HUNDREDS of walkers strode out on the longest day of the year in support of Cotswold Care Hospice.

Families with children as young as three, and many with their dogs enjoyed took part in the Solstice Walk across Minchinhampton Common.

The 480 walkers raised more than £24,000 for the Minchinhampton based charity which supports people in Cirencester, Tetbury and Fairford.

One of the youngest walkers was three-year-old Rupert Morrison, from Avening, who walked with brother Dermot, seven, and mum and dad.

“My dad is going through cancer so hospices hold a very special place in my heart,” said Pip Morrison.

“Hospice at home care is so important. When you’re facing death you don’t want to have to do that in unfamiliar surroundings and with strangers.”

Walkers could choose between a 5km and 10km route which both passed Winstone’s Ice Cream where many stopped for a snack and enjoyed the music of Uke Stroud.

They were welcomed back to the hospice grounds with a glass of Buck’s Fizz and enjoyed a bar, barbecue, live music and children’s activities.

Among the scores of volunteers helping was Rae Carrington from Cirencester. “It’s been a great evening and so nice to see so many turn out to support the hospice,” she said.

Each walker received a ribbon which they could place on an arch in the hospice garden in memory of a loved one.

Angela Pearce placed her ribbon in memory of her 26-year-old daughter Vicky Wakefield-Heath who died of cancer.

“I cannot put into words the difference the wonderful staff at Cotswold Care Hospice made to Vicky, her baby son Spencer and myself at a very tragic and frightening time in our lives,” said Angela.