Pilgrims Garden Festival brought summer fun for all the family
On Sunday 15 August 2021, Pilgrims Hospices hosted a brand-new event within the stunning grounds of Mount Ephraim, Faversham.
The Pilgrims Garden Festival brought local food and drink producers, plant sellers and crafters together in the market area celebrating local businesses from across east Kent.
With something for everyone, people of all ages came along to shop and discover everything from plants, flowers and local wines to hand-made jewellery and textile plant pots! When the shopping was finished, visitors enjoyed a game or two on the coconut shy or tombola before relaxing in the tea party with a cream tea or slice of cake.
Visitors were left inspired after watching The Nightingale Garden demo on how to create a beautiful hand-tied bouquet, followed by a wine tasting hosted by Clive from Corkk – the English wine specialists.
Canterbury Community Fundraising Manager Leila Ilkhan said: “We are delighted that our first ever Pilgrims Garden Festival was enjoyed so much by visitors, volunteers and local businesses. After so long not being able to hold events, it was great to welcome the community to come together to support their local hospice.”
The day finished with a magic show for all the family hosted by Stuart Weller Magic that left visitors marvelling over his tricks.
A big thank you to our headline sponsors Canterbury Suzuki and to all the other local businesses and volunteers who helped make this event such a huge success, raising nearly £9,500 in vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
16th July 2020
Mad Hair Day for Hospice Care!
The Year six students at Stelling Minnis Primary School are celebrating their last day of term by creating some crazy hairstyles to raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices.
The school year is usually filled with everyone getting involved with fundraising activities to support the local community which due to Covid – 19 have disappointedly been halted. However Year 6 have decided to still do their bit and organise a fundraiser to mark the end of their time at primary school.
Year 6 student, Clara said: “Due to the current pandemic we have been unable to do our usual enterpirses to raise money for charity. We are going to make our last days at primary school count by holding a mad hair day for Pilgrims Hospices.”
Class teacher, Mrs Newsome said: “I am so proud of the thoughtful way the students discussed and voted for a charity. Not only that they have come up with some compelling advertising to encourage donations to Pilgrims Hospices.”
The students have already exceeded their fundraising target of £75 and raised over £500 so far in vital funds for Pilgrims. Their support will make a huge difference, helping Pilgrims to continue delivering specialist care to patients living with a terminal illness and their families throughout east Kent.
I am so proud of the thoughtful way the students discussed and voted for a charity.
Mrs Newsome – Class teacher
If you would like to show your support for the class of 2020 you can make a donation to their Just Giving page here
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 Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.
22nd June 2020
Good luck from everyone at Pilgrims!
The team at Clague Architects in Canterbury have been clocking up the miles in aid of Pilgrims Hospices. 15 members of the team have pledged to complete a total of 140 miles by cycling, walking or through other creative means.
Chris Sherlock-Scougall, Associate Architect, started off the challenge by connecting Dymchurch and Folkestone. Getting creative, Chris ditched the traditional methods and instead donned his roller blades completing laps around his garden. He successfully covered the 10 miles he needed to pass the virtual baton over to Cheryl Warwick and Stuart Bonnage who completed the next leg to Marine Parade Dover using a more conventional manner, their bikes!
Cheryl Warwick, Architectural Technologist said: “Pilgrims is a charity close to many people’s hearts and now more than ever we need to show our support.
“This was a perfect challenge to reboot our support for Pilgrims as well as bringing the team together.”
The team are aiming to finish the relay mid July at their offices based in Burgate, Canterbury.
Good luck from everyone at Pilgrims!
We are so grateful to have businesses like Clague as part of our community.
Colleagues at Clague have long been supporting Pilgrims, entering teams into various events including the annual Pilgrims Cycle Challenge which sees over 1,000 cyclists take on various routes across east Kent. In 2019, a group of staff took on the London Revolution Cycle challenge raising over £500.
Leila Ilkhan, Canterbury Community Fundraising Manager thanks the team at Clague for their wonderful support saying: “With the unexpected challenges we have been faced with over the last few months, we are so grateful to have businesses like Clague as part of our community. As a team, Clague is making a big difference to the lives of patients and their families living with an incurable illness. Their support is so very much appreciated by everyone at Pilgrims.”
Clague have set up an online giving page. If you would like to support their challenge you can do so here.
There are so many ways that you can continue to support Pilgrims. Click here for some virtual fundraising ideas.
