Sisters tenth Moonlight Walk for mum and dad

Sisters Dawn Edmondson, Karen Birchall and Helen Holl at a charity ball in aid of St John's Hospice, in Lancaster.
Sisters Dawn Edmondson, Karen Birchall and Helen Holl at a charity ball in aid of St John's Hospice, in Lancaster.

For ten years three sisters have walked the equivalent of ten marathons to give something back to the place where their parents spent their final moments.

Sisters Karen Birchall, Helen Holl and Dawn Edmondson will take part in their tenth Moonlight Walk this year in aid of St John’s Hospice, in Lancaster.

The walk which attracts more than 1,000 ladies each year is a way for the sisters to give something back to the hospice that cared for their mum and dad.

“We will do it for as long as we can, for as long as we are able to walk,” said Karen, a mum-of-two boys from Lancaster.

“My mum and dad both felt happy at St John’s and they were at peace.

“We did our first Moonlight Walk before they came into the hospice and our dad said ‘we should never stop, just keep walking,’ that message has stayed with us through the years.”

Their parents, Barbara and Neil McGartland were well known in Lancaster and met through their work at Lansil Social Club in Lancaster. They married on Christmas Eve in 1966.

Barbara was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008 and passed away in the hospice in 2011 at the age of 64.

Neil was diagnosed with neck and head cancer in 2012 and passed away in the hospice in 2014, aged 68.

“It was very difficult, I found it very hard to keep going but as a family we have all supported each other,” said Karen.

“The care my mum received was so good there, that gave us reassurance when dad went into the hospice.

“They were fun loving people, they loved life, lived it to the full. They absolutely loved their grandchildren, they spent a lot of time with them.”

This year’s Moonlight Walk, a way for women to walk in memory of their loved one or in aid of the hospice, takes place on Saturday June 10 and the sisters will walk the 14km route.

They have raised almost £3,000 over the years.