Bernie’s bald move for Pilgrims Hospices raises more than £1,000
Stay Home Hospice Hero Bernie Brisco, Health Care Assistant at Pilgrims Hospice Ashford, turned 50 on Tuesday 19 May and in doing so raised over £1,000 for the charity.
To celebrate, Bernie had planned a fabulous party and overnight camp out with many of her friends and hospice colleagues. However due to COVID-19 these plans, as for so many others, had to be cancelled.
Bernie still wanted to mark the occasion in a way that she would remember so that she would have something to look back on; so, she decided instead to shave her head. Bernie explained: “As well as being a nurse I am also my brother Matty’s carer and have continued to be so during this lockdown. I have for many years shaved his head and thought, ‘Why not do mine?’ and immediately decided to see if I could raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices at the same time.
“I love working for Pilgrims, it is such a fantastic charity caring for those who need our specialist support. With people unable to do so many of our normal events to support Pilgrims, this was something I could do.”
Bernie decided that when she shaved her hair, she wasn’t going to just have a Grade 1 all over, she was going to go totally bald and be proud of it. On Tuesday 19 May, Bernie braved the clippers.
Katie Brisco, her daughter, said: “My mum has always been a person who puts other people first. She is definitely my role model for life; I am very proud of her. She never expected to raise such a huge sum. She is a superstar.”
Deirdre Mewse, Community Fundraising Officer, added:
“A huge thank you to Bernie for going above and beyond to fundraise for Pilgrims, especially during these challenging times. The kindness and generosity she has shown is so appreciated. Alongside our whole Pilgrims team, Bernie is still here, still caring for patients and families across east Kent who are living with incurable illness. We can’t thank our care teams enough for the frontline support they are providing throughout COVID-19.”
There are so many ways you can continue to support Pilgrims, even from your homes. Visit the Pilgrims website for some virtual challenges and become a #StayHomeHospiceHero and help to make a difference from your home.
We need you more than ever; our local community means everything to us.
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. To offer these services the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
28th January 2020
School Diner transforms into pop-up restaurant for Pilgrims
Twenty students from Archbishop’s School in Canterbury donned chef whites and opened up Restaurant 58 in their school canteen in aid of local charity, Pilgrims Hospices. Supported by School Diners, a project created by celebrity chef Mark Lloyd, the aim is to engage students with a positive experience of school.
For the last five weeks, the year 10 and year 11 pupils have been busy planning the pop-up restaurant deciding the name, colour scheme, advertising the event and contacting local businesses to donate raffle prizes and stock donations.
Year 11 student, Will G said: “This project has helped me build my confidence and leadership skills which will be great for my CV!
“It’s been challenging but we have had a great time working together and creating Restaurant 58.”
The sold-out event on Saturday 25 January welcomed 112 guests to Archbishop’s School who were served a three-course meal including butternut squash risotto and a super food salad by the KS4 PXL Build Up Group students.
This project has helped me build my confidence and leadership skills which will be great for my CV!
Will, Archbishop’s School student
With no set prices, guests were asked to pay what they thought the meal was worth, helping to raise £2,170!
Leila Ilkhan, Pilgrims Canterbury Community Fundraising Manager said: “It was lovely to see what the students had accomplished in just five weeks through School Diners. Their hard work and enthusiasm will make a big difference enabling Pilgrims to be there for those patients who need us, when they need us most.”
If you have been inspired by the students at Archbishop’s School and would like to organise your own fundraising event, please contact Pilgrims Hospices team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Tenterden Lions roar with pride
Tenterden Lions Club presented a magnificent £2,500 cheque to Pilgrims Hospice Ashford last week. The Lions raised this amazing total with their much-loved Christmas float collections around Tenterden and surrounding villages.
The local club has supported Pilgrims Hospices over a number of years; like many people in the community, the club members appreciate the valuable service Pilgrims provide and the loving care given to their former Treasurer Lion, Reg Gray in 2015.
We wish to say a huge thank you to Tenterden Lions Club, they are truly helping us to make a difference to patients and their families who need our care.
Louise Newman, Pilgrims Hospices
Louise Newman, Pilgrims Ashford Community Fundraising Manager said: “We wish to say a huge thank you to Tenterden Lions Club, they are truly helping us to make a difference to patients and their families who need our care.”
Tenterden Lions Club was founded in 1957 and has been serving the local community for the past 60+ years in a variety of ways such as, planting bulbs every Autumn which come up in the High Street, Oaks Road, and St Michaels, organising an annual primary schools choir competition, and undertaking major fundraising projects such as the annual classic car show/dog show and the Christmas collections. This enables the club to support numerous local charitable causes including Pilgrims Hospices.
Pilgrims Hospices cares for more than 2,400 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.
23rd January 2020
Sarah’s seaside half marathon for Pilgrims
Sarah Stirrup from Whitstable will run the Brighton Half Marathon in aid of Pilgrims Hospices on Sunday 23 February 2020. As a Research Nurse for the charity, she understands how vital fundraising is to keep local hospice services available to those in need.
