TWO women have raised nearly £50,000 for Colchester Hospital after they started up their own charity walk.

Nicky Withycombe and Karen Robertson launched the popular Starlight Walk nearly 11 years ago but last year made it their last.

But over the years the unstoppable duo’s event has raised more than £75,000, of which £25,500 went to Cancer Research UK and the rest went to the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity.

Now it is hoped the walk will continue but will be taken on by other organisers.

Mrs Withycombe said: “When we first did it it was just arranged with a handful of friends.

“It has always been Karen and I. Someone had said ‘Why don’t you set up your own walk’ and it was just a walk around Colchester and I think we did eight miles and raised £900.


“We thought if we have done this what if we did it the next year on a bigger scale and called it something.”

And so the Starlight Walk was officially born and over the years attracted thousands of participants.

The route has started from Playgolf Colchester on a Saturday evening in June and walkers have travelled through the town and back to the start.

The event has been supported by fitness teams to warm people up at the start and caterers who have fed them at the finish.

Mrs Withycombe said: “The first four years were for Cancer Research UK and the last six were for the breast cancer unit and the Cancer Centre Campaign both led by the hospital’s charity.”

Rotarians from Colchester have said they are interested in taking on the event.

However, they have not confirmed whether it would take place this year or in what guise.


Senior members are due to discuss the event when they meet today.

Mrs Withycombe and Mrs Robertson will continue to fundraise for Colchester Hospital by hosting a ball every other year at Playgolf Colchester.

This year’s is on May 18 and tickets are available from

Mrs Withycombe was keen to thank the many organisations who have supported the Starlight Walk including Playgolf Colchester, The Gazette and our weekly title the Essex County Standard, H &E Edwards potato suppliers, Perrin butchers, Bookers wholesale, Colchester Jazzercise and Nindy’s chip shop.