Colour Dashers run through clouds of paint to support Bluebell Wood

More than 2,600 people, including families and friends of loved ones supported at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, ran through clouds of colourful paint to complete a 5km course and raise thousands for the charity.

The 5km Colour Dash at Rother Valley Country Park saw participants run, jog and walk the course to raise money for Bluebell Wood in Sheffield – South Yorkshire’s only children’s hospice. At each kilometre point, they were showered with a vibrant array of coloured paint.

Leading the way was Bluebell Wood’s Chief Executive, Claire Rintoul, and also taking part were many Bluebell Wood families, volunteers, supporters and staff. Supported by thousands of other people in the community, Bluebell Wood’s second Colour Dash was a great success.

Annie Green, 15, and a group of around 13 pupils from Wales High School took part in the Colour Dash for the first time, in memory of their friend 14-year-old Emmie Bennett-Price, who passed away at Bluebell Wood year.

Annie said: “We wanted to raise sponsorship and awareness about Bluebell Wood. The support Bluebell Wood gave to Emmie was amazing and we want to do everything to keep it going.

“It means a lot to do it for Emmie. We all wore yellow, which was Emmie’s signature colour. It’s a way of celebrating her life – she meant so much to us all.”

Before the participants began the event, Bluebell Wood parent Maxine Strong of Epworth spoke to the 2,600 strong crowd and their supporters about what Bluebell Wood means to her. Maxine’s seven-year-old son Lex died at the hospice after battling childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Maxine and 15 of her family members and friends ran the Colour Dash in memory of Lex. Maxine said: “Bluebell Wood has given our family a great deal of love and support. The Colour Dash is an incredible event raising money so this fantastic hospice can continue making a huge positive impact on families like ours.

“Above everything else, the Colour Dash is about the children who fight with dignity and courage – never complaining. They face life with daily battles that nobody would wish for; Bluebell Wood is there for them with love and laughter.”

Maxine’s last words to the participants were ‘May the force be with you’ – as this is something Lex would have said.

Helen Mower, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “Our Colour Dash is all about everyone having lots of fun while raising money to support our work at Bluebell Wood and it has been a tremendous day.

“We are overwhelmed that so many people came together to have fun and show their support for Bluebell Wood; we are so grateful for such community support, without which 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 £3m a year and receives just 10% government funding.

Claire Rintoul, Chief Executive at Bluebell Wood, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed today’s event, taking part was fantastic. I’d like to say big thank-you to everybody who joined us.

“Our children and families inspire me every day and it’s been fantastic to see so many people supporting Bluebell Wood in this way. As Maxine says, today is all about 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 and being able to have fun with our community supporters is so vital to us as a local charity.”

Rapid Relief Team, a charitable volunteer team, helped Bluebell Wood with the set up and running of the Colour Dash this year.

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