Pilgrims Hospices has launched its fourth annual summer Sunflower Memories Appeal. In return for a donation of their choice, the public can dedicate a beautiful sunflower plaque to be planted in the hospice’s wonderful gardens over the summer to remember someone special to them.
Each of the three hospices sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet will have a sunflower display in the grounds. You can say which hospice garden you wish your sunflower to be place in.
The Sunflower Days take place this year during the weekend of 29 and 30 July.
Ashford – Saturday 29 July – 11am – 1pm
Canterbury – Saturday 29 July – 2pm – 4pm
Thanet – Sunday 30 July – 2pm – 4pm
Pilgrims Nurse, Alison Wiltshire, said: “We know from talking to people every day in the community just how important it is that they have the opportunity to honour the memory of loved ones. Sunflower Memories is a chance to share these treasured and beautiful memories.”
Supporters are also warmly invited to the Sunflower Day tea party, a tranquil and uplifting event that will take place within the hospice gardens. There will be live music; tea, cake and an opportunity for supporters to come together with others to share their fondest memories.
The events are held across each of Pilgrims three hospice sites and last year raised almost £28,000 for hospice care.
Pilgrims Nurse, Mary Honey said: “Every day I am privileged to be able to walking alongside people with incurable illness and their families, acting as their professional friend during the difficult time they face. I am always astounded by the resilience of the families we support and it’s the generous community support that makes it possible for me and my colleagues to continue to offer our care.”
She adds: “I still find people are always surprised at the range of support Pilgrims offers to people. I think together we need to get the word out that as well as coming for end of life care, people at earlier stage in an incurable illness can also come here to do a lot of living.
Pilgrims Nurse Sarah Brown, told us: “Having someone available to support them around the clock, is what I hear many of our families and patients say is one of the real differences we make to their experience. Appeal donations and support from the community enabled us to offer that support 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.”
If you would like to take part in the Sunflower celebrations you can find out more and make a dedicating here or by contacting Sunflower Memories Appeal team on 01227 782062
Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards, to its new wellbeing and social programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent. Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes.
Super star fundraising volunteer, Rose Link from Tankerton On Sea Nr. Whitstable, is 76 ½ years young and will take tandem skydive on 28 July to raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices.
Rose is a regular volunteer at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury and can be seen at most of the community supermarket collections chatting with the public and promoting the work that the charity does.
Her skydive is confirmed at Headcorn Airfield and she is funding herself in order that all the money she raises will be donated straight to Pilgrims Hospices.
“I decided to take on this challenge after reading about a much older gentleman who had undertaken a skydive and I thought this would be such an exciting challenge. My husband, Ivan, has shared the cost with me even though he was most certainly a little shocked and surprised.” Rose told us.
She has been experiencing some nerves as the event draws nearer, however she’s made good use of the information available at Headcorn regarding relaxation and training in order to enjoy the experience from leaving the plane until touching the ground safely.
Everyone has been so supportive and really encouraging.
“Everyone has been so supportive and really encouraging. I’m really quite excited.” She added.
Deborah Kellond, Pilgrims Community Fundraising Manager said: “I would never have thought Rose would be the person to jump out of a plane!
Everyone has been so supportive and really encouraging.
As part of the volunteer team Rose particularly enjoys collection at supermarkets, distributing posters in the local community and also helps at many Pilgrims community events.
Rose said: “I was a fundraising volunteer for the Kent Air Ambulance for 8 years until 2012 when I took a rest. However, in the spring of 2013 I felt there was something missing in my life and decided to contact Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury to talk about volunteering. I get involved with lots of fundraising activities and enjoying meeting people and making a contribution to such a valuable local charity.
If you would like to learn more about volunteers’ opportunities for Pilgrims Hospices click here. For information on challenges and ways to raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices contact your local fundraising team. If you would like to skydive for PIlgrims you can find out more just click Skydive.
20th June 2017
Hospice celebrates new kitchen garden thanks to generous volunteers
Staff from Marks and Spencer’s Westwood Cross and Whitstable volunteered their time and funds to help transform an area of garden at Pilgrims Thanet hospice, creating a beautiful space to grow fresh fruit and veg for use in the charity’s kitchens.
Over three days, Marks and Spencer staff took on a wide variety of jobs including clearing ground, building raised beds, pruning shrubs, cleaning out the two greenhouses and much much more.
They were joined by Thanet’s own volunteer gardeners and together began creating a fantastic new kitchen garden area.
Georgina Braithwaite, Head Chef at Pilgrims Hospices Thanet, said: “It’s been an amazing experience having the team from M&S here, creating this kitchen garden for us. We will be able to grow so many vegetables and salad items that we can make into dishes for our patients. My kitchen team has been inspired to learn more about what we can grow and are very keen to experiment with new varieties.”
The project was part of Marks and Spencer’s national, ‘Make it Matter’ campaign where every M&S branch was able to choose a local charity to support with both funds and labour hours.
It’s been such a pleasure for us to come and help.
