Kent Police make touching tribute to a colleague and donation to Pilgrims
Police officers across the Kent Police force took on Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on 6 May in tribute to and in memory of their colleague Leigh Harris, who passed away at the age of 37 years from cancer. Police colleagues both serving and retired raised more than £7,825 for Pilgrims.
Officer Dean Quinn presented the cheque to Cate Russell, Pilgrims Chief Executive, at the Ashford hospice. Dean said: “We are so pleased to hand over our donation; friends and colleagues have been very generous in supporting our Kent Blue Solidarity Ride. Leigh was a much-loved officer and sadly taken from us too soon.
Leigh was a much-loved officer and sadly taken from us too soon.
Since the presentation took place the officers have raised a further £900 and estimate they could reach a fundraising figure as high as £10,000 for Pilgrims. You can still make a donation on the team’s JustGiving page to help Dean and his colleagues achieve their goal.
Retired police offer, Mark Chambers, wrote a poem in memory of Leigh; it was a touching tribute and Pilgrims is pleased to share his special words.
Kent Blue Handlebar Ribbons
Some rode rich bikes all gold carbon fibre
Others rode steel frames worth just a fiver
Some full of aches needed pain-killing pills
Others found it easy; sprinting up hills
Some had done training; strong preparation
Others rode doggedly; sheer desperation
Some rode in lycra geared up for a race
Others in leisure-wear set novice pace
Some powered-on drinking soda and lime
Others used cider to soften each climb
A few sometimes wished they’d just caught the bus,
But rode for a brother – for one of us.
They rode to share in some real solidarity
All rode for the hospice, but we all rode for Leigh.
Kate Duddell, Pilgrims Hospices Fundraising Manger, said: “It was a very poignant meeting with the officers. The poem was a wonderful tribute and the fundraising cheque will make an enormous contribution to the number of people we can support on our wards and within the community.”
It was a very poignant meeting with the officers. The poem was a wonderful tribute.
Kate Duddell, Pilgrims Hospices Fundraising Manager
If you or someone you know is coping with a life limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or read about our Wellbeing and Social Programme.
25th May 2018
Robyn and Josh’s Sri Lanka trek for Popski raises £1,600 for Pilgrims Hospices
For their honeymoon, Robyn (27) and Josh Bennett (26) from Maidstone decided to take on an epic challenge by hiking Adam’s Peak mountain in Nallathanniya, Sri Lanka to raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices. The newlyweds trekked in memory of Robyn’s dad, Jason Schafer, who was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Ashford in December 2017, aged 46. Here, Robyn shares their story and how they’ve raised an incredible £1,600 for Pilgrims Hospices.
Josh and I married at Westenhanger Castle near Hythe on 3 August 2017. Dad actually picked the venue as he knew we wanted to get married outside, and a customer on his postal round suggested it to him. He was by our side every step of the way; from helping us to organise, plan and run around, he made sure that our day was perfect. Just a few weeks later Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer, so we put off booking our honeymoon because we were so worried about him. Although his initial treatment went well, on 7 December 2017 he was referred to Pilgrims Hospice Ashford for 24-hour care. Even in the last weeks of his life he was telling me to book our honeymoon and that Josh and I still had to go, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. After he passed, I knew then that I had to do it for Dad; so when we heard about the Adam’s Peak trek it seemed fitting to raise money for Pilgrims in his memory.
Dad was a wonderful person; an amazing dad, son, brother, husband and friend. He absolutely loved his job as a postman in the village of Capel-le-Ferne, and would often tell me stories about things he’d done – people he’d helped just by talking to them, or calling someone an ambulance when they were in need. When the parish council wrote a lovely Facebook post about Dad and the comments started pouring in, it made me realise that he was not just my hero but many other peoples’, too. From welcoming people to the village and making them feel at home, to comforting them when they lost a loved one or a pet, jumping 7 ft fences to help the elderly when they’d fallen over or just popping in for a cuppa – I know that the people of the village will miss him ever so much, as will all of his friends at the Royal Mail who adored him.
