Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Night walk for charity a massive success

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Breast Cancer Support Services Tauranga Trust manager Helen Alice says the Papamoa Hills Night Walk has become so popular, this year's two events were sellouts.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Breast Cancer Support Services Tauranga Trust manager Helen Alice says the Papamoa Hills Night Walk has become so popular, this year's two events were sellouts.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

A night walk up the Papamoa Hills for charity raised about $10,000 for local breast cancer support at the weekend.

The Papamoa Hills Night Walk was held on Friday and Saturday nights, with about 530 people walking the popular track as the sun went down on the Bay.

Breast Cancer Support Services Tauranga Trust manager Helen Alice said the weather "was absolutely gorgeous".

"They were lovely still nights and mild temperatures, and walkers just loved the experience," Ms Alice said.

The annual walk was a key fundraiser for the support service, which helped local women and their families affected by cancer.

Ms Alice said the number of people wanting to take part in the annual event had grown incredibly since its first night, which involved 30 people.

"For this one we were sold out for both nights. That's the first time," she said.

"Usually they will sell out on the Friday and there'll be about 140 people on the Saturday night. But this year we had 260 to 270 people each night. We are really thrilled."

Ms Alice said they limited numbers because the walk was designed to be an experience where people could enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the night on the hills.

Groups of walkers went through in waves, guided by glo-sticks and Youth Search and Rescue volunteers.

"We get people who have walked it many times. They are there regardless. They just love it. But a lot of people who walk it have not walked it at night before," Ms Alice said.

The walk began at the carpark on Poplar Lane before heading through forest and farmland to the summit of Papamoa Hills Culture and Heritage Park before winding down at Summerhill Recreation Trails.

The walk originally began in 2010 by local women as a different take on a fundraising drive for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation that encouraged "girls' night in" events.

Ms Alice paid tribute to the people who helped each year.

"The thing that makes this successful is the number of individuals and organisations that volunteer their time. We wouldn't make money if everyone got paid," she said.

"It's an important fundraiser for us."

The Tauranga support service receives no funding from the government. Rather, it depends on support from generous locals, fundraising and grants.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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