Mayor of Ramsgate raises funds for Pilgrims Hospices
The Mayor of Ramsgate Councillor Raushan Ara, proudly presented an amazing fundraising cheque for £1,010 to Pilgrims Hospices. Councillor Ara took part in Pilgrims 5k Colour Run last month. Karen Kenward, Community Fundraising Manager for Pilgrims Hospice Thanet accepted her generous donation on behalf of the charity.
Raushan said: “On Sunday 20 October, I completed the 5k Colour Run, to raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their kindness in sponsoring me and, helping to achieve over £1,000 for hospice care in our local area.
“This year my father was cared for at Pilgrims Hospices; I was fortunate enough to be there at the end of his life.
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their kindness in sponsoring me.
Raushan Ara, Mayor of Ramsgate
“Pilgrims Hospices provide a wide range of support services, which include therapy sessions, clinics, support in people’s homes and help and advice for carers.
“However, the hospice needs funding to keep it running at current levels.
“Pilgrims Hospices are a vital service within our community; the funds raised will be helping more people who need Pilgrims care. Thank you – everyone!”
Karen said: “This is a wonderful donation, we cannot thank our very own Mayor of Ramsgate enough for her wonderful support and kind words of support to our charity.
“This really is a most colourful and fun event and sponsorship from the event is still coming through each week, we are just over £30k at the minute which is incredible. If you missed out this year, why not register your interest now for next year. The event will be on Sunday 27 September 2020. Find out more at www.pilgrimshospices/colourrun.”
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 people in east Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
19th November 2019
Santas on the Run! will raise £1000’s for specialist Pilgrims care
Paul Johnson from Ashford will be taking a festive dash along the Folkestone seafront on Sunday 8 December, when he joins hundreds of others in Pilgrims Hospices Santas on the Run! Christmas 5K or 3K fun run. The Harbour Arm will be a sea of festive fun-loving Santas, young and old, all raising valuable funds for local hospice care.
Environmental Consultant, Paul, told us: “My dad Les was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. He benefits greatly from the amazing services provided by Pilgrims Hospices, especially their Wellbeing Centrein Ashford where he has physiotherapy and receives emotional support.
“I joined a local running club, Beginners2Runners in April this year following a difficult time; the club is brilliant and helped make a positive impact on me. The running has really made a big difference to my quality of life.
“I decided to channel my energies into raising money for Pilgrims as a way of making a difference for those who need palliative care, and their families.”
If you would like to support Paul please visit his JustGivingpage and donate.
“Thank you to everyone who is supporting me, you are all helping to make a difference to end-of-life care in our area.” Paul added.
Lydia Todd, Pilgrims Challenge Events Officer said: “Thank you Paul for sharing your story, it’s wonderful that you are supporting us and helping to spread the word about our festive fun run.
“Good luck on the day, I’m sure you will enjoy every minute of the fabulous festive spectacle.”
Thank you to everyone who is supporting me, you are all helping to make a difference.
Your entry fee covers a Santa suit, a fabulous medal and, the feel-good factor that you are truly helping to make a difference.
Just by raising a little sponsorship you could help to pay for a patient to enjoy a mince pie and custard on the run up to Christmas, a festive dinner or physiotherapy sessions to help patients stay active and enjoy games with their family on Christmas Day.
See you there Santas!
Pilgrims Hospices is a charity providing palliative care free of charge to people in east Kent, and therefore relies on charitable donations.
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 visit www.pilgrimshospices.org/wellbeing for information on the Wellbeing Programme.
15th November 2019
Trees of Love: Christine’s story
Christine Knight attends Trees of Love every year in memory of her mum, Ada. Here, she explains how coming together with others who have a connection to Pilgrims helps her to give back.
My mum was a strong, often misunderstood woman, she always kept everything very close. But underneath it all, she was very soft and vulnerable. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that all changed, and she really started to open up to me. I even found out she had been blind in one eye her entire life and I’d never known!
Mum was extremely active, always doing everything for herself, well into her late eighties. So we only went to the doctors when I saw her one day looking yellow, and it was then we got the cancer diagnosis.
It’s our way of giving back to the place that gave Mum such care, and through Trees of Love we feel we are beginning to pay back that kindness.