Dad expressed to us a couple of weeks before he passed away that if people wanted to give anything, he would like them to donate to Pilgrims so they can help others in need. The Pilgrims nurses gave him amazing care, making him feel safe and special – and that’s exactly how they made us feel, too. We were confident that, in their care, Dad was being treated with respect and dignity. They were always smiling, happy, laughing and joking with him. They managed his pain to the best of their ability, bringing him what he needed when he needed it; it was the best we’d seen him cared for since he’d been diagnosed. Although I wasn’t there all the time, I imagine that he was quite fun and cheeky with the nurses as that was always in his nature; he loved to love people and people loved him.
On Christmas Day the hospice staff decorated the dining room with festive decorations, laid out crackers and made everyone a wonderful Christmas dinner and pudding. Josh and I got Dad an Arsenal football shirt with ‘Popski’ printed on it as that’s what we called him, and he wore it that day. It truly was a special day, and Dad got his wish to spend his Christmas surrounded by family. Pilgrims do an incredible job, and they should be recognised for the extremely physically and emotionally hard work that they do.
The Pilgrims nurses gave Dad amazing care, making him feel safe and special – and that’s exactly how they made us feel, too. We were confident that, in their care, Dad was being treated with respect and dignity.
In March 2018 we took on our Sri Lanka trek for Pilgrims. Our fundraising target was £1,000 but thanks to the generosity of family, friends and work colleagues we raised £1,600, so we’re over the moon and know that Dad would be super proud. Josh also baked cakes and sold them to family and friends for £5 each; his speciality was a Sicilian lemon and blueberry cake with lemon curd and fresh cream, which went down a treat!
We started our trek up the mountain at 2am, arrived at the top by 5.45am to watch the sunrise and were down at the bottom by 9am. In total it’s 6,000 steps up and 6,000 steps down and the mountain is 7,359 ft tall so it’s really tough on legs and knees, but it was so worth it for the beautiful views and amazing feeling knowing we’d achieved something for a great cause. We took Dad’s Arsenal shirt to the top of the mountain with us, and as the monks played their drums we watched the sunrise above the clouds. We felt a huge sense of achievement and peace. It was absolutely beautiful and well worth the aching legs to raise money for Pilgrims in memory of a very special man, our Dad. We hope that the money we’ve raised can help other families like ours when they need it the most.
If you’re feeling inspired by Robyn and Josh’s story, Pilgrims offer an amazing selection of overseas challenges each year so you, too, can go the extra (air) mile for local hospice care:
Terry Blackman and Richard Glister are not just regular runners; after Terry found himself in hospital with the fear of not being able to walk again, after a cycle accident in April 2015, he decided that he and his friend Richard were going to run a marathon.
In 2016 Terry and Richard completed their first marathon in 4hrs 26mins, from this moment on they have had the running bug. They then went on to complete the Kent Coastal Marathon in September and Richard is now 26 marathons in and is aiming to complete 100 by the time he reaches the age of 45.
Whilst looking for their next running challenge Terry and Richard came across Saxons, Vikings and Normans Marathons and Challenges website. Both men admit, they fell in love with the medals available and it all snowballed from there. Their running challenges then stepped up a notch when they learnt that for the Vikings 100-mile endurance run you received a belt buckle instead of a medal, their new challenge was decided.
On the 10 March Terry and Richard lined up at 8am to start their 100-mile endurance run along with 100 others. All runners are given 32 hours to complete the endurance run but Terry and Richard had their minds set on finishing in 24 hours. 100 runners began the race, but only 54 finished, Terry placed at a fantastic 14thplace with a time of 22:53:21 with Richard close behind him at 24:43:00.
Community Fundraising Officer, Lydia Todd, asked what kept you going around those 100-miles through the night. Both men answered simply: “We knew we were doing it for Pilgrims Hospices so nothing was going to stop us.”
We knew we were doing it for Pilgrims Hospices so nothing was going to stop us.
Terry and Richard take part in these insane challenges for their own entertainment and to complete their own personal challenges, but for this one, they thought people might think that is was such an insane challenge that they would sponsor them to run it, and they were correct. The generous friends, family and colleagues helped them raise a phenomenal £1,557 for Pilgrims Hospices which represents over 77 hours of specialist nursing care that can be provided to patients in east Kent who are living with incurable illnesses.
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.
Pilgrims retail team celebrate award winning success
Pilgrims Hospices retail team were delighted to receive the hospice ‘Retail team of the Year’ award this month. The award was presented at the annual Hospice UK Conference in Warwick; the award celebrates the innovative work of charity retail stores and the people who work within them.
