Community remember loved ones at Trees of Love services  

Pilgrims Hospices Trees of Love remembrance services have so far raised almost £80,000 to support people living with an incurable illness in east Kent.

More than 1,000 people attended Pilgrims Hospices Trees of Love gatherings. The remembrance services took place on Saturday 8 December, with huge festive trees lit up in the gardens in the charity’s Canterbury, Ashford and Margate hospice grounds. The beautiful trees were adorned with Pilgrims doves bearing personal messages. The Tree of Love events also took place in venues throughout east Kent in Barham, Charing, Cheriton, Dover, and Romney Marsh, to allow more people to attend and share special tributes to loved ones.

Millie, Lillie-Starr, and Madison welcomed visitors to Pilgrims’ hospice in Margate


Sophie Douch, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Officer, said: “We would like to thank everyone who donated to our campaign and dedicated a dove in memory of their loved ones. Sharing thoughts and being part of our hospice family keeps our loved ones firmly in our hearts.

Trees of Love wouldn’t be possible without the amazing support of our communities.

Sophie Douch, Individual Giving Officer at Pilgrims Hospices

She added: “This is such an amazing amount of money to raise for hospice care. It could pay for many hours of nursing care on our wards, within the Wellbeing and Therapy Centres or in patients’ homes. It will truly help to make a real difference to our patients and their families who need support and care in such difficult times.

“We cannot thank our supporters enough for helping to achieve such a wonderful sum of money. It will make a huge difference to so many people within the community who need help to live life to the full in every moment.”

Canterbury hospice

The Rev. Jo Richards, Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan’s, St Mildred’s and St Peter’s, welcomed visitors followed by readings from staff and volunteers from Pilgrims Hospices. Carols were led by Barton Court Grammar School Choir.

Ashford hospice

The Rev. Geoff Walters, Head of Spiritual Care Services at Pilgrims Hospices, welcomed visitors followed by readings from other Pilgrims’ staff and volunteers. Music was led by members of the Ashford Concert Band and friends, and a choir drawn from the churches of Ashford, conducted by Tony Shaw.

Thanet hospice

The Rev. Ken Cox, welcomed visitors followed by readings from staff and volunteers from Pilgrims Hospices. Music was played by the Salvation Army Band with carols sung by choirs from local churches led by Choir Master Tim Attride.

At the end of the services, visitors shared minced pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine.

Added Sophie: “Trees of Love wouldn’t be possible without the amazing support of our communities, including the help of so many volunteers who give their time and skills every year to make the events run smoothly.”

The Trees of Love and their doves will remain in the grounds of the three Pilgrims’ hospices in Canterbury, Ashford and Thanet until the New Year for people to visit. We’re here to support you however you choose to give in memory; click here to find out how you can remember someone special.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, click here to find out more about Pilgrims’ full range of services. 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.