Hello my name is Chester and I’m one of Overgate’s volunteers. The company I work for; James Heal, became a corporate member back in July 2015. We got a team together and helped out at a few events, with me leading the initiative. Since then I have volunteered at the Colour Run, Fashion Show, Garden Party, and the annual Ball every year and I’ve continued to support the Hospice as best I can throughout the Covid pandemic. It may not always involve donating money, but there are so many other areas where help is needed. Supporting the Hospice means a lot to me as my wife’s Nana, Dorothy and my mother-in-law’s partner Colin both spent their final days in their care. It feels good to give something back. 

One of the other events I help out at is the Midnight Walk. I have been the back-marker for the walkers, staying behind everyone else and helping to ensure that everyone gets back safely, for the past 5 walks. Last years’ Midnight Walk would have been my sixth, but unfortunately due to Covid this didn't happen. I’m so pleased that the event is back this September!

My first year as back walker was 2015. I was a bit nervous as I did not know what to expect so I opted to do the 6 mile walk. In 2016 I took on the longer walk of 12 miles. The following year an extra mile was added and I’ve continued to be the back walker for the 13 mile walk ever since.
Those at the tail-end of the walk get plenty of encouragement from me and someone to chat to if they are on their own, to help them get through the walk or to get as far as they possibly can. It can get lonely at the back, but my aim is to make sure everybody gets back and nobody is left behind.

My first year of doing the longer walk saw me arriving back at North Bridge at 6.40am as the sun was starting to rise. People must be getting fitter or my words of encouragement are getting better as each year it seems to get quicker! In 2019 I arrived back at 5.30am, which was a record time!
Seeing the marshals and hearing their words of encouragement also helps get us all around the route and when I tell them that I’m the back marker and they can stand down, the look of relief on their faces is priceless. What I love the most though is the welcome from the whole team and their cheers when they see me walking back into North Bridge. Warm drink, bacon butty, home time. Ready to go again the following year! 

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