As a national charity Hospice UK support over 200 hospices who collectively provide vital care for 200,000 people across the UK who need end of life care or have life limiting illnesses every year. Pilgrims Hospices in east Kent care for over 2,800 patients, their families and friends from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, within the community and in people’s homes.
Tim Stewart, Retail Manager for Pilgrims Hospices accepted the award on behalf of his team within the Pilgrims shops and eBay site. Tim said: “The national award is open to all hospice retailers across the UK, Pilgrims are very proud to have been cited as the best.”
Pilgrims received the award for making significant increases in sales over the past 12 months making considerable reductions in costs.
“Pilgrims has improved recruitment and retention of volunteers during this year, we are very pleased to have such a wonderful team working throughout our 32 stores in east Kent.” Tim explained.
Pilgrims are very proud to have been cited as the best Tim Stewart
The team has encouraged donations and continue to engage with corporate partners by running corporate staff donation days, hospice staff donation days and use social media and the newly branded livery on the vans to increase awareness of the variety of Pilgrims Hospices services available to those who need care the most.
Tim explained: “Pilgrims Hospices renamed our house clearance service to ‘Caring Collections’, offering a personalised and compassionate service to all our donors and in particular our bereaved donors. We have also remodelled some of our shops; this has demonstrated, to our customers, that we respect their donations and this has encouraged further donations.”
As part of Pilgrims environmental awareness policy over 600 tons of unsaleable stock has been prevented from going into landfill by working with: textile, bric-a-brac and book recycling companies and other charities (Sense, The Dogs Trust, Tools for Self-Reliance).
The charity also recognises the importance of their drivers; they’re often the first point of contact after people have experienced a loss. The service they receive from Pilgrims drivers can leave a lasting impression on individuals; about the hospices and as a result the drivers have compassion training, in order that they are comfortable having conversations with people who are bereaved.
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibly code, Pilgrims part of the Recycle Your Cycle scheme which refurbishes bikes in prisons across the country, providing the shops with good quality bikes to sell and prisoners with transferable skills.
The charity also collaborates with Working with Community Repaint, by stocking repackaged paint from excess and end of line stock, from Dulux and Crown Paints, enabling us to sell high quality paints at affordable prices
Most importantly, this award is recognition of the continued support and hard work of our dedicated and loyal volunteers.
You can click hereto find out more about Pilgrims Hospices shops and where to find them visit.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,300 people in East Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
23rd May 2018
Sixth annual Pilgrims It’s a Knockout is a great success
Hundreds of supporters enjoyed Pilgrims Hospices It’s a Knockout event at Government Acre, Ramsgate on Sunday 20 May. The Thanet hospice has now run this important fundraising event for six years, generating vital funds for hospice care and an opportunity for friends, families and local businesses to take on some crazy antics and compete for the winner’s trophy.
This year 16 teams entered, including last year’s winners the Stormloopers, with everyone taking on bouncy obstacle courses and slippery slides. Each team could play their joker cards to win extra points. The laughter was infectious as teams competed to win while supporting the much-loved local charity.
Teams from around the area took part including SPH Charity Team (Spencer Private Hospitals) from Margate; each team member has known someone who has been supported by Pilgrims.
Toni Topping from the It Is What It Is team from Deal said: “We took part in It’s a Knockout in 2017; today we’re doing it in memory of our friend Sean Hammond who was our team mascot last year. He was supported by Pilgrims at home.”
Kieran Wynne from team Gone with the Winded (Ivor Thomas Amusements) from Ramsgate said: “We do a lot of charity work as a company and It’s a Knockout is a great team builder.”
The Team That Cannot Wait
Katy's Kittens and Bunny's Honeys
Gone With the Winded (Ivor Thomas Amusements)
It Is What It Is
Stone Bay Slumber Party
Andrew & Co.
80s Stone Bay Crew
Karen Kenward, Community Fundraising Manager, said: “This really is a fun event with many supporters returning each year.
“I’d like to thank everyone who attended – those who took part, sponsored their team members, spectated on the day to cheer their teams on, volunteered to help run our fun stalls, our amazing event sponsors Stagecoach and those who made or dressed up as mascots to help their teams double points.
