Pilgrims Hospices supporter Sylvia Pilot has set herself a challenge to sell the most Grand Draw raffle tickets for Pilgrims Hospices Ashford Summer Garden Party.
Every ticket sold will raise vital funds for end-of-life care in her hometown of Ashford. So far she’s sold over £120 of tickets and is still selling.
Sylvia said: “I love to support local charities, I’ve run, walked and undertaken many challenges over the years in order to raise funds for deserving causes.
Pilgrims Hospices is very special to many of us who have some personal experience of their care.
“I decided to do something quite different on this occasion.
“Pilgrims Hospices is very special to so many of us who have some personal experience of their care, whether it’s through our family or friends.
“People are always very generous when they know they are supporting such a good cause and the Grand Draw prizes are brilliant; who can resist taking part?”
Rachael Edmed, Pilgrims Community Fundraising Officer, said: “Sylvia is doing a marvellous job, she’s so much fun and really enthusiastic, I’m sure she’s going to be a wonderful champion for our Summer Garden Party Grand Draw.”
Sylvia, who is retired, has acres of fundraising experience and as an active member of Tesco Retired Community Club, Dymchurch School, a local darts club, British Legion and Tuesdays Club, she’s a busy lady.
“The price of a Grand Draw raffle ticket is just £1 and can be purchased at the Ashford hospice reception or on the day. We’ve been generously donated an iPad (128GB) by Alan Maker Electrical Services and four tickets with travel to Harry Potter London Studio Tour by Crosskeys Travel. There are some amazing prizes to be won including two annual memberships to Ashford Picturehouse along with so many more.” Rachael added.
The annual event raises vital funds for local hospice care and offers Pilgrims Hospices an opportunity to showcase its beautiful gardens, which are maintained wholly by the volunteer gardening team who are passionate about the plants and gardens that are used by patients and their family and friends.
The Ashford Summer Garden Party takes place on Saturday 3 August, 11am-4pm, in the gardens of Pilgrims Hospice Ashford, Hythe Road, Willesborough, Ashford TN24 0NE. It’s free to come and along and donations are welcome. A park and ride service will also be available.
There will be a wide range of stalls, games and activities for the whole family. From plants, luxury crafts and handmade cakes to hot food, live music, tombolas and children’s games.
Pilgrims Hospices cares for more than 2,400 local people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.
25th June 2019
Hundreds walk the Pilgrims Way for hospice care
Wye, Canterbury and Dover were buzzing with cheerful voices on Saturday 22 June as more than 600 happy walkers gathered on the Pilgrims Way Challenge charity fundraising walk.
Early estimations are that the event will raise more than £90,000 for Pilgrims Hospices!
Walkers enjoyed a 25km 35km or 55km hike through the beautiful rural countryside along one of England’s oldest and least trodden national trails. Young and old alike took to the rolling fields and picturesque villages along the Pilgrims Way to the historic city of Canterbury and onwards to a coastal finish at Dover Castle.
The Pilgrims sponsored walkers collectively walked over 21,500km between them, the equivalent of walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats more than five times!
In true Pilgrims style, walkers were supported throughout the journey with well-stocked rest stops where walkers could take a welcome break in the grounds of some of Kent’s amazing and historic churches. Delicious cakes, sandwiches and strawberry teas were a welcome treat at Chartham Hatch and a hot meal at the Canterbury hospice for walkers who were finishing the 25km route. For those who undertook the 35km and 55km routes, Pilgrims staff and volunteers welcomed the walkers with snacks and treats in Patrixbourne, Womenswold and Waldershare before reaching their final destination and a hot supper at Dover Castle.
Every walker is an inspriation and it’s our pleasure to support them every step of the way.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Hospices
All participants received a medal in recognition of their fantastic achievement.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager, said: “It was incredible to see so many people turning out to walk the Pilgrims Way Challenge in support of our end-of-life care. It was an enjoyable but tough day for all, especially with how warm it was in the sun, and with a bit of determination, the finish was finally reached.
“Every single walker is an inspiration and it’s our pleasure to support them every step of the way on the challenge as they raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices. The money they raise enables Pilgrims to continue caring for more than 2,400 people and their families each year, providing comfort, alleviating pain and enabling them to live well in the time they have.
“Our thanks go to everyone who took part in making the Pilgrims Way Challenge such a success – including our fantastic team of volunteers!”
The Pilgrims Way Challenge will return on Saturday 20 June 2020.
