Thetford women dress as penguins for charity Girls Night Out for St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds

Thetford team Happy Feet took part in the Girls Night Out walk in Bury St Edmund's to help St Nichol

Thetford team Happy Feet took part in the Girls Night Out walk in Bury St Edmund's to help St Nicholas Hospice. The team was made up of nine women walking in memory of the father/grandfather of some of the group’s members. - Credit: Archant

A group of Thetford women donned penguin outfits as part of a huge charity walk.

The Girls Night Out walk in Bury St Edmund's raise money for St Nicholas Hospice.

The Girls Night Out walk in Bury St Edmund's raise money for St Nicholas Hospice. - Credit: Archant

More than 1,500 women helped make the 2014 Girls Night Out walk the biggest and best ever, raising vital funds for St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.

The walk took place in Bury St Edmunds, with Angel Hill lit up by a sea of flashing bunny ears as the sun set on Saturday.

Pyjama-clad women gathered in their hundreds in central Bury as they prepared to trek either six or 11.2 miles round the town, with £150,000 in sponsorship money pledged on the night.

The walkers enjoyed a mild and clear night, with temperatures remaining around 14c.

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The evening was filled with laughter and camaraderie, alongside more tender moments in which walkers remembered loved ones at the memory wall on Angel Hill and at the Hospice.

Among them were a team of friends and family from Thetford who decided to walk together under the team name Happy Feet.

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They took part in memory of the father and grandfather of some of the group's members.

The team of nine walkers took the unusual step of dressing up in penguin outfits.

This year was the sixth Girls Night Out walk and with 1,500 women walking has smashed all previous records.

Jenny Baskett, hospice events and challenges fundraiser, said: 'Thank you to everyone who has taken part in Girls Night Out and made it such a huge success.

'It is always emotional to see the walkers set off from Angel Hill together and to see such wonderful community spirit across the town.

'Thank you also to everyone who has supported the walkers by sponsoring them or coming out into their gardens and cheering them on.

'Last year, 1,000 women walked for the Hospice, so to have 1,500 women all taking part and supporting the Hospice this year is overwhelming.

'The support is just amazing.'

Kevin Clements, hospice fundraising and marketing director, said: 'Girls Night Out is simply incredible – every year it gets bigger and better with more women signing up to walk with us.

'Every step that the women take and every pound they raise makes a difference.

'The money raised at this year's event could pay for our Orchard Centre day therapy unit for a year.'

'The money raised is incredibly important because it helps us to continue caring for people and families facing long-term and life-threatening illnesses across West Suffolk and Thetford.'

The event was not a race, but this year the event included a large digital clock on the start/finish arch so walkers could see how long they took to complete the walk.

The first walker on the six-mile route, Sally O'Brian, crossed the line at 9.30pm and the first to cross the line from the 11.2-mile route was Marilla Garland at 10.22pm.

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