If you would like to take on a challenge in support of Pilgrims we would love to hear from you. Please contact our fundraising team here.
We need you more than ever; our local community means everything to us.
This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations in order to run our full range of services. Sponsorship raised through events like these helps us to continue caring for local people at the end of their lives.
5th March 2020
Early referral to hospice care helps Hamid to live well
When Hamid Hajilou from Broomfield near Herne Bay was diagnosed with stomach cancer, little things that most people take for granted – including walking, sleeping and cooking – became a struggle. Thankfully, an early referral to Pilgrims Hospices helped him get back on his feet and resume the active lifestyle he has always enjoyed.
Hamid worked as a car sales manager for more than 20 years, with previous experience in the retail trade and catering industry. He retired in April 2019, but after returning from a family holiday later that year he began to feel unwell. Hamid started experiencing sciatica-like leg pain in October 2019. It became difficult for him to stand and impacted his ability to cook, a hobby he loves: “I’m a big Rick Stein fan, I could watch his shows for hours!” The pain was so debilitating that he didn’t know where to turn.
I can’t speak highly enough about Pilgrims, not only of the staff but of the concept – they just listen to you. My life changed when I got to know the hospice team. They asked about my wellbeing and mental health, including my spirituality, everything. I’m not religious but I really appreciated it, just the fact they cared enough to check.
Hamid’s wife Peyma is a Maternity Matron at East Kent Hospitals. She said: “I had my medical head on and I knew that his pain wasn’t being managed. We didn’t know what to do, but because I have an NHS background I was able to navigate and help us access the care he needed. Once Pilgrims was involved, everything changed within two weeks.”
Hamid added: “The Pilgrims care team are angels, particularly the hospice nurse who saw me initially and the consultant Dominique who prescribed me the correct pain relief – she spent two hours with Peyma and I in between her already full day.”
Hamid was diagnosed with stomach cancer in December 2019, which has spread to his back. He had radiotherapy treatment at Kent and Canterbury Hospital on 31 December 2019 then transferred to the Canterbury hospice as an inpatient, before being discharged nine days later. His pain was managed so successfully by Pilgrims that he could stand up out of a wheelchair, something which hadn’t seemed possible before his referral. He was anxious about going home in case things took a downward turn again, but Pilgrims is continuing to support him.
Hamid said: “I’d been in so much pain that I didn’t even care about the cancer, I just wanted the pain to stop. When I was offered a room in the hospice, that seemed dreamy. I sobbed with relief.”
Peyma added: “I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was like five-star accommodation.”
Hamid continued: “I can’t speak highly enough about Pilgrims, not only of the staff but of the concept – they just listen to you. My life changed when I got to know the hospice team. They asked about my wellbeing and mental health, including my spirituality, everything. I’m not religious but I really appreciated it, just the fact they cared enough to check. Any food I wanted was cooked to order and hospice nurses would come and talk to me. One nurse, Seema, gave me a foot massage in the early hours of the morning. That humanitarian aspect blew me away. The hospice staff are always so accommodating, saying with a smile, “Just call us if you need anything.” That means so much.”
Pilgrims has shown us so much kindness and compassion. If I won the lottery, I would make a large donation to the charity because it has made such a difference to my life. Thanks to the hospice team, I’m pain-free.
Pilgrims got Hamid’s symptoms under control, ensured he was on the correct medication and facilitated a smooth return home. Social workers helped him secure a disabled badge and the occupational therapy team arranged home aids including a bed, chair cushion and stool for cooking in the kitchen. Hamid has also accessed physiotherapy services. At a recent hospital appointment, his consultant was amazed at how well he is doing since his referral to Pilgrims care.
Peyma said: “We need to change the perception of hospice care, because it can affect prognosis and quality of life in such a positive way. There is so much to be offered; even little things you take for granted like being able to shower or being made a cup of tea. It feels like home.
“When you’re not in pain, you’re not thinking about cancer; it’s not shadowing our lives anymore. Who knows what’s around the corner? We just take each day as it comes.”
Hamid added: “Pilgrims has shown us so much kindness and compassion. If I won the lottery, I would make a large donation to the charity because it has made such a difference to my life. Thanks to the hospice team, I’m pain-free and that’s the most important thing. With their support, I hope this means that I can have a few years of good quality life with my beautiful wife and lovely son.”