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
21st June 2019
Verity shaves hair for charity
In June, Verity Metcalfe aged 12 from Ashford had her hair shaved off to donate to the Little Princess Trust and at the same time has raised over £1,100 for Pilgrims Hospices.
Sporting her new Miley Cyrus style haircut, Verity explained why: “When I was eight I came across a video about what happens when you shave your hair. I showed Mum and Dad and told them that I wanted to shave my hair too. They told me to wait a few years but when I was 10 I still wanted to do it. So they told me if I was serious, I needed to grow my hair long enough to have enough to donate.
“So I did! I grew my hair for two years and couldn’t wait for the shave; I was so excited and had no fear at all. I feel proud of myself for raising so much money and for giving my hair to help someone feel better about themselves.”
Verity’s mother Laura said: “Verity has always been a thoughtful girl, she always puts others before herself so it was no surprise when she said that she wanted to cut her hair off and donate it to a specialist wig maker who styles wigs for children with various illnesses. Her thought behind this being that her hair will grow back whereas theirs may not. She wanted to make someone less fortunate feel happier.
I feel proud of myself for raising so much money.
“After growing her hair for over two years and deciding to cut it she wanted to raise some money in the process! She chose Pilgrims Hospices because we have known a couple of people who have been cared for by Pilgrims and also was inspired as she watched me take part in the Firewalk the previous year. Her dad and I are extremely proud of her and what she has achieved and we cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity and support.”
Isabel Smith, Community Fundraising Officer, said: “As a team, we are inspired by Verity, who has chosen to do something so generous thinking only of others. The money she has raised will enable Pilgrims Hospices to offer the care and support needed to the next family that needs us.”
If you would like to help raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices, click here for more information and see how together we can make a difference.
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.
Sunflower Memories: Amanda’s story
After Amanda Belfield’s ex-partner, Paul, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury, she now dedicates a sunflower in his memory as part of the charity’s Sunflower Memories campaign. Here, Amanda shares why the event is so special to her.
Paul was a furniture salesman, he enjoyed chatting to people and had the gift of the gab. He could walk into a crowded room and talk to complete strangers about anything. He loved dogs and it would take us ages to get down the road or round a park as he would always stop to make a fuss of them.
He enjoyed champagne and cigars, and we’d often treat ourselves to afternoon tea at the Ritz, Claridges or Browns on special occasions. Being half Scottish, he always hired a kilt for these occasions and tourists would stop and take photos of him walking through London, which he loved!
I felt closer to Paul, spending time at the hospice where he spent his last days, and it was comforting to share this experience with others who had been through the same.
He was a loving dad to his two children, Victoria and Duncan, grandfather to Mollie, and a larger than life character, always joking and laughing. Even when he became very ill, he still had a smile on his face and was cracking jokes.
In August 2017, Paul was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In November, we were told that unfortunately there was nothing they could do apart from palliative chemotherapy.
It was devastating news for him, myself and his two children, but we rallied round. We all hoped that he would make Christmas that year but unfortunately in December Paul’s condition worsened, and the decision was made to take him from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London to Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury.
Myself and his children never left his side whilst he was at the hospice, and all the staff there were wonderfully accommodating with us virtually setting up camp in his room. Whilst Paul has left such a big hole in all of our lives, we are so grateful that he was able to have his family around him when the time came, thanks to the wonderful care and support that we had from all the staff and volunteers at the Canterbury hospice.
I attended Sunflower Memories for the first time last year. It was very emotional to see Paul’s name on the little sunflower marker, as I still can’t quite believe he’s gone. However, it’s a really lovely day to be part of, to enjoy the music and even the sunshine last year! I felt closer to Paul, spending time at the hospice where he spent his last days, and it was comforting to share this experience with others who had been through the same. I shall look forward to attending once again this year and continuing to support this special place, which I cannot praise highly enough.
Sunflower Memories events will take place at our hospices in July 2019:
After Alyson McKenna’s partner, Mitch, was supported by Pilgrims Hospices, she now dedicates a sunflower in his memory as part of the charity’s Sunflower Memories campaign. Here, Alyson shares how joining together with others helps to bring her some peace.
Mitch was a kind, fun-loving, friendly, beautiful and generous man. Almost on a daily basis, he would surprise me with flowers, chocolate, a day out or any other wonderful thing that he could do to make us happy. He was a wonderful chef and loved his dogs immensely.
The first flowers he brought me were sunflowers and the first photo he sent me was of him holding them. The fact that as a single flower they stand tall, show colour, beauty and strength, you can’t help but smile when you see them.