Nigel Cliff, from M&S said: “It’s been such a pleasure for us to come and help over the three days, we all know of someone who has been cared for by Pilgrims and it’s a privilege to do this for them. Quite a few of the team have asked if they can come back in their own time and volunteer some time to help.”
Caroline Dixon, Community Fundraising Officer for Pilgrims Hospices said: “The transformation that has taken place is amazing and this means so much to the whole team here in Thanet. A huge thank you to everyone from M&S who has been involved with this project and to the team at Wyevale who fitted an automatic watering system to the finished planting area.”
The volunteers have been an inspiration.
Pilgrims Hospices Chief Executive, Cate Russell said: “The Marks and Spencer volunteers have been an inspiration, projects like this are so important to create wellbeing for patients and visitors and staff. We wish to thank all those involved for their amazing contribution.”
Day one saw the sun shining down which made ground clearance and digging a lot easier, led by Cara Redman store manager at Westwood Cross the team got so much done that by the end of the day even one of the raised beds had been constructed.
Day two bought some unwanted heavy rain but that was never going to deter the Dave Parker and the team, they did as many of the inside jobs as possible, including scrubbing the insides of the greenhouses, and left the area ready for filling and planting on day three.
Day three arrived and the team was blessed with glorious sunshine, with the final list of tasks the team had the back-breaking work of loading all the newly created beds with top soil ready for planting to take place. With the sun shining the pagoda was given a new coat of paint while the rest of the team moved barrow after barrow of soil into place. Soon the whole area was looking totally transformed and the beds were ready for planting. Nigel Cliff, store manager at the newly opened Whitstable branch, and the team also decided to create a planting area for potatoes by recycling old pallets and making them into raised beds. Trudy Roberts captured the whole three days in pictures and video and she also got stuck in with the team.
Every hour and every minute of volunteering for Pilgrims Hospices is hugely valued and goes a long way for the people needing our care.
Our volunteers play a part in every aspect of life in our hospices: they offer support, skills, kindness, care, raise money; they can be a friendly face helping in our shops and working on our receptions. By generously giving their time, volunteers support our staff as they work to provide the outstanding levels of care for which we are well known.
If reading about Pilgrims huge community of volunteers has inspired you to find out more about our current volunteering opportunities then click here. You can also download our fundraising pack here.
Team Tactics support Pilgrims Hospices It’s a Knockout
Saturday 9th July will see Team Tactics; an events management company based in Selling taking part in Pilgrims Hospices It’s a Knockout to be held in Faversham.
Dressed as dalmatians they will jump through inflatable holes, find items in ball pits, jump down some very wet slides and enjoy all the mayhem that will ensue in this fun filled day.
They are only a company of 7 people who will bring in family and friends to help and even arrive with a cheer squad.
Tina Parsons, Managing Director explained why they were taking part: “In 2016 my step-mother Patricia Parsons was going through a tough time with her cancer treatment and although the NHS were great in terms of medical treatment, there was little time to give her the extra support she needed when she was struggling.
“A friend suggested getting referred to Pilgrims Hospices. From the moment she started visiting Pilgrims Hospices it was like a breath of fresh air for both her my dad too. There was someone to listen to her concerns and help her, people to talk to about her feelings and the opportunity to talk to others going through the same thing. She was able to enjoy some lovely treatments such as reflexology and find ways to help cope with other aspects of her illness.
“Late last year she took a turn for the worse and the doctors suggested she stay at the hospice for a while. I thought at that point ‘this was it’. However her three week stay at the hospice saw such a change in her and she returned home feeling so much better. It turns out that a large number of patients come in to get help with their treatment and go home again.
It’s a really great day out.
“It was during this time I discovered that Pilgrims Hospices have to raise £11 million per year to run its services. When I heard the Ashford hospice was running an It’s a Knockout event last year, I thought it would be great to put in a team. We enjoyed our day so much that we were determined not only to take part again for the new It’s a Knockout in Faversham but also to help further by signing up as headline sponsors to help with the event costs so more of the money raised can be spent on patient care.”
Tina added: “It is a really great day out and as an added bonus this fantastic charity benefits from all the fundraising. We would encourage anybody to put in a team and have simply the best day out.”
There is still time to enter a team. If you would like to join in the fun of It’s a Knockout, please email email@example.com or call 01233 504111. Entry is £250 per team of 10 and each team is asked to raise a minimum of £500 in sponsorship.
Pilgrims Divas show ‘girl power at its best’
Over two hundred and twenty female cyclists flexed their pedal power in support of the hospice this Sunday for the fourth Pilgrims Hospices Divas on Wheels cycle challenge.
Setting out from Freewheel Cycling Café and Pub near Faversham, riders could choose from either a 25-mile or 50 mile route through the beautiful Kent countryside.
Deborah Kellond, Pilgrims Hospices Community Fundraising Manager, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who came along on this very warm summer’s day to support the hospice. For many of the riders this was the first time they had taken on a challenge like this. They’ve already shown such dedication, coming to training rides to build their fitness for the big day. It’s been great to see them enjoying the atmosphere now and succeeding in their challenge.”