She stayed at home for as long as I could look after her, then she said she would like to move to the hospice. She was only there for four days, but they were four days I will never forget. The care for both my mum and her family had such an impact on all of us. I was so amazed by the incredible support they gave to us – always offering toast, chocolate, biscuits and tea.
When Mum died in February 2012 it hit us all very hard, but the care we had been provided was so good I felt I had enough closure not to need the hospice’s bereavement support. We gave Mum’s funeral collections to Pilgrims and were sent an invite to Trees of Love, and it seemed such a wonderful idea. The first time I went it was very emotional, but I felt it was where I needed to be because it was where I saw my mum last, and I felt such a connection to the hospice. My husband has given me the support to come back every year and dedicate a dove. I enjoy the company, and being able to share with people who have been through the same experiences as us. It’s our way of giving back to the place that gave Mum such care, and through Trees of Love we feel we are beginning to pay back that kindness.
Pilgrims Hospices Christmas Fair enjoyed by visitors from across east Kent
Pilgrims Hospices Ashford Christmas Fair & Craft Market was another resounding success on Saturday 9 November with over £17,000 raised towards the work of the hospice.
Once again, the hospice brought new ideas to the day with the introduction of a very popular children’s activity area. Happy children could be seen decorating plates or glasses to leave out for Santa, decorating gingerbread men or taking part in some explosive Christmas science experiments courtesy of Rebecca Holness, Science Lady. And of course, many children were delighted that Father Christmas was able to spend time with them in his wonderful new grotto.
The food market made a popular return with further choices including speciality Christmas puddings.
As well as popular favourites in the trader’s craft hall, new stalls were welcomed featuring the work of a blacksmith, paper science craft kits, goods from East of India, Styled by Sage, a range of handmade children’s clothing, handmade soaps and delightful chocolate treats. There was something for everyone.
Volunteers again came out in force to create a wonderful array of goods for the “hospice hall”, with fabulous wooden snowmen, homemade jams, a beautiful variety of knitted items, needlecraft, table decorations and much more.
This year, to encourage people to think and talk about what is important to them, Pilgrims Hospices Education team brought its “Before I die” chalkboard to the fair. We were amazed at the variety of comments chalked up – it was an excellent conversation starter and helped raise awareness of the work of Pilgrims Hospices, the reason so many people were there, and the importance of talking more openly about death and dying.
Helz Wait, who visited the fair, said: “I loved the fete and Father Christmas was absolutely amazing.”
This was just one of many compliments about Father Christmas. The parking team were also given a special thanks by a senior police officer for their fantastic organisation.
Lou Newman, Pilgrims Hospices Community Fundraising Manager, said: “This was my first fair since becoming manager and I have been bowled over by the amount of support the fair has received and the generosity of the public in donating so many items to raffle, use in tombolas or sell. We could not have put on such a wonderful day without their kindness.
“I would also like to say a huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers who made the day happen.
“Pilgrims Hospices needs to raise £11 million per year to offer care free of charge to the people of east Kent. A massive thank you goes to everyone who came and contributed to this fantastic total.”
If you live in the Ashford Borough Council area and want to support Pilgrims fundraising further, in return for a donation you can register your real Christmas tree to be collected by the Pilgrims team and taken to the recycling centre after Christmas. Sign up at www.pilgrimshospices.org/treerecycling.
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 click here to read about our Wellbeing Programme.
14th November 2019
How can we help children to understand and talk about grief?
We all experience death, dying and grief differently. When a loved one dies, children may find it particularly difficult to express themselves and understand what has happened.
Here, Stacey Hart from child bereavement charity Grief Encounter explains how children understand death and what can be done to help them find light and meaning in grief.
What is Grief Encounter?
At Grief Encounter, we support children and young people through bereavement to alleviate the pain caused by the death of someone close. Rebuilding a new life after the death of a loved one is hard, especially for children; they have an overwhelming sense of confusion, fear and anxiety alongside their grief.
We estimate that in 2015, 23,600 parents died in the UK leaving dependent children. That’s one parent every 22 minutes, and 112 newly bereaved children every day.
