Pilgrims Hospices’ Trees of Love remembrance services have seen over 1,000 local people join together each year in memory of their loved ones to raise vital funds to support the incredible services that Pilgrims offers.
Trees of Love is an important event for many families who come together with others who may have shared similar experiences, to remember their loved ones. Guests are invited to come along to see their dedicated dove on one of the Trees of Love, listen to festive and remembrance readings and sing carols, whilst enjoying a warm mince pie, hot chocolate or mulled wine.
“Christmas is a special time of year for families and friends to come together, but losing a loved one can make celebrating this time of year very difficult.
“Trees of love is a place for all to come together in remembering their loved ones during the festive season. We are thrilled to be able to invite everyone back to our hospices for our remembrance services, which we have been unable to host due to the restrictions in place during the pandemic.
“We will also be releasing a Trees of Love film again as we understand how important this has become for those who choose to remember at home.”
Trees of Love has been an important fundraiser for the hospice for more than 25 years, helping to care for those living with life-limiting illnesses and support their families after they are gone.
It offers a space for anyone throughout east Kent who has lost someone special to join together, to reflect and remember their loved ones year on year.
Trees of Love events will take place at our hospices in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet at 5pm on Saturday 3 December 2022.
Pilgrims Hospices receive £2.4 million annually from the NHS, yet to provide its services to the local community costs £15 million a year, or £40,000 a day.
To bridge our funding gap, Pilgrims applies to a variety of Trusts and Foundations to fund specific services as well as new projects.
Trusts and Foundations is a term for a wide and diverse set of charitable bodies. Their motivations and ways of operating are as distinctive as the individuals and organisations they represent. Trust and Foundations fundraising refers to the process of asking or applying for support from these charitable bodies that are empowered to make grants for charitable purposes.
Our Trusts and Grant funders have enabled us to purchase a wide range of specialist medical equipment and helped to deliver vital building and refurbishment works. Additionally, funding for core running costs helps Pilgrims to continue delivering its services free of charge for the east Kent community. Pilgrims receive grants of varying sizes, and each and every one makes an incredible difference to its patients and hospice settings.
Isabel Smith, Trusts Fundraiser, said: “At Pilgrims Hospices, we are fortunate enough to have received support from a number of Trusts and Foundations. Last year, we received in excess of £185,000 in various grants to support our vital care across the three hospice sites. Each grant is important and makes a significant difference to the patients who we care for. As a charity, we are extremely grateful for every grant that we receive.”
Kate White, Head of Nursing, added: “People think that hospices are sad places, but really they are places to help our patients live fully and well in the time that they have. Ongoing improvements to our facilities and equipment enable families, carers and patients to have a brighter and more inspiring setting for their care. A hospice isn’t a place to be fearful of – it is a place that removes fears. Every day we want to continue in the spirit of delivering innovative end-of-life care, by updating our facilities.”
Here are just a few recent examples of the generous support that Trusts provide:
The Albert Hunt Trust donated a very generous £50,000 to contribute towards Pilgrims’ essential core running costs; this continued support is so valuable to the charity.
Cantiacorum Foundation made a generous donation to allow Pilgrims to purchase a new floor scrubber and dryer machine. This helps ensure floor cleaning is always at an exceptionally high standard and surfaces are left clean and dry immediately, to ensure minimal disruption is caused to hospice users.
The Provincial Grand Lodges of Mark Master Masons of Kent supported Pilgrims with an incredible £16,000 donation from their Mark Benevolent Fund, to be used towards core running costs. Pilgrims is very grateful to them for their continued support throughout east Kent.
At Pilgrims Hospice Ashford, the Frank Brake Charitable Trust kindly funded the Therapy Centre downstairs reception and garden pergola. Pilgrims is proud of its long association with the Trust and is extremely indebted to them for their continued support.
Pilgrims Hospices is thankful to all of the Trusts and Foundations who have or continue to support the charity; it simply couldn’t provide its expert, end-of-life care without them.
There are many items of equipment that are always needed.
We are continually working on an equipment replacement program for the benefit of our patients and to enhance our clinical settings. These aren’t always funded by Trusts; sometimes they are funded by generous members of our community, too.
Pilgrims Hospices cares for thousands of local people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.
12th October 2022
Thank you Mr Mayor for your marathon support
Councillor and The Mayor of Hythe, Jim Martin, took to the Kentish countryside to run the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday 2 October 2022.
