Long-time Pilgrims volunteer, Dea Martindale from Sturry, passed away under the care of the hospice she supported and loved on 23 August 2021.
Dea who was 79, had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in October 2020 and had become more unwell suddenly in early August 2021.
She spent a short while in the Canterbury hospice before returning home under Pilgrims’ Hospice at Home care team.
Corrina Collins, Dea’s daughter said: “Mum was extremely proud to be a volunteer at the hospice, it was an important part of her life and very much her priority in her retirement years. She was a member of the reception team and had been known to sit with patients who had no family or visitors to give them comfort and support.
“My sister Nichola and I can’t thank the Hospice at Home team enough, they were absolutely amazing; just like angels. They were not only wonderful with Mum in her final few days, but a tower of strength for us too. Nothing was too much trouble, and they were indeed a great comfort to us all.”
Over her 24 years of dedicated volunteering for the local end-of-life charity, she was often seen on a Sunday afternoon and always during the festive season, supporting wherever she could. After her husband Ken was cared for on the Canterbury hospice ward, she became a regular member of the hospice reception team. She also volunteered within the Therapy Centre, helping service users with crafting activities, lunches and plenty of cups of tea. Her generous and smiling nature would often get her involved with the Pilgrims marketing team, being part of photo shoots to promote hospice services. She was also a keen fundraiser, supporting the fundraising team at events including Summer and Christmas fairs. Car boot sales were also something she enjoyed over a number of years, she collected and stored goods to sell, raising tens of thousands of pounds to help keep Pilgrims’ valuable services running.
Corrina added: “Mum was an independent and strong lady, it was crushing to see her become poorly so quickly. However, it’s been lovely to hear the nurses speak so fondly of her and to know she was truly valued as a volunteer.
Mum was extremely proud to be a volunteer at the hospice, it was an important part of her life and very much her priority in her retirement years.
Corrina, Dea’s daughter
Adrian Matthews, Pilgrims Hospice Services Manager said: “I took over as Site Manager at Canterbury three and a half years ago and as such took over the volunteers on reception as their manager.
“I have to say, Dea will forever stick in my memory as one of my trusted members of the team but I would hope as a friend as well.
“An absolute gem of a person and someone I am very proud to have come to know.”
Dea received the Lord Mayor of Canterbury community service award in 2013 for her work at the hospices.
A Pilgrims team member said: “It is with great sadness that we say good-bye to Dea, she will be missed by all of us, and will remain a wonderful testament to the amazing work that our volunteer workforce do at the hospices.”
Dea had discussed with her daughters a bucket list of things that she wanted to achieve over the past year, which included some strong wishes for her funeral arrangements and to ensure her very last car boot sale took place.
“Me and Mum’s very close friend Jenny, were able to carry out her boot sales wishes, selling about 90% of the items gathered with all money being donated to Pilgrims Hospices, the remaining items have been given to the Pilgrims Hospices shops. I know Mum was really pleased and satisfied that she was able to make this final commitment to her much loved hospices” added Corrina.
Although Dea was unable to fulfil her bucket list due to COVID restrictions and her rapidly failing health, the daughters’ plan to tick one of their mum’s wishes from the list by taking a trip to the South Bank and sipping cocktails in her memory.
Dea’s funeral will take place on Monday 27 September at Barham Crematorium at 3:20pm.