Nathan George goes the distance for Pilgrims Hospices
Nathan George (20) from High Halden took on a remarkable challenge, and successfully completed the South Coast 100K Ultra Challenge on Saturday 2nd September. Nathan was inspired to do something incredible for charity after some of his friends and family had been cared for by his local Pilgrims Hospice. He wanted to say thank you by giving back to the much-loved local charity. Through the support of his workplace, family and friends, Nathan raised a fantastic £2,747!
Nathan explained that Pilgrims is very close to his heart, he said: “I chose to support Pilgrims because of the outstanding work they do in my local community. I know people who have been in their care, and I recognise they are getting the best care possible. I know a few workers from the hospice, and they are some of the kindest, most thoughtful and greatly skilled people, and so personally everything aligned.”
Not only has Nathan successfully completed his Ultra Challenge, he has also achieved a huge personal milestone. Nathan explained: “For the past two years I have been on a fitness journey, I’m now more healthy, and have achieved a massive weight loss, going from 18.03 to 12.10 stones. I wanted to end this chapter of my life with an extreme challenge, and an ultra-marathon sounded like a great idea. I would be able to see what I’m truly capable of physically and mentally, whilst also raising money towards an important charity”.
Nathan wants to inspire others to set themselves their own challenge, he explained: “I never believed I was capable of achieving anything like that. Now after giving it a go for a year, I can say from experience, that with a little bit of a plan and a good mindset, you can achieve anything.”
He went on to share his fundraising tips and tricks, and said that he created a JustGiving page online, and posted some sponsorship forms on the walls of his workplace, the Garden Restaurant. He said: “People were intrigued, asked me how the training was going, and how they could get involved in sponsoring me. By sharing and talking about my challenge, the community grew and grew, and continued throughout the year.
I chose to support Pilgrims because of the outstanding work they do in my local community
“Then, at 8:00am on Saturday 2nd September, I took my first step of the marathon, with the good luck wishes of everyone ringing in my ears. The challenge was without a doubt the hardest task I’d ever attempted, but knowing how many people I had backing me and the great cause, this carried me through the challenge.
“At 4:30pm on Sunday 3rd September, I limped over the finishing line. I had completed everything I’d set out to do nine months earlier. In the end, I raised £2,747 through the generosity of my family, friends and the lovely customers from my workplace.
“This journey has been my life over the past year, and I am overwhelmed by the community. We’ve raised a staggering amount of money and I am so proud of what WE have done. I would like to end on a special thanks to my Mum, Dad, Brother, Nan, Auntie, the customers and staff of the Garden Restaurant, and my best mates Olly and Josh. They all went above and beyond to aid me in this journey, and none of this would have been possible without them.”
Nathan hopes to inspire others to step up and do something amazing for Pilgrims Hospices, and believes that everyone can do anything they put their mind to.
Feeling inspired by Nathan’s story, and ready to go the distance for Pilgrims Hospices? You can sign up to your own Ultra Challenge, and choose from the Isle of Wight, Jurassic Coast or Thames Path challenge, as well as many more! Ultra-Challenge is famous for laying on the best support and hospitality, enabling you to confidently tackle your challenge with the best chance of success.
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 Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, 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.
6th September 2023
Hikers go the extra mile at the Folkestone Downs Challenge!
On Saturday 2nd September, over 400 brave hikers put their best foot forward to conquer the Folkestone Downs Challenge for Pilgrims Hospices.
The sun was shining as supporters tackled the challenging 36km course, taking them along some beautiful paths that showcased the spectacular scenery of Kent’s South coast. Starting from the Folkestone Harbour Arm, supporters climbed Kent’s famous white cliffs, and enjoyed breath-taking views over the English channel, Folkestone and Romney Marsh. Walkers even spotted some exotic animals as they passed by Port Lympne Safari Park, before making their way along the canal paths and promenade of Hythe to return to riotous applause at the Folkestone Harbour finish line.
We couldn’t be prouder of our brilliant supporters
Robert – Pilgrims
Almost 22,000 km were collectively hiked by Pilgrims supporters on the day; the equivalent of walking from London to Istanbul more than 4 times! 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, exceeding the charity’s anticipated fundraising target! The money raised will help Pilgrims Hospices to continue caring for thousands of patients each year, so that everyone living with a terminal illness can access the quality care, comfort and support they deserve, when and where they need it.
Max Sheppard, from Folkestone, completed the challenge and raised over £1,000 in memory of his father, Barry. He told us, “Dad passed away at Pilgrims Hospices in Ashford. Not only was the care for him at the hospice exceptional, the support for us as a family at the time was also incredible.
“Whilst Dad was only in the hospice for 6 days, Pilgrims Hospices provided a huge amount of support and guidance in the lead up to his admission. This assistance made a huge difference to Dad and us at a very difficult and stressful time.”