The day brings me happiness and sadness, but seeing all of the other sunflowers and the people looking at them brings a touch of peace.
Mitch passed away on 13 July 2014. On 25 July, my 50th birthday, I had bright colours and sunflowers as a gesture to him at his funeral.
Because the hospice had my contact details, they sent me a letter a month later about starting a sunflower appeal to raise money. I cried at such a wonderful idea and as it was so personal to me, I obviously took part.
Although the display has differed over the four years, the meaning remains the same. The memories of our loved ones who tried to stay strong are represented by these beautiful individual flowers of strength, courage and beauty.
On each of the sunflower plaques I have collected from the appeal, I have written the year and will do so for as long as the event continues. The day brings me happiness and sadness, but seeing all of the other sunflowers and the people looking at them brings a touch of peace. It’s very special to hold an event for the family and friends of those who have left us. There’s a complete sense of understanding between everyone there.
When I see sunflowers, I think of Mitch. I recently purchased a beautiful silver sunflower pendant based on Van Gogh’s painting from the National Gallery, which I wear every day.
After David Randall’s wife, Jill, was cared for by Pilgrims Hospices in 2014, he decided to dedicate a gold leaf in her memory as part of our Memory Trees campaign. Here, David shares how this and attending Pilgrims’ in memory events helps him to celebrate and remember Jill.
“In everyone’s life there is someone, that one, defining someone that takes your life and changes it. My beautiful, brilliant woman has been taken from me too soon. I hoped more than anything that we would be allowed to grow old together, but now I must find a way to go on without her, and to honour her memory. I will do this. I will continue to learn from Jill, overcome this tragedy and transform it into a hope for the future.”
I heard these words last year and thought they perfectly captured what Jill means to me and my feelings towards losing my wonderful wife. She was my best friend, my rock, my darling, my everything. She was such a caring, kind person and always put everyone else before her. Jill had a great sense of humour and the most beautiful smile, she truly lit up people’s lives. She was an extremely positive person and always looked on the bright side. She was one of the most determined people you would ever meet and such a wonderfully generous lady.
Whenever I visit the hospice in Canterbury, I always go and look at the Memory Tree and think about Jill, and it’s very comforting to see that she will never be forgotten.
It was March 2009 that Jill was diagnosed with bowel cancer. At this time, neither of us really understood what it all meant, but Jill fought so hard to make sure that her cancer didn’t stop her. For five years she lived her life to the full, even through the tough times. In true Jill style, her sheer determination meant we still managed to go on lovely holidays to New Zealand, Austria and Italy, and had many UK cottage holidays with our beloved dog Barney.
Together we pushed boundaries; walking hills and mountains with our dogs, travelling to far flung places and marrying on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai in 2006 – Jill looked so beautiful that day. She had a real daredevil side too, soon after chemotherapy she was throwing herself onto a rope swing across Loweswater Lake in Cumbria!
We packed so much into our 22 years together; more than most people would in a lifetime. It was a privilege to share my life with Jill. She is so very much loved and still today desperately missed, but she will forever be remembered in mine and all her friends’ hearts.
In 2014, Pilgrims Hospices became involved with Jill’s care, providing invaluable home visits, sitting and talking with Jill, cuddling her and providing reassurance at a scary time in both of our lives.
After sadly losing Jill that year, I started to attend functions at the Canterbury hospice including their Sunflower Memories and Trees of Love events, which I always find comforting. The hospice also provided me with complementary therapy, which was so important after I lost Jill and as I tried to cope and carry on with life as she would have wanted me to.
I decided that in Jill’s memory I wanted to make a monthly donation to the hospice, to help an organisation that over a short period of time had provided such fantastic support to us both, and which will hopefully, in a small way, help others who sadly find themselves in a similar situation. When the Memory Trees campaign was started, it was the perfect way to continue to support a special local charity whilst allowing me to honour and cherish Jill by having a gold leaf in her memory.
Whenever I visit the hospice in Canterbury, I always go and look at the Memory Tree and think about Jill, and it’s very comforting to see that she will never be forgotten. The work of Pilgrims Hospices is difficult to measure; it is invaluable to patients, relatives and friends and until you need their support, most people probably don’t realise what a fantastic service they provide.
I hope in a small way that my monthly donation can help others facing difficult and heartbreaking situations.
We understand how important it is to pay tribute to your loved ones and continue to celebrate their lives.