The sun shone and the bubbles flowed for over 2,000 fun-lovers taking part in the fourth 5k Bubble Rush in aid of The Hospice of St Francis on Sunday.
Clad in multi-coloured tutus, neon sunglasses and eye-catching costumes, participants flocked from Herts, Bucks and beyond to Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead, for the popular, family-friendly event, which is set to raise £80k for the Berkhamsted-based charity.
Participants of all ages and abilities, from individuals and families with tots to teenagers, to teams, friends, colleagues, novice and keen runners, ran, walked and danced their way through different coloured bubble stations as they were blasted by cannons blowing out pink, green, blue and yellow bubbles, covering them in safe, frothy foam.
Many took part for fun or for a challenge while others ran in memory of relatives or friends who have received or are receiving care and support at the Berkhamsted-based Hospice.
Kate Grigg, Hospice Head of Events, said: “This year’s event was just fantastic and the glorious sunshine brought out over 150 more Bubblers who made the most of the opportunity to sign up on the day. I’d like to thank Rayden Solicitors - our sponsors, Dacorum Borough Council for the loan of their beautiful park, all our Bubblers, our 50-plus volunteers and everyone who supported the event. The atmosphere was incredible and it was terrific to see so many people smiling, laughing and having fun in the sun.
“So far the event has raised £56k but there’s still time to set up a fundraising page and keep those donations coming in until 12th June. Every penny raised will help us to help more patients and families across Herts and Bucks to live their precious lives well.”
The first thing eight-year-old Shhivika Bala, a Year 4 pupil at the Hammond Academy in Hemel Hempstead, said after she crossed the finish line was ‘When’s the next one?” according to her mum Selvi, 48.
“She had so much fun diving through the bubbles, she doesn’t want me to wash her T-shirt! It’s the first time we’ve done it. We saw it in a magazine, we did it for a new challenge and it was just fantastic.
“At 16 degrees, it was the perfect weather to walk or run, there was a great atmosphere – we saw lots of Shhivika’s friends from school, it was well organised and all for a great cause. We were so busy having fun, I didn’t even feel tired afterwards. My daughter was amazed! We’ll definitely be back!”
Jackie Munro, 51, from Grenadine Way, Tring, took part with the 16-strong Team Jo for the third year running with four generations of her family including her sisters Trisha and Di and all their husbands, mum Rose, 74, seven children including daughters, nieces and nephews, and one great nephew in memory of her beloved sister Joanne, 48, who was cared for by the Hospice in the final weeks before she died in 2017.
“Jo was such an amazing person and we all loved her so much,” said Jackie.” It was her idea for 35 of us to all to get-together and do the Bubble Rush in 2017. Jo was at the Hospice at the time but Trisha sped round the course and picked her up so she could cross the finish line in a wheelchair with us and we’ve done it every year since in her memory.
“It was so much fun, still emotional crossing the finish line together but absolutely worth it. It’s such a fabulous, colourful event and doing it on such a lovely day was a bonus. We’re hoping we’ve raised about £500 because the Hospice needs all the support it can get from the local community - I don’t think we’d have coped without it. We moved in with Jo in those last weeks and this is our way of saying thank you for everything they did for her and have done for us since.”
Danielle Thompson, 45, from Tower Close, Berkhamsted, explained that her mum, Lynne Benest, a retired nurse from Amersham, has just started volunteering at the Hospice and that she and her husband Mark, 48, wanted something fun to do as a family for a good cause with their children Harriet, 10, Maggie, nine and Toby, six.
Sporting multi-coloured spots all over his head and face, Dad Mark explained, “The girls got a bit carried away doing my make-up – I asked for a lightning strike but they got more and more colours out and I’ve ended up looking like a clown! I’m not self-conscious though – I’m just as colourful as everyone else!”
“This was our first Bubble Rush for the Hospice and we all had a brilliant time!” added Danielle, who’s raised £200 for the Hospice so far. “The kids were so excited - as we arrived Maggie said ‘I’m the most excited person here!’ They loved the bubbles and bumping into lots of their friends from school. The atmosphere was great and we’ll definitely sign up again next year for more family fun for a great cause!
To see photos of the day visit stfrancis.org.uk and Facebook: the hospiceofstfrancis
The Hospice’s next big fundraising event will be its ‘Walk with Us’ on Saturday 29th June – a 6-mile sponsored walk through Berkhamsted and a chance to remember, reflect and share precious memories of loved ones as the charity re-traces some of the steps through its 40-year history.
Starting at the Cricket Club, the route will follow the canal and take in the present-day Hospice and the site of its original Shrublands Road home before candles are lit at St Peter’s Church, where the Prayer Vigil that was the catalyst for the Hospice’s foundation took place in June 1979.
For more information and to sign up visit www.stfrancis.org.uk/walkwithus