Emma Godden from Faversham is a fantastic fundraiser for Pilgrims Hospices; her family has raised thousands for the local charity in memory of Emma’s mum, Teresa Armstrong, who was cared for at the Canterbury hospice in 2019.
Teresa lived with cancer for many years. She was given the all clear in December 2018, but in February 2019 received the heartbreaking news that the cancer had returned. She was admitted to the Canterbury hospice in April 2019 where she spent her final days with family by her side.
Emma said: “Pilgrims’ care and support for both Mum and the family was incredible. Mum felt loved and free of pain in her most precious moments. The nurses and volunteers came every morning with huge smiles and stories to tell, they even started to recognise us walking through the door.”
“When we heard the news that Mum only had days left, the family gathered at the the hospice, talking, kissing and hugging her, so she knew we were all by her side.
My 11 family members were in and out of the hospice, staying overnight and sleeping in chairs and on put up beds, and even taking over the living room space. And did the hospice moan? No way. They offered us tea and coffee, blankets and pillows, knowing that we wanted to be there during Mum’s final moments.”
Pilgrims’ care and support for both Mum and the family was incredible. Mum felt loved and free of pain in her most precious moments. The nurses and volunteers came every morning with huge smiles and stories to tell, they even started to recognise us walking through the door.
Teresa was a popular lady in the Faversham area who was loved by many people. She worked for years in local pubs, including The White Lion in Selling, The George in Newnham and finally at The Alma in Painters Forstal. Emma said: “Mum was an inspirational woman, not a bad bone in her body. Her smile lit up every room she walked into. She really was my idol and soulmate.
“She raised my brother Matthew, sister Charley and I in the best possible way. Mum was our biggest fan and the rock that held our family together. She couldn’t give us fame and money, but she gave us the best thing a mother could – life and happiness.”
In June 2019, Emma and her colleague Rachel Honey did a skydive for Pilgrims and raised over £1,200 for hospice care. A few months later, her auntie Diane Davis organised a charity BBQ at The Ship Inn in Ospringe that raised more than £1,000. Most recently, Emma, Charley, Diane and family friend Carol Waters took part in A Night to Shine. Carol works for Furley Page, a local law firm that sponsored the event. Through fundraising, Emma hopes to raise awareness of Pilgrims’ services so that other families can access hospice support when they need it the most.
She added: “One afternoon, a Pilgrims nurse explained to us how much it costs to keep all three hospices running. It was unreal. Discovering only 25% of their funding comes from the NHS but that this is reviewed each year so can’t be guaranteed, and the rest has to be raised by the general public, we realised how much Pilgrims relies on fundraising. This is why I support them, as I know the money I raise or give will be a patient’s food and/or bed for their time of need.
“If you’d have asked me a year ago I wouldn’t have known what Pilgrims was. I think that’s crazy, because now they mean so much to me. Without Pilgrims, Mum and our family wouldn’t have got the care we all needed in her final moments. They are truly amazing people, each and every one of them.”