THOUSANDS of flashing bunny ears shone through the gloom as Burnley and Pendle’s first-ever midnight walk for Pendleside Hospice ventured forth.

Pink cowboy hats and the bunny ears, along with tutus and dayglo wigs, were the fashion statements made by 2,000 women as they set off from Turf Moor early this morning.

Each with their own memory of a departed loved one, or friend, who had been cared for at the Reedley Hospice, the determined trekkers gave up their Saturday night, and a hefty chunk of Sunday morning, to help raise £200,000 for the Colne Road centre.

Double the expected numbers had signed up for the jaunt, which took entrants from Burnley FC’s home to Nelson Wavelengths leisure centre and back.

An impeccably-observed minute’s silence took place in the assembly area at 11.30pm to remember loved ones.

And the party spirit was very much in evidence as party hits from the Village People and Michael Jackson, played by 2BR’s drivetime show host Gemma Bacon, helped the walkers to get in the mood.

Gemma Snowden, 21, from Burnley, recalled how the hospice had cared for her friend Emma Gemmell’s late father, Sean Baldwin, as he battled cancer two years ago.

She said: “My friend was getting married to her fiance Andrew and they took him to the church and helped out with the reception. I was a bridesmaid and I really remember all the little things they did.”

Even the late King of Pop was remembered, thanks to childhood friends Danielle Hargreaves, 14, and Rhian Ingham, 15, who walked in memory of Michael Jackson and donned Thriller-style face make-up in tribute.

Danielle, who attends Ribblesdale College, said: “We just can’t believe he’s gone. It’s really sad.”

En route motorists along Belvedere Road, Eastern Avenue and Queen Victoria Road honked their horns in appreciation of the women’s efforts and firefighters from Burnley station lined up to wish the walkers well.

Hospice fundraising manager Kaye Bartle said: “We originally set a target of 1,000 walkers but this quickly escalated to 2,000 and we are delighted.”

Click on the link below for the Midnight Walk photo gallery.