“Your wonderful support will enable us to continue providing care for all who need it, both in the hospice and at home. Last year It’s a Knockout raised an incredible £16,109. Early indications show that this year’s event has raised £11,326 with further sponsorship still to come in.”
Karen added; “It costs just over £6,800 a day to run each of our three hospices inpatient units, so community support from events like this makes a huge difference to our charity.
We took part in It’s a Knockout in 2017; today we’re doing it in memory of our friend Sean Hammond who was our team mascot last year. He was supported by Pilgrims at home.
Toni Topping, Team: It Is What It Is
The winning team were event sponsors Stagecoach, whose team the Stormloopers completed a hat trick by winning this event for the third year in a row. The runners up were team It Is What It Is; last place went to The Team That Cannot Wait, who received wooden spoons.
“Whatever place they came, everyone who supported the event received a medal from Pilgrims Hospices as huge thank for taking part. You are all deserving winners to us; thank you for a wonderful day.”
Chris Ray and Gary Warren from the Stormloopers team said: “Pilgrims is a charity close to our hearts. We’ve won It’s a Knockout for the past two years; today we’ve completed the hat trick!”
Teams from further afield included Chuffer Nut from Ashford and Canterbury. Team member Zoe Tyzack said: “It’s a very worthy cause that we absolutely adore.”
Team member and mascot Diane Smith from Stone Bay Slumber Party from Broadstairs said: “It was so much fun last year that we wanted to take part again and raise money for a good cause.”
It was so much fun last year that we wanted to take part again and raise money for a good cause.
Diane Smith, Team: Stone Bay Slumber Party
Pete Bishop, a regular Pilgrims supporter and team member of Gone With the Winded, said: “My wife, Tatum, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet and support by the Hospice at Home team. We’ve already raised more than £1,300 for Pilgrims this year by holding our annual quiz for the hospice.”
Alex Chapman-King, team member of Katy’s Kittens from Thanet, said: “We’re taking part in memory of my wife, Katy, who was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet earlier this year. We’ve already raised £5,000 for Cancer Research UK and will be taking on Tough Mudder, a parachute jump and the Canterbury Half Marathon to raise even more money for Pilgrims Hospices.”
If you or someone you know is coping with a life limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or find out more about our Wellbeing and Social Programme.
21st May 2018
Pilgrims Therapy Centre share royal wedding celebrations
No royal wedding celebration would be complete without tea and cake at Pilgrims Hospices.
On Tuesday the hospice in Canterbury gave a warm welcome to patients, staff and volunteers in advance of the royal wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Megan on Saturday 17 May.
Pilgrims Associate Practitioners, Jenny Aylward, Sian Webb, Kelly Richard and Kathleen Steele opened the Wellbeing and Therapy Centre for visitors to enjoy afternoon tea and entertainment from volunteer supporters Alice and Andrew Mussett.
A delicious selection of cakes and pastries were baked by staff and volunteers, Pilgrims catering team supported with party sandwich platters.
Jenny said: “Prince Harry and Meghan will marry on Saturday; we agreed it would be lovely to share a celebration with our Therapy Centre users and friends, it’s a great reason for getting together with tea and cake in a relaxed and informal environment.
“I would like to send a huge thank you to the staff, volunteers andButterfly Garden Tea Parties for all of the generous contributions that made the afternoon tea really special.”
Visitors were able to meet the royals in knitted format when they arrived. Jenny had been busy knitting a full complement of royals including some of the Queens corgis bringing a smile to the face of everyone. She said: “It’s so nice to make people smile, I think everyone enjoyed a little giggle, especially at all the individual details that each member of the royal family had been given.”
Pilgrims run a wide range of support groups and activities for patients and families in order to enhance wellbeing in mind and body. The social events give service users opportunities to meet and connect with other patients and gain an understanding of the full range of services available. The groups always take place in a warm and inviting social setting.”
Cate Russell, Pilgrims Chief Executive joined the celebration and said: “Not only were we celebrating the forthcoming royal wedding, it was lovely for some of our non-clinical staff to share time with patients on the ward and those who use our Therapy Centre services. It’s also really important for our carers, friends and families to feel supported and to have the opportunity to network with people in similar situations.
“Traditional tea and cake how delightful, we hope Prince Harry and Megan have a wonderful wedding celebration.”
If you or someone you know is coping with a life limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or and read about the Wellbeing and Social programme.