Pilgrims Hospices saw many come together for east Kent’s largest remembrance

Pilgrims Hospices welcomed 2,000 people to their Trees of Love remembrance services on Saturday 7 December, to raise funds to support people living with incurable illnesses in east Kent.

The events took place in the grounds of the charity’s three hospices at Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, where huge festive trees were lit up in memory of lost loved ones. Adorned with beautiful doves bearing personal messages, thousands from across east Kent shared their special memories at these remembrance services with carols. Trees of Love services were also held in other venues across east Kent in Barham, Charing, Cheriton, Dover and New Romney, to allow more people to attend.

Ellie Cane, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Officer, said: “Our thanks go to everyone who donated to the Trees of Love appeal and dedicated a dove in memory of their loved ones.

“At what can be a difficult time of the year, sharing thoughts with others who have similar experiences keeps our loved ones firmly in our hearts. That’s why this year we wanted to encourage all those across east Kent who have lost loved ones to join us, regardless of a previous connection with Pilgrims.”

She added: “So far we have raised £60,000 for local hospice care from the Trees of Love appeal. This is such an amazing amount, which could pay for many hours of nursing care both on our wards and in people’s own homes, or provides support in our Therapy Centres. It really will make a difference to our patients and their families who need support and care in such difficult times.

Our thanks go to everyone who donated to the Trees of Love appeal.

Ellie Cane, Pilgrims Hospices

“We cannot thank all those who have supported us enough for helping us achieve such an incredible sum. Their contribution will mean so much to all those within the community who need help to live well in every moment.”

This year, visitors were welcomed by Pilgrims Hospices’ Spiritual Care Leads at each site, followed by readings from staff and volunteers, and carols led by local choirs. Mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine were also available to keep guests warm.

“Our thanks must extend also to our local communities and the many volunteers who give their time and skills every year to make the events run smoothly. It really couldn’t be done without them.” Ellie added.

The Trees of Love and their doves will remain in the three hospice grounds for all to visit throughout the festive season.

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.