While over 40,000 runners took part in the London event, another 10,000took to their local streets, parks and countryside to test their stamina against the mighty 2,624 marathon miles to be part of the prestigious event, many raising funds for causes close to their hearts.
The Right Worshipful Town Mayor who is also the Speaker of the Cinque Ports, was fundraising for Pilgrims Hospices, and achieved a very impressive finishing time of 5:30.27 hours raising a fantastic £3,500 for end-of-life care for the local community.
He said: “I am a regular runner, along the canal path or along the promenade, and I have completed 25 full Marathons, including 20 consecutive London Marathons (don’t ask me why!)
“The virtual marathon took me along the South Coast in Hythe where I live, using the Royal Military Canal as my route. As much as I love the built environment and streets of London, I can assure you that running in Hythe, ‘where the countryside meets the sea’, by the canal, beats running through Shadwell!
“This has been my first marathon running as The Mayor of Hythe and the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. And…. just to note, I was not running in my robes and chain!”
Community is very important to me, I was pleased to raise awareness of the care and services provided by Pilgrims, and highlight the important work they do for those in need.
Jim Martin, Mayor of Hythe
Kate Duddell, Pilgrims Hospices Fundraising Manager said: “Thank you The Mayor of Hythe for supporting local end-of-life care. Every year we are glad to say thank-you to the amazing individuals who train so hard to be part of this event and raise such staggering amounts of money to help us provide our specialist care. Your many miles of muscle power and dedication is really helping to make a difference to those who need care the most.”
Jim has lived in Hythe since 2007, when he and his wife moved from South East London to their home in Seabrook.
He explained: “Community is very important to me, I was pleased to raise awareness of the care and services provided by Pilgrims, and highlight the important work they do for those in need. With support from family, colleagues and the community, I’m delighted to have been able to raise such a substantial figure for Pilgrims. With 80% of Pilgrims Hospices’ funding being voluntary contributions, their support cannot be overstated.
“Thank you, everyone for your support, the weather was very wet and I finished completely drenched, but delighted to finish in good form.”
Pilgrims Hospices is dedicated to proving skilled and compassionate care, free of charge, to people living with an incurable illness in east Kent. Their vision is that people with a life-limiting illness are supported and empowered to live well in mind and body, making the most of the time have. They care for thousands of patients and their families each year, at their three inpatient units in Canterbury, Thanet and Ashford, their Therapy Centres or in patients’ homes.
6th October 2022
Pride of Pilgrims is nominated for Pride of Britain award
Pilgrims Maintenance Engineer Gary Kirton, feels honoured to be named in the top four nominees for Fundraiser of the Year in the ITV Meridian, Pride of Britain Awards.
Gary from Kingsnorth, Ashford has been fundraising ever since the late 1980s when he started a sweepstake on the Grand National horse race, which grew into a club that started supporting lots of charities. Over the years, Gary has raised almost £300,000 for charitable causes including Pilgrims Hospices where he has worked as an integral part of their maintenance team for 12 years, and has raised between £70,000 and £80,000 for the charity that’s so close to his heart.
Gary said: “I was completely surprised and very honoured when I heard I’d been nominated for a Pride of Britain Award. I must say a massive thank you to those who nominated me!
“I’ve been fundraising for so long, it’s a very important part of my life, and I know my efforts are helping to make a difference to people who really need support. My wife Marilyn (Maz) is my rock; she also works as a domestic team leader for Pilgrims Hospices. I couldn’t have done most of the fundraising events without her, she’s always supportive and on hand and has joined me on many challenges including the London Marathon in 2018.
“I have some amazing memories, and incredible experiences from running 12k dressed as Penguins with Maz, to sportsmen’s dinners with celebrity guests, Peter Shilton and Frank Bruno.
“I’m currently undertaking a UK racecourse tour, visiting 41 different courses and planning to finish at Aintree in December; to date this has raised nearly £20,000.”
One particularly special memory would be Pilgrims bingo evenings when friends, supporters and colleagues came to the Ashford hospice community rooms to be part of the fun. On some occasions, patients and their families joined us to enjoy the entertainment. Over the six years of hospice bingo, it raised £35,000 for hospice care.
Gary fell very ill in 2007 and had major heart surgery at the William Harvey Hospital.
