THE countdown is on.

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In just 100 days, scores of people will take to the streets of Ipswich to show their support for St Elizabeth Hospice.

The Midnight Walk will take place on May 18 with several new twists, including the opportunity to run the event.

It will also be the first time men can take part and, to encourage more gents to sign up, Ipswich Town footballers Tommy Smith, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Andy Drury and Lee Martin visited the hospice to pledge their support.

The players met with hospice staff and patients before officially marking the 100-day countdown.

Super Blue Tommy Smith said: “The Midnight Walk is the hospice’s biggest fundraiser and every year it sets off from Portman Road, so we wanted to do what we could to show our support for it.

“It is the first year it is open to men as well as women and we wanted to encourage more people to get involved to help the work of the hospice.”

The players met hospice patient Brian Fearn, 77, of Kesgrave, who has been supporting the Blues since 1948.

The event, which is sponsored by The Ipswich Star, will see fundraising enthusiasts walk or run the eight or five-mile routes.

Many people take part in memory of a loved one, while others walk in groups as a fitness challenge or just for fun.

Leanne Carhart, who is organising the Midnight Walk, said: “We are eagerly counting down the 100 days and can’t wait.

“We would like as many men and women as possible to sign up to have fun and help support their local hospice at the same time.

“We are so glad that players from Ipswich Town Football Club have found time to support the Midnight Walk and for all their continued support of the hospice. It really makes a difference.”

Registration costs £15. To sign up or find out more, visit www.midnightwalkipswich.co.uk or call 01473 707043. All participants are asked to raise sponsorship.

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