Stacey Hart, Grief Encounter
A child’s parent or sibling dying will essentially mean the death of somebody young who hasn’t lived a full, long life:
How can a child accept the fact that Mum died suddenly when they were 12?
Can a child ever accept at 22 that their father will never meet their fiancé or kiss their children goodnight?
No one knows exactly how many children are bereaved each year. Data is collected annually on the number of children affected by the divorce of their parents, but not on the number affected by the death of a parent. We estimate that in 2015, 23,600 parents died in the UK leaving dependent children. That’s one parent every 22 minutes, and 112 newly bereaved children every day.
How children understand death
Children and adults understand death in very different ways. As children grow and mature, their earlier ways of thinking about death will change, too. It is essential for adults to have a sense of how children conceptualise death at different ages, so that when the time comes to talk about it they can respond in an appropriate way for the child’s developmental age.
The age groups below are not intended to be exact, but rather representative of the differing developmental stages. As a child gets older and their perception of death changes, understanding these stages is crucial to giving children and young people the right kind of support.
0-2 years old
Up to the age of two, a child will have little to no understanding of death, although they can perceive emotions such as the grief of people around them. From two onwards, children start to grasp the concept of a person dying, even though to begin with they don’t understand its permanency.
2-5 years old
Children aged 2-5 can vary enormously in their understanding of the world and death. Most likely they will know the words ‘death’ and ‘dying’ but will probably still not have a real understanding of its permanence. They might imagine the dead person can return or that they are in an actual physical place, like heaven. Generally, there is no concept of a personal death; death is something that only happens to other people. They may start to express concerns that significant adults will also die.
5+ years old
As children get older, they begin to grasp the finality of death and may develop an increased interest in the physical and biological aspects of death. But this increased factual understanding of death is often mixed with fantasies such as a preoccupation with skeletons and ghosts. “Magical thinking”, believing that thoughts can make things happen – like accidents and death – can be confusing and frightening at this time.
Teenagers will most likely be characteristically unpredictable and volatile in their responses to hearing that a loved one has died. Some may want to be close to family, ignoring school and social lives. Others may distance themselves in a way that can feel hurtful and rejecting. Their peer group can be very important and ‘acting out’ behaviours can be worrying for caregivers. It is important to give young people space to process their changing emotions whilst trying to maintain the usual boundaries and rules that will help them to feel safe at such a confusing time.
Being honest with children in an age-appropriate way is generally the best approach, as vagueness can lead to fears that something worse is being hidden from them. It’s also important for children to witness people grieving and displaying their emotions. Showing that it’s OK to cry is good for children, otherwise they hold in their feelings. For example, if Dad has died and they see Mum keeping a stiff upper lip, they might think they have to as well, believing that it’s not OK to show your feelings.
Deborah was 35 her husband John died at just 34 years old. They have three children together: Josie, 11; Harry, 8; and Darcy, 3.
John was a doctor. One day in April 2017, he collapsed unexpectedly at the gym. He was in a coma for a week before he died in hospital. Deborah was on maternity leave at the time from her job as a graphic designer.
To say our lives have been turned upside down, inside out and scrunched up is an understatement. But as a family, I want to show the children that there is still a life to be had, and that John is very much at the heart of our family.
The day John died, Deborah had been wondering where he was; she was unable to reach him and he was late to return home. When the hospital called her mobile, she was out shopping with the children. At first, she had no idea what had happened and the hospital wouldn’t explain over the phone. She hurried there to find him in a coma.
The family has been working with Grief Encounter since 2017, attending group workshops, receiving counselling and enjoying fun days. They feel that this support has been invaluable. The children feel less alone whilst trying to adjust to life without John. Everyone has space to reflect on how they feel and to share and hold on to their memories. Deborah explained:
“To say our lives have been turned upside down, inside out and scrunched up is an understatement. But as a family, I want to show the children that there is still a life to be had, and that John is very much at the heart of our family. Grief Encounter has helped and is helping us all to do that.”