He said: “I owe them my life, and will always be grateful for their care, and for Maz and her quick reactions when contacting the doctors. Without her, the outcome could have been very different. After recovering, I was even more determined to continue to raise funds for important causes, and I’m inspired by so many people who achieve such great things. More recently I’ve become great friends with Bob Champion MBE/OBE who is so inspirational to cancer sufferers. Bob fought against cancer in 1979 and came back to win the greatest horse race in the world, the Grand National on Aldaniti in 1981, showing cancer can be beaten.
“One particularly special memory would be Pilgrims bingo evenings when friends, supporters and colleagues came to the Ashford hospice community rooms to be part of the fun. On some occasions, patients and their families joined us to enjoy the entertainment. Over the six years of hospice bingo, it raised £35,000 for hospice care.”
He added: “I’ve always worked in hands-on professions, my work at the hospice is full of problem-solving and I’m very proud to be part of such a great team.”
When Gary has time to relax, he enjoys spending time with his step daughters Charlotte and Kirsty and the grandchildren, some well-deserved nights out with his wife Maz and watching sport on TV.
Congratulations on your nomination Gary, you are truly an amazing fundraiser, we are all very proud of you here at Pilgrims Hospices.
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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. Care is provided from three hospice sites in Thanet, Canterbury and Ashford, as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families, the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
5th October 2022
Colour Run returns in Thanet for Pilgrims Hospices
The Pilgrims Hospices 5k Colour Run returned to Thanet with a blast of colour on Sunday 2 October 2022.
Over 600 adults and children attended, complete with colourful glasses and white t-shirts, all ready to run and walk through the clouds of vibrant and multi-coloured powders.
Those taking part warmed up with a fun warm-up with Bex from Dance Margate, followed by the countdown from Karen Kenward, Pilgrims Hospices Community Fundraising Manager.The sky was filled with colour as the lively crowds made their way through the colour stations and along the coastal route from Palm Bay, Clintonville, Margate. The atmosphere was filled with the sound of laughter and colour as everyone set off along the coastal route down towards Margate.
Karen said: “It was so lovely to see many attend, with lots of familiar faces and spectators for the sixth year of this Thanet Colour Run, which has raised £192,548 to date in support of Pilgrims Hospices, with more sponsorship still to come in, thank you all so very much. This really is such a colourful and fun event which needs to be seen, plus an incredible way to raise much-needed funds to support palliative care for the next person who needs us. It was just wonderful to welcome back our supporters again this year and to see the enjoyment it brings to all those who attend and help support the event on the day.”
“A huge Pilgrims thank you to all who helped in supporting the event, including sponsors Stagecoach, Copy Shop, Mini Stores in Deal, our wonderful volunteers and staff who helped make the event possible and most importantly, each and every one of you for taking part on the day.”
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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.
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Thanet, Canterbury and Ashford, as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families, the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
16th September 2022
Hikers go the extra mile in the inaugural Folkestone Downs Challenge!
Over 350 keen hikers and runners laced up their boots on Saturday 3 September 2022 to embark on Pilgrims Hospices’ brand-new fundraiser, the Folkestone Downs Challenge.
The sun was shining as supporters tackled the 36km course, specifically designed to showcase the spectacular scenery of Kent’s South coast including breathtaking views over the English Channel, Folkestone and Romney Marsh beyond. The day was a huge success and early estimations are that more than £50,000 has been raised for local end-of-life care services in east Kent!
Over 11,500km were collectively hiked by Pilgrims supporters on the day; the equivalent of walking from London to Bangkok, Thailand!
Robert Grew, Events Manager said: “We are absolutely delighted that so many supporters joined us in hiking for hospice care, and to have smashed our anticipated fundraising target is brilliant. The money raised will be helping to provide specialist palliative care services for the people of east Kent on Pilgrims’ wards, Therapy Centres and within the community.”
Supporters were advised to train to take on this tough and hilly challenge, and their preparations and determination paid off as they were welcomed back to applause and a well-deserved medal at the vibrant Folkestone Harbour Arm finish line.
It proved to be an extra special day for couple Sophie Thompson and Naomi Lengyel, who crossed the finish line engaged, after popping the question as the sun was setting over Sandgate beach.
Robert added: “We’ve had great feedback already from our amazing participants. Our team of staff and volunteers work really hard to ensure we have plenty of support along the route and well-stocked refreshment stops to keep spirits up throughout the day. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who help to make our events so special, we couldn’t do this without them.”
This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations and fundraising activities in order to run its full range of services. Sponsorship raised through events like this help the charity to continue caring for local people, and their families, as they near the end of their lives.