SWASHBUCKLING solicitors and legal secretaries are preparing to plunder and pillage to help fill the treasure chests at a local hospice.

A team of buccaneering belles from Close Thornton Solicitors, Duke Street, Darlington, will be collecting a bounty of sponsorship for St Teresa’s Hospice after signing up for this year’s Pirate-themed Midnight Walk.

Now in its tenth year, the annual walk, which has so far raised in excess of £100,000 for the Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire cancer charity, will take place on Friday May 19.

Nine Close Thornton Trekkers, including conveyancing solicitors and legal secretaries, plus a selection of family members, will set off on the new 2.8 mile route through Darlington’s South Park.

They will include 11-year-old Katie Gill, daughter of Close Thornton marketing consultant Margaret Gill.

“Katie is so excited that the age limit has been dropped to 11 this year so she can take part in the Midnight Walk,” said Margaret.

“She loves the pirate theme idea and the whole team is really looking forward to taking part.

“It is such a good idea to get young people involved and for them to understand what the hospice does and how they can help to support it.”

All entrants signing up for the walk, which is supported by Houndgate Townhouse, Securitas and Northumbrian Water, are encouraged to come dressed in their finest pirate attire with the best costume winning a prize.

Games, entertainment from Backscratch Theatre Co and a photo stall will keep walkers entertained along the route and all entrants will receive a pirate goody bag, a hot drink and a bacon roll or Caribbean fruit pot at the finish line.

“It really is important to support St Teresa’s Hospice as they do such a good job and events like this make you feel like you are doing something to help while having a great time,” added Margaret.

“Two of the ladies in our team have taken part in every walk since the event started and others are walking in memory of family members who received care at the hospice.”

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw added: “The Midnight Walk remains one of my firm favourites as it captures perfectly the poignancy of people walking in memory of their loved ones and the fun of a truly carnival event.”

Registration for the pirate-themed women-only sponsored walk costs £10, with entrants asked to try and raise £50 sponsorship money for the charity.

Entry is via www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk or call (01325) 254321 for a form.