From acceptance to adjustment
The word ‘acceptance’ is frequently used to define the last stage of grief. It is often believed that this is where we are supposed to get to after we have experienced the many different emotions on our grief journey. We must manage expectations. Of course, we need a positive outcome for our children and young people. So we change the word ‘acceptance’ to ‘adjustment’. This way, we can acknowledge that life will never be the same, that there will be lots of changes and new normals. The term ‘adjusted’ should alleviate the pressure for the bereaved. It’s OK to feel angry, sad, guilty and know that this is perfectly normal.
Helping children to find light in grief
What positives are there when a child or young person experiences the premature death of a parent or sibling, considering that it is a time when most children will be hard pushed to find any light? We all know sayings like, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ They exist to encourage optimism and positivity. So, what can be helpful and positive about premature death?
There is a need for bereavement counselling. Children and young people need a safe space, a place where they can express themselves. Following a death, counselling will help address a multitude of issues and help to promote healing.
Meaning and appreciation
When you’ve been through the devastation and loss of a parent or sibling and suffered unimaginable loss, you can learn not to sweat the small stuff, appreciate the present and be mindful. This experience can give you the ability to determine what is really important in life.
A memory box can be a great way to collect and store precious things relating to the loved one who died. The box can be filled with treasured items like photos, letters, jewellery – anything that reminds you of the person.
Each item will have a special memory attached to it. The box can be used as an opportunity to have conversations, share memories and reflect on the person who died.
In addition, there are a range of other ways to stay connected to your loved one:
Talking to the person who died is something many grievers do; it can bring a lot of comfort during the moments you miss them most.
Keep their photo around. This often helps you remember how that person continues to influence your life.
Include them in events and special days, acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries.
When faced with tough decisions, imagine what advice they would give you. Visualise a conversation with them, what they would have said, to help you make big life choices a little easier.
Keep something that belonged to them or that they gave you. You can’t keep everything (even though sometimes it is very hard to part with belongings) but choosing a few meaningful items can be extremely powerful.
Experience their presence. It is common to feel a loved one’s presence, though not everyone does.
Stacey Hart is a Training Manager and Trauma Specialist at Grief Encounter. She has been a counsellor and trainer for more than 15 years, always working with child-focused organisations. She has a wealth of knowledge on child bereavement, specialising in critical incident and working with trauma.
Grief Encounter has more than 90 therapists and offers tailored services to different age groups and needs, including:
Kits with toys and memory-making materials for younger children
Group family workshops
It also offers full bespoke training for professionals.
There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.
Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more.
8th November 2019
Trees of Love: Pam’s story
Pam Goodwin attends Trees of Love every year in memory of her husband, Charles. Here, she shares how the festive service helps her to reflect on Charles’ life at such a special time of year.
Chas and I were married for 38 years and have three children and a grandchild whom he loved dearly. He was a funny, intelligent man who loved DIY and gardening. Tools were his passion, and he loved growing vegetables for the family. We lived in London before moving down to Thanet for the last two years of his life, and it was the best decision we ever made because he got much better care here than he would have received in London.
It gives me the opportunity to remember Chas in the weeks before Christmas, and the opportunity to reflect on my loss with the support of others around me who understand.
Chas had cancer for many years, and after long hospital visits he just wanted to be able to stay at home for as long as possible. So after a referral we had a lovely Pilgrims nurse visit our home on a weekly basis during his last four months. It was such a great help. The thing about Pilgrims is they weren’t just there for Charles, they were supportive to me and the family as well. They really understood what we were going through, so when it came to moving him into the hospice for the last 10 days of his life it felt natural.
They were so professional, but they also didn’t make us feel unwanted or in the way – we were seen as part of the furniture. We were able to visit whenever we wanted to, and when we were there we were so looked after, they were always offering us food and cups of tea. I was at home when they phoned to ask if I wanted to come in that afternoon as they thought he didn’t have long, and this meant that I and two of our children were able to be at his side at the end.
Pilgrims were absolutely wonderful, not just when Charles was ill, but afterwards as well. I went to Trees of Love eight months after he died. I went alone, and started chatting to a man next to me who had lost his wife. I found such comfort in sharing our stories and experiences, and this is why Trees of Love is so important to me. It gives me the opportunity to remember Chas in the weeks before Christmas, and the opportunity to reflect on my loss with the support of others around me who understand.