Riders were supported by 35 dedicated volunteers including experienced riders or ‘Bike Heroes’, leading small groups and offering roadside repairs and help to anybody who needed it. Then they crossed the finish to receive their medals followed by scrummy cakes, snacks, a chance to tame their helmet hair, relax listening to live music from Jazz Omnibus and even enjoy a free body massage to ease away any aches and pains.
Divas is such a supportive event, with the riders encouraging each other on the way.
Each year, Pilgrims offers care and comfort to more than 2,400 people who are coping with an illness that cannot be cured.
Sarah Martins, Senior Ward Sister for Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury was among the riders and took on the 50 mile challenge as part of her 40th birthday bucket list. She said: “My Mum was cared for as a patient at Pilgrims 10 years ago. Having experienced the difference that care makes, I feel very privileged as a Pilgrims nurse to be part of that service. It felt really good to take part in this challenge, knowing the funds we have raised will help us continue to be there for the next family that needs us.”
As well as the high quality end of life care Pilgrims gives on its wards and in the community the charity has also launched a new programme of wellbeing activities to support people earlier in their journey.
Adds Sarah: “None of this would be possible without the generous support we receive from our community, so a huge thank you to all our Pilgrims Divas, together we really make a difference for local families.”
Pilgrims would like to thank our event sponsors, Pink Lady Apples, E-Flow Cycles and The Freewheel without whom this event would not be possible.
If you, or someone close to you, is coping with a life limiting illness visit Wellbeing to find out more about the support that’s available.
For details of Pilgrims fundraising events and challenges in your area visit ‘How can I help?’
14th June 2017
Ann’s story: “It feels so good to give back to Pilgrims”
When Ann Day and her friends at Samba Pelo Mar set a fundraising target to raise 10k for Pilgrims Hospices, they thought they might manage 5 or 8k. So when they presented a cheque for a whopping 17k this spring, they were hugely proud, and a little in shock!
Here, Ann shares what inspired such an amazing result.
How did you get involved?
I play drums and compose music for Whitstable-based community band, Samba Pelo Mar. We’re a big band – almost 50 men and women from all walks of life, the oldest 82 and the youngest 12. We aim to make uplifting sounds, create a sense of community and be an inspiration.
We’ve been going for 10 years now. Although some members have no previous experience, we pride ourselves on being very well-rehearsed. We like to get people laughing and moving and dancing.
I realised, “I am so lucky to be recovering, but others aren’t – I’ve got to give something back.”
We played at the Pyjama Walk in Ashford for the past nine years and at Light Up the City last year. We helped create a big climax as the walks set off.
What spurred you to do even more?
The last year has been a huge journey for me, and the band as a whole.
It started when a really good friend of the band, Jon, was diagnosed with cancer. Jon was a BBC sound technician. He used his skills to film, photograph and record the band. His wife Daphne plays with us.
I had also been diagnosed with cancer myself and, after two major operations, I got the all clear. This happened just as Jon was diagnosed as being in the later stages of his illness. He received end-of-life care at Pilgrims. I realised, “I am so lucky to be recovering, but others aren’t – I’ve got to give something back.”
How did you go about such a huge fundraising task?
Being part of a group made it less daunting. There’s a core group who manage the band so we worked together, backed up by our friends and supporters.
We held lots of different events including collections in Sainsbury’s, a garden party, and a sponsored walk. Then our biggest event was an art auction.
For me, the past year was completely bound up with raising money. It’s what I thought about every day when I woke up. Luckily, Deborah from Pilgrims fundraising team was there to support too so I felt backed all the way.
What kind of support did you get from the community?
It was clear people have a huge affection for Pilgrims. Such a big proportion of people know someone who have received their care. When we were collecting in a supermarket doorway, instead of people dodging round we would see the shoppers walk towards us getting out their purses. The stories they had about how the charity has helped them were amazing.
What are you most proud of?
The art auction was a huge amount of work. It was a huge thing to organise but I can’t believe how successful it was. I hope we inspire other people to do what we have done, even on a smaller scale. There were 50 of us working towards our goal and I had a personal reason to drive me forward, but every contribution – large or small – really does make a difference.
Have you learned anything new about the hospice?
The hospice can be a place you can go to get support to live better with a life limiting illness. It’s so positive to know people don’t have to cope alone.
I’ve learned a lot. At the moment the hospice perhaps represents something uncomfortable in people’s minds if they don’t have experience of it. We all know it’s there for people at the very end of life, and we may know people who have died there. What I hadn’t realised is that they do so much more.
We do need to talk about it more. The hospice can be a place you can go to get support to live better with a life limiting illness, to improve your symptoms. There’s a huge network of support for families, too. They can access a range of help, including bereavement counselling. It’s so positive to know people don’t have to cope alone.
Our experience has inspired us to continue to support Pilgrims. We want to carry on doing smaller fundraising every year and contributing money raised from some of our gigs. We are also playing at A Night to Shine in September, at the Canterbury venue.
I’m looking forward to performing, it’s going to have a unique atmosphere with so many people coming together from the three hospices for one giant walk – that’s very special. I can’t wait for the big night and my next chance to support this amazing charity.