A husband and wife who run a DIY store have gathered their large family together for an emotional charity walk in memory of their loved ones.
Naresh and Hansa Govindia, who run VAH DIY Limited in Berkhamsted High Street, will be joined by brothers, sister- in-laws, nephews and nieces as they and hundreds of others glow for The Hospice of St Francis in its Midnight Walk on Saturday, June 27.
The couple, who also live in Berkhamsted, will be taking part in the flagship fundraiser in memory of Hansa’s sisters, Prabha ben and Lalita ben, who sadly both lost their battles with cancer in recent years.
But they also want to repay the hospice for supporting Hansa after she had her own brush with the disease two years ago.
Father-of-three Naresh, 54 said: “We’ve donated money to the hospice in the past and our son Neermal did voluntary work in the gardens there with the Scouts, but we’ve never done the Midnight Walk before.
“It was my sister Rekha from Hemel Hempstead who sent a WhatsApp message to everyone in the family suggesting we all take part, and Hansa and I thought it was a great idea!”
Naresh’s wife Hansa, 51, said: “My sister Lalita died in India, but Prabha was cared for wonderfully by The Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes in her last few days.
“After I had surgery to remove a very low-grade tumour in 2013, the Hospice of St Francis helped me hugely.
“I had reflexology, physiotherapy and attended tai chi classes in its outpatient Spring Centre to help me relax and support me emotionally.
“The staff and volunteers were wonderful. They were enthusiastic and they really listened.
“The whole atmosphere is so bright and positive, which helped make me positive and really opened my eyes to what it does for our community.
“Without it I wouldn’t have recovered so quickly, so this is my way of saying thank you.”
More than 600 walkers are expected at this year’s event, lighting up the night in their best orange, yellow, green and pink as they follow one of two brand new five or 10-mile routes around the streets of Hemel Hempstead, taking in Nash Mills, Chaulden, the Old Town and Apsley.
The action kicks off at 9pm at the Hemel Hempstead school, with hospice staff and volunteers there to cheer walkers over the finishing line with a well-deserved medal and tasty breakfast.
Registration costs just £20 for adults or £15 for over 10s and includes a pink ‘Glow for It’ T-shirt.
So far, Naresh’s sister Rekha Vadgama and brother-in-law Pratish, his brother Bakul and sister-in-law Rakhee as well as various nephews and nieces – including Harita, 28, and Paaryn, 15 – have signed up to Team VAH, but Naresh says there could be as many as 20 of them on the night.
“We’re doing the 10-mile route and given the amount of walking and running we do up and down the stairs in the shop, we should get round no problem,” he says.
“At least I hope we will – we don’t have time to train!”
Hansa added: “We’re taking the Sunday off so we can make the most of a really fun night out and hopefully raise lots of money for a really great cause.
“Lots of our reps, suppliers and customers have said they’ll support us and some already have.
“We need to raise as much as we can so the hospice can continue to provide its amazing care, so please support us if you can!”
If you’d like to sponsor Team VAH, visit: http://www.justgiving.com/naresh-govindia