Melbourne resident, Alison Thornhill, will be tackling the Treetops Starlight Strut night walk as one of sixty things she wants to do before reaching 60 years old later this year.

With her significant birthday coming up in September, Alison has completed over half her personal challenges so far. She explained more:

It’s a very personal list – things I think I should do, or would like to do

“It all started because when my dad turned 60, we arranged for him to fly in the Tiger Moth plane at Duxford and I decided I’d like to do that too when I turned 60. Then I thought, perhaps I could do other things as well.

“It’s a very personal list – it’s not necessarily physically challenging things or anything expensive but things I think I should do, or would like to do.

“My dad was supported by a hospice in Lancaster when he was at the end stages of Parkinson Disease. They looked after him and supported my mum really well too. I’d been challenged to do a 10k and when I spotted the Starlight Strut supporting Treetops, it tied in perfectly.”

Very familiar with the incredible work they do to provide much needed end of life care

Marvin Cooke, managing director of Toyota in Derby, and his wife Angie, Alison’s close friend and Community Care volunteer, are also taking part in team ’60 before 60’. Marvin said:

“I first heard about the Starlight Strut from Angie and when she mentioned that men could take part too, I thought, why not!

“It’s a win, win all round.  I get the opportunity to put on my running shoes and experience the many benefits of a night time walk, whilst supporting a truly remarkable and deserving local charity.  What could be more rewarding?

“The Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust has donated over £22,000 to the hospice since 2006, so I am very familiar with the incredible work they do to provide much needed respite and end of life care.

“I’m really looking forward to the evening – I think it will be a fun and enjoyable way to support Treetops.”

The Starlight Strut is the largest charity night walk held in Derby city centre raising money for Treetops Hospice Care based in Risley. The hospice provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life limiting conditions living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Now in its tenth year, women, men and children can walk either a 5km or 10km route which this year will have a carnival-theme.

Alison is completing her challenges around a busy family life as well as working part-time as manager of Melbourne’s Community Care and as part-time dispenser at the local pharmacy.

Instead of putting it off, I’m actually doing it

“It’s the first time we’ve done the Starlight Strut and it’s for a good cause. I’ve not been training but I walk about a lot and it doesn’t faze me. It’ll be one more thing to tick off my list and will mean instead of putting it off, I’m actually doing it. It’s not got to be big things – it’s just got to be what you want to do.”

Amongst the challenges Alison has already completed are: to read a Bronte novel, have an Indian meal, try mussels, sit for an art class, sleep out in a onesie for charity and upload a selfie onto social media, taken her grandchildren to see Santa, played Pooh sticks, tried meditation, been in a maze and paddled in the Caribbean.

Alison still has plenty of challenges ahead including watching a ballet and opera, going on a bike ride, getting a tattoo, going on a zip wire and riding a Segway.

The full ’60 before 60’ team include Alison, Angie and Marvin Cooke, Ruth and Alan Lee and Sarah Stone. Sarah said:

It was really good to have the nurses there – they were brilliant and lovely

“Treetops supported my step-dad in his last two weeks of life with Hospice at Home nurses coming in overnight. Even though we all took turns and had family to help, it was really good to have the nurses there as well. They were brilliant and lovely. It made it a lot, lot better for us.”

Men, women and children are welcome on the Starlight Strut which starts at 9pm on Friday 17 May from intu Derby. Registration costs £10 per person until midnight on Wednesday 15 May. After this time, people can sign up on the night for £20.

Treetops services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.