in Lichfield for the popular annual event, bracing themselves for a thorough soaking.
But just as the moment arrived to set off on the walk, the rain stopped and the clouds parted to reveal a stunning double rainbow which faded from view as the last participants crossed the finish line.
The walkers were also treated to a striking brilliant sunset which bathed the historic city in a golden glow as they passed through the streets on their 10k stroll.
More than 600 fundraisers flocked to join the event, which returned to the city for the first time since 2019 with a new enchanted theme, a new venue and a new route, after being unable to take place over the past two years due to Covid-19.
Chloe Hope, head of fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’ve called this year’s Solstice Walk an ‘enchanted’ event and that’s exactly what it became.
“With all of the fun and entertainment we had planned, we didn’t want the rain to put a dampener on our evening but we couldn't believe our luck when it suddenly stopped just before the walk started. First we got a rare double rainbow and then the Lichfield sky was lit up an incredible orange colour – it really was something special!”
The Enchanted Solstice Walk began with a welcome party at the event’s new venue, at Lichfield Rugby Club, Cooke Fields, on Tamworth Road.
Entertainment for all the family included face painting, hair styling and stilt walkers, along with live music, food and drink, before everyone joined together for a moment of reflection which saw the sky filled with bubbles to remember loved ones.
Supporters then lined the streets of Lichfield to cheer on wave after wave of walkers, who set off along the new route at 8pm, adorned with lights, glitter, wands and fairy wings.
The fundraisers returned to the rugby club to receive a rousing welcome, a commemorative medal and enjoy the special sunset celebration event, with live music until late.
Organisers have thanked everyone in the community who supported the event, particularly those who gave up their time to volunteer on the night.
Chloe added: “It was wonderful to be able to finally bring back our midsummer fundraising spectacular and offer a warm welcome to so many familiar faces among our solstice supporters – we’ve really missed you over the last couple of years!
“We also want to say a huge thank you to all our participants and volunteers, as well as Lichfield Rugby Club, Doocey Traffic Management, Pure Hair and our two live bands, Kodachrome and The Grateful Dads, who helped to make our Enchanted Solstice Walk such an unforgettable night of magic, mystery and memories.
“We really couldn’t stage this fantastic event each year without the incredible support we receive from you all and it was great to see so many people lining the streets to cheer on the walkers and add to the magical party atmosphere.”
Chloe added that St Giles Hospice needs to raise £850,000 each month to provide the care and support offered to patients and their loved ones.
“The Solstice Walk is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year so we are incredibly grateful to everyone who gets involved with volunteering and fundraising,” she said.
“Every step walked and every penny raised really does help us to make a difference to local people and their families when they need us the most.”
If you'd like to take part in next year's Safari Solstice Walk visit stgileshospice.com/solsticewalk for further details.
If you'd like to volunteer at any future fundraising events, email firstname.lastname@example.org