Not only was the care for him at the hospice exceptional, the support for us as a family at the time was also incredible
Robert Grew, Events and Digital Fundraising Manager said: “We couldn’t be prouder of our brilliant supporters who, quite literally, went the extra mile for Pilgrims on a very warm day. It was truly inspirational to see a community come together to support Pilgrims Hospices, and to celebrate and fundraise in memory of those they care so deeply about.
“We’ve already received fantastic feedback from our amazing participants, who have expressed their gratitude to our brilliant team. Our staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that participants had plenty of support along the route and well-stocked refreshment stops, to keep spirits up throughout the day. We are so grateful to everyone involved who made the event such a huge success, and especially to our fantastic volunteers, we couldn’t do it without them!”
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This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations and fundraising activities in order to run their 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.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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.
20th August 2023
5 reasons to take part in the Folkestone Downs Challenge
Here’s why you should get involved and put your best foot forward for local hospice care.
See Kent’s South coast like never before!
The Folkestone Downs Challenge has been designed to showcase the very best of Kent’s spectacular South coast. Starting from the Folkestone Harbour Arm, you’ll climb to the height of Kent’s famous white cliffs and enjoy breathtaking views over the English Channel, Folkestone, and Romney Marsh beyond as you follow the chalk ridgeline westward.
Along the way, you’ll pass Castle Hill, the site of an early Norman fortification, as well as the Folkestone White Horse, before reaching one of the highest points of the North Downs at Tolsford Hill (181m). From there, your trail descends through fields and woodland to the picturesque Lympne Castle, with a chance of glimpsing some exotic animals as you pass by Port Lympne Safari Park. Then, you’ll join the scenic pathways of the Royal Military Canal through Hythe and Sandgate on your return to Folkestone’s historic harbour.
The carefully curated 36km course is sure to hold more than a few surprises for locals and visitors alike!
Achieve your fitness and wellness goals
It’s nothing new that spending time in the great outdoors, walking and being active, does wonders for our physical health, but it doesn’t stop there. Research shows that being outside, particularly in nature, has many benefits for our mental wellbeing as well.
From a long hike, to a simple lunchtime stroll, walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety, stress and fatigue, and there is evidence to show that walking in nature improves those results even further. That’s because different parts of our brain activate while in a natural environment. Our mind calms, leading to physiological changes, including reductions in heart rate and blood pressure.
The activity can lead to improved self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of depression. With all these benefits, it’s little wonder why so many are choosing to pull on their boots and join the Folkestone Downs Challenge this September.
Spend quality time with friends and family
We all know how tricky it can be to make time in our busy lives to enjoy quality time with those we care about. The Folkestone Downs Challenge is a perfect opportunity for that long overdue catch-up and to have a great day out among friends or family. It’s not a race, the challenge is to complete it, so there’s no need to rush. Enjoy the great views, chat and support each other in achieving something out of the ordinary! Intrepid solo hikers will find lots of friendly, fellow hikers to enjoy the day with too. And together, everyone can reach the finish line as a hospice hero.
Enjoy a fully-supported day out
From the moment you receive your very own Pilgrims technical T-shirt, to claiming your medal at the finish line, you’ll enjoy a fantastic level of event support that has become synonymous with Pilgrims Hospices charity hikes. This includes clear route signage, regular refreshment stops, toilet facilities, medical support, a free event information app and more. Not to mention our friendly team of volunteers who’ll be cheering you on throughout your challenge!
But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some of our past hikers have said:
“Spectacular scenery, superb refreshments, fabulous company, wonderful volunteers, immense sense of achievement.”
“The food stops were incredible… the encouragement, friendly and smiling faces at the rest stops made the whole experience fantastic.”
“It was all amazing! Route, scenery, weather, signage, refreshments, volunteers, organisation, the whole thing!”
Make a difference for local people living with incurable illness
By taking on the Folkestone Downs Challenge, you’ll be directly supporting the care of thousands of local people who are living with an incurable illness. Whether at one of our three inpatient units in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, our Therapy Centres, or in patient’s own homes, Pilgrims Hospices is dedicated to providing skilled and compassionate end-of-life care, completely free of charge, to empower patients, together with their family and friends, to live well in mind and body, and make the most of the time they have.
With around 80% of our funding coming through voluntary contributions from our local community (like sponsorship), by taking on the Folkestone Downs Challenge and going the extra mile, you’ll be making a huge difference to those who need us, now and in the future.
You can find out more about the Folkestone Downs Challenge, and sign up today, by clicking the button below.
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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.
4th May 2023
Spring was in the air for Cycle Challenge on Bank Holiday Sunday
More than 1,000 cyclists enjoyed a beautiful Spring Bank Holiday Sunday exploring the stunning Kent countryside at the 13th annual Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge.