Fabulous fundraising in memory of popular local man
Stephanie Wickenden and members of her family presented an incredible £8,319.37 fundraising cheque to Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury recently. The money had been raised in memory of Steph’s husband Mark who was cared for at the hospice in July 2018.
Mark’s sister, Debbie Todd, is a specialist infection control lead nurse at the hospice, she said: “Our family is Canterbury born and bred and Mark was well known and loved by many who knew him from his school days and his career locally as a manager within the construction industry for Barrett’s. He fought bravely against cancer, continuing to work until just a few weeks before he lost his four-year battle aged 53 on 14th July 2018.
“My sister-in-law Steph, cared for Mark at home with support from Pilgrims community team, until he came to the Canterbury hospice in his final days where his care continued: he passed away close to his family and pain-free.”
I would like to thank everyone who kindly donated and helped to raise such an incredible sum. Stephanie
Steph explained the money had been raised by generous donations at Mark’s funeral amounting to more than £1,100, she said: “More than 400 people attended the funeral; Mark had always lived in Canterbury and retained so many friendships from his youth. It truly was a wonderful tribute to his caring and open personality.
“The Canterbury Golf Club where Mark was a keen club member, held a Mark Wickenden memorial golf day in April of this year which raised almost £4,300.
“And, finally an incredible £1,650 donation from staff and friends of Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Kent Ward, I joined them in an awesome climb over the London 02 to raise money for Pilgrims in memory of Mark.
“I would like to thank everyone who kindly donated and helped to raise such an incredible donation in Mark’s memory. It’s a comfort to know that he was so important to people within the local community.” Steph added.
The memorial golf day was extremely special with over 70 golfers taking part. Mark loved his golf and made many friends at the Canterbury club who already support Pilgrims as their charity of the year.
The club’s flag was at half-mast and the family wore Mark’s favourite Liverpool team colour T-shirts printed with his smiling face for the event. Many local businesses and friends made donations and gifts for raffles prizes, which helped to raise such an amazing sum for Pilgrims care.
The hospice hopes to purchase a specialist bariatric chair with the money raised. Debbie said: “We can hire these chairs when required but it would be wonderful to have one on-site for patients’ comfort. Mark really appreciated being able to sit in comfort, it would be a lovely legacy.”
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 people in East Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
30th July 2018
Shed project offers volunteer opportunities in Canterbury
As an important part of the Canterbury community, Pilgrims Hospices are proud to be part of the Kent Sheds initiative. Our Coach House Shed, within the hospice grounds on London Road in Canterbury, is already in use several mornings a week with the Tools for Self-Reliance, Canterbury ‘Shedders’. Pilgrims Hospices are working with them to open up the shed opportunities to the people of Canterbury, to meet, work, learn and have fun! The Sheds Kent & Medway and Groundwork grant will enable us to offer more voluntary opportunities for people to meet together, provide maintenance and offer up their gardening skills, to improve the environment of the hospice.
The idea behind the ‘Shed’ movement is to provide a space where all ‘Shedders’ are more likely to thrive in informal space, within the company of their peers, through engaging in practical activities. These provide sharing skills and learning from others – all whilst helping the community.
The project will help to cut down on isolation and give opportunites for our residents to meet and learn new skills.
Heather Sawney, Project Lead
Through the shed project, volunteers can overcome their own life challenges. Whatever their circumstances, they can meet, work and achieve together.
Project lead Heather Sawney explained: “The community around the hospice is diverse. It includes students, retirees, and ex-military amongst many. The project will help to cut down on isolation and give opportunities for our residents to meet and learn new skills.
“Currently at our Canterbury site, we don’t particularly target certain groups in our community. Through this project, we will openly promote more variety in our volunteering opportunities. Some volunteers may choose to work with Tools for Self Reliance; working to renovate pre-loved tools and equipment. The tool-kits will help those in developing countries find financial independence and sustainability.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Canterbury site – just bring your enthusiasm; tea, coffee, and biscuits will be provided in a relaxed and pleasant environment.”
A number of different sessions will be available for maintenance, gardening and tool refurbishing from Monday to Friday.
If you would like to find out more and become a volunteer ‘Shedder’, please contact Adrian Matthews our Hospice Services Manager at Canterbury:
Pilgrims Hospices is a charity that provides specialist palliative care for people with life-limiting illnesses in east Kent. It is independent of the NHS and receives only a small percentage of funding of its £11 million running costs, which means the remainder must be raised by donations and fundraising activities. By volunteering you will make a huge difference to Pilgrims community – thank you.