Pilgrims Hospices Christmas Fair hailed as a success

Pilgrims Hospices Christmas Fair was a fabulous success on Saturday 10 November with almost £18,000 raised towards the work of the hospice.

This year saw the introduction of a food market, with delights to tempt including vegan Christmas roasts, mulled cider, delicious fudge, delightful cheeses, jams and chutneys, and mince pie flavoured ice cream.

There were a variety of new crafts for sale from the external traders including stunning pottery, beautiful glass, cute baby goods, jewellery made from Nespresso pods, eco food wraps and much more.

There were many beautifully created crafts that hospice volunteers made and donated for the fair. Whether it was the table decorations which were made from old Christmas trees, unwanted baubles and ribbons or the lovely hand knitted goods, there was something for everyone.

Open the Box, a new game introduced at the fair this year, was full of special surprises for everyone and proved to be very popular, as did the chocolate tombola that was close to being addictive!

Father Christmas made a special visit too, much to the delight of children who had eagerly awaited his visit. There were some other special guests too; Elsa from Frozen, a unicorn and members of the Ashford Panto entertained visitors throughout the day.

Cynthia Cleverdon, one of the external stall holders, said: “The atmosphere at the fair is always very friendly and supportive. I love to support Pilgrims Hospices because we all know at least one person who has benefitted from the care and kindness the hospices provide at a difficult stage of life.”

The atmosphere at the fair is always very friendly and supportive.

Cynthia Cleverdon, stall holder

This year, the Pilgrims Hospices Education team was delighted to be present at the fair to promote the Time to Talk programme they run. These include film nights, poetry readings and Death Cafes, which give the opportunity to talk about the issues surrounding death and dying.

Victoria Friar, Pilgrims Hospices Community Fundraising Manager, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to the Ashford Fundraising team and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes in the months before the fair. Over 100 volunteers turned up on the day to make the fair the great success that it was.

“I would also like to say a thank you to Penfold Panels for sponsoring the event and helping us to make it such a success.

“Pilgrims Hospices needs to raise £11 million per year to offer care free of charge to the people of east Kent. We couldn’t do this without the support of the local community, so a huge thank you goes to everyone who came and contributed to this fantastic total.”

Kate Duddell from Pilgrims Hospices with Ebony Hills, Sam Hills and Tom Easby


Over the next couple of weeks, Pilgrims will see the exciting end of the Snowdogs trail with the Farewell Weekend at the Julie Rose Stadium and Gala Auction on 3 December at Ashford International Hotel.

If you want to support Pilgrims fundraising further and are an Ashford Borough Council resident, you can register your Christmas tree to be collected for a donation after Christmas.

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 Wellbeing and Social Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.