Riders of all abilities took part, collectively cycling more than 76,000 miles to support the skilled and compassionate end-of-life care the charity provides across east Kent.
So far this year’s event has raised almost £100,000; with indications showing the total could reach as much as £110,000 for Pilgrims, once all donations and Gift Aid are finalised.
Individuals, families, friends, cycling clubs, local businesses and services throughout Kent, took on the 30, 50, 75, 100 or 125-mile challenge. Bright skies and dry roads were the perfect conditions for Pilgrims’ flagship fundraising event. Ever since the event first took place in 2010, supporters have raised an astonishing £1.2 million pounds to help people who need Pilgrims’ care within our community.
All routes started and finished at Pilgrims Event Village at the University of Kent, near Canterbury. Returning cyclists could enjoy a celebratory atmosphere, sports massage and well-earned refreshments after collecting their commemorative medal.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims event organiser said: “It was brilliant to see such a strong show of support for Pilgrims! We congratulate all the riders in achieving their goals and for their incredible support for the end-of-life care Pilgrims provides.
“It’s a privilege to organise the event and, seeing it year after year, I’m always reminded how much of a team effort it is. Our army of volunteers are just outstanding and gave up their bank holiday weekend to help make the whole experience safe and enjoyable for our riders. I can’t thank them enough! Nor the waves of cyclists who puff their way around the course in support each year.”
“I must also thank Kent Sport, Biketart, Barretts and London Array for their wonderful support for the event, which enables us to maximise the amount of funds we can raise for hospice care.”
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet 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.
21st April 2023
Anthony Giles supports creative art event for Pilgrims Hospices
Local artist Anthony Giles, has generously offered his studio for Pilgrims to hold the 100 Pieces of Art charity auction, taking place on 1 July 2023. Anthony lives and works in Margate, surrounded by Turner’s best skies in the whole of Europe.
Pilgrims are inviting budding artists of all ages and abilities, to submit their paintings, ceramic or sculpture art to create 100 pieces of art to be sold at auction to help support Pilgrims Hospices’ end-of-life care.
Karen Kenward, Pilgrims Hospices Community Fundraising Manager said:
“Anthony has been involved with art events for Pilgrims Hospices over the years, and helped choose art for previous events. When he approached me last year, I was delighted; it’s a lovely studio, and I’m very excited to be holding a Pilgrims art event in such a prestigious venue. Our charity constantly looks for innovative and interesting ways to engage with the local community and our supporters. I’m really hoping to capture the imagination of lots of local artists, and budding artists, to help us achieve our 100 pieces for the auction.”
Anyone can submit an artwork, painting, drawing, ceramic or sculpture art; if you have a creative eye, we would love to see your work!
The auction will be held at Anthony Giles Studio, 3 Lombard Street, Margate.
The deadline for submissions isFriday 5 May 2023.
Please note:Paintings and drawings must be between postcard size 6”x 4” and 26”x 24”, framed or unframed.
Viewing will take place betweenTuesday 27 June and Friday 30 June, 10am – 4pmandSaturday 1 July, 10am – 12pm.
The auction will begin at1pm on Saturday 1 July, with pre-event drinks and nibbles from10am – 12pm.
Karen added: “Anyone can come along, so please do support this very special event; you can also make a bid prior to the auction, or on the day in person, or by telephone. This is a great opportunity to buy a beautiful piece of art, knowing that all profits from the art will help to support Pilgrims services.”
Auction catalogues will be available nearer the time of the event, costing £5 from Pilgrims Hospice Thanet and the Anthony Giles Studio, Margate.
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.
11th April 2023
UNFRAMED mural festival and art trail arrives in Ashford
Follow the Ashford UNFRAMED 2023 art trail this April half term, and be amazed by the murals created by national and local artists, who have transformed blank walls in Ashford town centre, into a sea of colour and creativity.
Kate Duddell from Pilgrims’ fundraising team with Chris Dixon from Ashford Borough Council / Mural art by Will Redgrove on Pilgrims’ Ashford General shop
At the UNFRAMED launch, Sue Sharp, Pilgrims Hospices Director of Income Generation and Marketing, met mural artist Will Redgrove, painter of Pilgrims Hospices shop on Castle Street with his interpretation of the work of Pilgrims. The masterpiece depicts three blue tits representing the three Pilgrims Hospices; a ribbon in flight within a field of bluebells, forget-me-nots and sunflowers. A meaningful and peaceful representation of everlasting love, memory and care, which, is at the heart of Pilgrims Hospices’ vision.
Visitors to the festival can download a map, scan a QR code at each site, or pick up a physical map from Coachworks, Low Key Tap Room, Picturehouse or Made in Ashford and wander around the town centre immersing themselves in the street art and learning more about each piece.
Pilgrims Hospices care 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.