Gadebridge Park was full of tutus, neon wigs and colourful shades combined with big smiles and billions of frothy colourful bubbles when nearly 2,700 people showed their support for The Hospice of St Francis at its second ever Bubble Rush on Sunday (30 April 2017).
The Bubblers have already raised over £100,000 to support local Hospice care and this is expected to rise once all the sponsorship money is in. Many of the ‘bubblers’ came along for the fun of the 5km course and its four bubble stations blowing out billions of pink, blue, green and yellow bubbles however, others were there to remember friends or relatives who had received, or are receiving, support in the Hospice.
The most emotional scene of the day saw Team Jo Jo, a group of 35 relatives and friends walking for Joanna Kirby from Tring, currently receiving care in one of the Hospice beds for lung cancer and who joined the group in a wheelchair just before the finish line.
Jackie, one of Joanna’s three sisters explained, “It was Joanna’s 48th birthday yesterday and it was her idea for us all to get-together and do Bubble Rush as a big group. The care at the Hospice has been fantastic, so lovely, and we’re delighted to have raised nearly £3,500 so far for the charity. Joanna added, “It’s absolutely brilliant that everyone did this today especially my amazing family and friends; the Hospice really needs more support from its community.”
It was also a poignant day for grandmother-of-five Sandra Wicks, from Croft Lane, Chipperfield, who told Heart FM's Daniel Fox and the whole Bubble Rush crowd how it was exactly a year ago to the day that her popular builder husband Terry, 69, passed away at the Hospice - on 30 April last year.
Sandra's daughter, Melanie Rimell and son, Spencer Wicks, headed up a team of nine, both taking part with their respective partners, Steve and Debbie, together with Sandra's five grandchildren, Jessie and Harrison, both 10, Cassie, eight, Annabelle, seven, and Finlay, three.
Melanie, Jessie, Cassie and Annabelle all ran with a photo of 'Bumps' on their backs and Melanie, 38, from Meadow Road, Garston, said, "It was such good fun and the perfect thing to do in memory of Dad on the anniversary of his death. Having his photo on our backs made us feel as though he was with us.
"We had happy tears and sad tears but the kids all loved the experience of running through the different coloured bubbles and getting absolutely covered in frothy foam! They've all kept their T-shirts, which are now green, for 'Show and Tell' at school, and we can't wait to do the next one! We've raised over £500 through Just Giving and we wanted to do it to give something back to the Hospice. We owe them so much for caring for dad and for supporting Mum and Cassie now through one-to-one therapy and Pony Days."
Laura Williams, 34, and her husband Lewis, from Hemel, took part with their children Daisy-Rai, seven, and Teddy, four, together with Hemel-based work colleagues Tiffany Wiggins, 23, and Shannon North, 22, for some fun with the kids and to support the Hospice, whose communitynursing team are currently caring for Shannon's nan, Janet Blaydon. "It was fun!" said Daisy-Rai, "We left Mummy behind and I had to pull Daddy along. I ate a bubble and we all disappeared!"
Sarah and Stewart Hunt, from Chipperfield, took part for the second year running with children Ethan, six, and Owen, three, and really enjoyed doing two rounds of the bubbles. "It was fabulous to get double the bubbles, to support charity!" said Sarah.
Others doing the walk included Ken Gardener and his sister Diane Watson with her children Daniel, 12 and Eloise, 8, from Hemel Hempstead taking part because of the “great job” the Hospice did 12 years ago when they cared for their sister in law, Pamela Gardener. Ken said, “It’s important to give back and show support for organisations in our community like the Hospice and the Bubble Rush was a great way to do this!”
Many families took part together just for fun including Poppy, Holly and Lexie all 10 from Berkhamsted, the Murray family from Kings Langley, Maria, Simon and Thomas, 6 and Oscar 3 and the Aranguena family from Hemel Hempstead with children Inigo, 9, Javier, 9 and Lucas 7 who go to Westbrook Hay school and had been wanting to do the event having missed out last year.
Ross Geary 8, from Berkhamsted who ran very speedily around the course with his dad Simon, summed it all up by saying, “It was even better than last year as this time you got to go round the course twice so there were double the bubbles!”
Fran Martin, Events Manager at the Hospice said, “There was such a lively atmosphere in Gadebridge Park and it was fantastic to see so many people turn out to support the Hospice and enjoy the bubbles. I’d like to thank everyone who gave up their time to volunteer on the day, from our marshalls who cheered everyone round the course to those who handed our medals or cleared up afterwards!”
Anyone who missed the Bubble Rush at Gadebridge Park doesn't need to miss out! Bubble Rush Bucks is taking place at Lowndes Park Chesham on Sunday 9 July! Find out more: stfrancis.org.uk/bubblerush