BOLTON Hospice’s 13th Midnight Memories was a poignant but uplifting experience for the 678 who took part in Saturday night’s eight mile walk through the streets of Bolton.

Many of them had photographs and the names of loved ones lost to cancer on the backs of their T-shirts.

But it was also a joyous way of remembering them and as well as sadness, there was also the elation of doing something to help the hospice which helped them.

Wearing flashing bunny ears, pink stetsons and with faces painted, they assembled in the Market Place beforehand where songs such as Don’t stop Me Now and 500 Miles blasted out for inspiration.

First timers The Partingtons made it a family affair with dad Don, mum Janet and children Katie and Chris walking for Don’s dada and sister and family friend Doreen.

Sheila Ogden’s parents, brother and husband and all been helped by Bolton Hospice. She was walking with Maura Pritchard who lost here daughter, Jenny, to cancer and Jill Roscoe who was walking in memory of her dad.

Virtually everyone there had experience of losing someone close to terminal illness. It can be a lonely experience but the walk is a way of meeting up with hundreds of others who have been through the same heartbreak.

Keith Jeffers and Karen Warburton were walking for his luate wife, Elaine.

“I wanted to do it last year but my doctor wouldn’t let me because I’d had foot surgery,” said Keith.

“My mum and sister both worked at Bolton Hospice so I have a very strong link with it.”

For Charlie Allen, it was her tenth walk, and she had brought along her mum and her nieces.

“I’m walking for my friends mum – it would have been her birthday.”

And Jenny Wang was walking for her da.

“I’ve always wanted to do it and thanks to encouragagment from my friends, family and colleagues, I’m doing it!”

The Mayor of Bolton, resplendent in her pink jacket, is a veteran of previous walks.

“When you finish you have a sense of pride and exhilaration,” she said.

“This is a wonderful event for the wonderful service the hospice provides. It gives people the opportunity to say thank for what the hospice has done for their loved ones and I think it also gives people a lot of comfort – they’ve all lost someone. “ Organiser Maria Passarello said: “It’s buzzing. It just means so much to the hopsice and the people of Bolton. Many are walking in memory of loved ones so it’s going to be poignant and take them on a journey.

“The people of Bolton do us proud.”