More than 3,500 people became a human rainbow as they were covered with paints of many colours as they raised thousands for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Participants in the Colour Dash at Rother Valley Country Park ran, jogged and walked round the 5km course to raise money for Bluebell Wood, South Yorkshire’s only children’s hospice in North Anston.
Volunteers showered them with an array of vibrantly coloured paint at each kilometre point.
Also taking part were many Bluebell Wood volunteers, supporters, staff and families and friends of loved ones supported by the hospice.
Before everyone set off on the Colour Dash, Gareth Mayor spoke to the 3,500 crowd and their supporters about what Bluebell Wood means to them.
Gareth and Charlotte Mayor’s daughter, Elsa, was born in June 2014 and diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type One when she was just eight months old. She passed away at Bluebell Wood in April 2015.
Gareth, Charlotte, their daughter Olivia, from Rotherham, together with 48 of their friends and family, ran the Colour Dash in memory of Elsa.
Gareth said: “After Elsa passed away, the Bluebell Wood team was amazing.
“We knew nothing about what to do, and the staff helped and suggested things.
“I carried her to the Primrose End of Life suite, where we could go in and visit her whenever we wanted.
“Every time we went to see her she was just as beautiful as ever. Elsa lit up our lives. Everyone taking part in the Colour Dash is helping to light up other children’s lives at Bluebell Wood and in their own homes.
“The Colour Dash is a fabulous fun day that represents everything about Bluebell Wood – fun, love, laughter, family and dedication to our children.
“For a family like ours that has a child who passed away, Bluebell Wood’s a support system that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
“Not everyone may have, or know, a child who comes here, but everyone here today is here for them.”
Closing his speech with words of encouragement, Gareth told the Colour Dashers: “We came to Bluebell Wood for support – and now every one of you is supporting us and all our children.”
Jo Berry, events fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “The response to this, our third Colour Dash, has been overwhelming, making it our biggest and best yet.
“Today is all about everyone having lots of fun while raising money to support our children and families who go through the toughest of times.
“We are here to give them the very best support and also create treasured memories so we are really grateful that so many people have come together today to join the fun and show their support for Bluebell Wood. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open.”
Bluebell Wood’s specialist Care Team offers a wide range of specialist services for the whole family including respite care, day care and hospice at home.
The hospice needs to raise £4m a year and receives just 10 per cent government funding.
For more information about Bluebell Wood, visit www.bluebellwood.org.