Travelers force Devon hospice to change massive event

A Devon hospice was forced to change the route of its annual ‘Sleep Walk’ fundraiser tonight – after travelers settled in Paignton Green.

Rowcroft Hospice hosts a special night walk each year and invites members of the public to travel a five mile route, starting at Paignton Green or Torre Abbey Meadows, as part of an epic hospice fundraiser.

While tonight’s Sleep Walk event is taking place, organizers have had to change the route of the trail and stop walkers starting the route from Paignton Green, as travelers arrived at the site last night and “refused. to move ”today.

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DevonLive understands that Sleep Walk organizers were contacted by Torbay Council after travelers set up camp in Paignton Green on Friday night – where they also camped last month – and council staff advised the group to move the starting point of their march.

The walkers say they were contacted by Rowcroft Hospice today to advise them of the changes.

A Devon resident who participates in the walk said: “Today is one of the biggest annual fundraising events for Rowcroft Hospice with hundreds of women and girls set to participate in the sleep walk through Paignton and Torquay.

“The starting point is Paignton Green – this morning Rowcroft was informed by Torbay Council that a number of travelers set up camp on the green last night and there is nothing they can do about it.”

The resident claims the group of travelers also “vandalized” the temporary toilets that were erected prior to the occurrence.

“They have already vandalized the temporary toilets that were put in place yesterday for the event,” she said. “Rowcroft must now move the starting point and route for safety reasons.

“They have to call all the participants individually to make sure the message gets through. It’s a colossal task for a small team and the board has done nothing to help fix the situation or stop it in the first place. “

A Rowcroft Hospice nurse has confirmed to DevonLive that the event is “definitely taking place” tonight but the option to start the walk at Paignton Green is no longer possible “for reasons you [DevonLive] have mentioned “(ie travelers arriving on the Green).

The nurse was not sure how Rowcroft Hospice was notified of the arrival of the travelers, but said everyone who was waiting to leave Paignton Green was told this could no longer happen.

Most people who would have walked from Paignton Green are expected to go to Torre Abbey Meadows to walk from there.

What is Rowcroft Hospice Sleep Walk?

The Sleep Walk is an annual night walk in the Paignton area designed to bring people together and raise funds for the local hospice, Rowcroft Hospice.

This year’s sleep walk is superhero-themed and takes place tonight, Saturday July 3, but the route and starting point had to be changed.

What social distancing measures are in place?

A statement on the Hospice website explains: “Following the government announcement of Monday June 14, 2021, we would like to reassure our supporters that this year’s Sleep Walk event can still take place physically on Saturday July 3. 2021.

“To ensure everyone’s safety at the event and to maximize social distancing, some adaptations have been made to this year’s physical event.

“The event has two start * and end points – one at Paignton Green and one at Torre Abbey Meadows.

“This year’s course is a five mile loop, and we’ve staggered the start times every 30 minutes from 5 to 7 pm. The event is completely open-air with one-way systems in place and we are paperless to reduce points of contact.

“There will be plenty of hand sanitizers available and hand washing stations next to the toilets – we will also regularly clean the contact points.

“Participants are required to follow social distancing guidelines and will be required to wear a face mask (with some exceptions) when checking in at the point of departure and when collecting refreshments or their medals at the point of arrival, or at any other time when they are within two meters of other participants or Rowcroft staff or volunteers.

“Face masks will not be required for the event warm-up or when walking along the event route.

“While we do everything possible to make the physical event as safe as possible, we recognize that many attendees appreciated the option to participate virtually, so the ‘Your Way’ option to participate in The Sleep Walk on Saturday. July 3 to Sunday July 11, at a time and place that suits you, remains for 2021! “

* The Rowcroft Hospice website has not yet been updated to reflect the fact that there is only one place to start now: Torre Abbey Meadows.

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