Although not always a natural runner, Sarah has grown to love it and is now a member of the Speedy Pluckers running club. She said: “When I started the ‘park bench to parkrun’ challenge 18 months ago (crying at the top of the second hill for the first three weeks!) my aim was to be able to walk or run 5k at Whitstable parkrun every week. Little did I know that I’d go on to not only love parkrun and join my local running club, but also enter a half marathon. Oh, and become known as ‘Speedy Barbara’ (of course, the joke is that I am still very slow!)”.
My mantra has become ‘seize the day’ so that I make the most of my own life. When I run, I hold in my heart all the people I’ve known who are not here to run with me.
As well as generating vital funds for Pilgrims, Sarah feels strongly about raising awareness of the compassionate care it provides to local people.
She continued: “As a nurse, I’ve known lots of people cared for by Pilgrims. The charity does so much, and not just at the very end of a person’s life. It looks after families, helps people to manage their symptoms and offers support through its Therapy Centres, physiotherapy, counselling and so many other essential services.
“Pilgrims is also at the forefront of palliative care research. Research into how we look after our patients and provide symptom control is really important, ensuring the care they receive is evidence-based.”
Leila Ilkhan, Community Fundraising Manager, said: “We really appreciate supporters like Sarah who take on charity challenges to raise vital funds for Pilgrims. It is because of their commitment and effort to training and fundraising that we can be there for patients and families who need us, for as long as they need us.”
Sarah is being supported in her fundraising by family and friends, including her partner Tony and two children Magda and Nat. She added: “As a charity, Pilgrims receives most of its income from fundraising, so it’s important that we all do what we can. I play the hospice Lottery too, though I haven’t won yet! There are so many opportunities to get involved and raise money or volunteer.
“As well as raising funds towards Pilgrims’ vital work, I’d like to gain more exposure for the work we do here. Pilgrims supports people with a life-limiting illness to live the best life they can in the time they have left. I think we can all learn from that. My mantra has become ‘seize the day’ so that I make the most of my own life. When I run, I hold in my heart all the people I’ve known who are not here to run with me.
“I’d love it if I inspired others to take on a challenging event and change their lives – if I can do it, anyone can!”
On Thursday 6 June 2019, Matt Seward will join 200 other cyclists as he attempts to ride the TransAtlantic Way; a solo self-supported 2,500km route along the western coast of Ireland. Starting in Dublin, riders head to Derry and follow the coast all the way to Kinsale near Cork.
Matt from Broadstairs, who works at his local family printing business, Seaward Copy Shop, is keen to support Pilgrims Hospices. He told us: “I am doing this ride in memory of my dad Roger who passed away last September after his year-long battle with cancer. Dad was 75 years old; he’d always been a fighter, overcoming many illnesses during his life and before he lost his sight he was a keen cyclist himself, raising money for charity.
This is my biggest challenge yet!
“Pilgrims Hospices were so supportive, they really helped to comfort my dad and the whole family. They respected his wishes and maintained his dignity right to the end so that he could be at home where he passed away with his family by his side. Their support was invaluable.
“You don’t truly realise the positive impact and the great work that they do until you need them.”
On the ride, Matt is aiming to cycle around 325km each day, sleeping under the stars on some nights and staying at bed and breakfasts on others to catch up with a good night’s sleep.
“I have wild camped around the Lake District and Snowdonia, therefore have some experiences to draw down upon. I find that when I am tired every bench, bus shelter or bush looks appealing.”
Matt began seriously training for his challenge in January this year, increasing his cycling hours by using an indoor trainer during the winter months. He has completed some overnight rides of around 300km and has been to Ireland to do a training ride around the Ring of Kerry.
Matt told us: “I am a member of Thanet Road Club and I’ve been doing long distance cycling challenges for the past few years. This is my biggest challenge yet!
“I am cycling around the entire route on my own and unsupported; carrying all of my clothes, sleeping bag and tools with me. I must find places to buy food on the route. In this wild part of Ireland, it can sometimes be 80km between shops!
“Although there is no official cut off time for finishing, there is a finishers party on Saturday 15 June; I hope to make it to the finish by then in time for a Guinness!”
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.
25th April 2019
Daniel loses weight and gains ground in marathon run for grandad
Daniel Williams (27) from Deal didn’t expect to win a ballot place for this year’s London Marathon, but when he did he knew that he wanted to do it for Pilgrims Hospices. The charity cared for Daniel’s grandad, Ron Collard, in 2017, so he took the opportunity to give back and achieve a personal fitness goal at the same time.
Ron had lung cancer and was cared for by Pilgrims at the end of his life.
Daniel said: “My grandad was my rock. He was a big part of my life, and losing him left a big hole in our family. Pilgrims were fantastic, not only caring for my grandad but for our family, too. They were amazing. There isn’t enough any of us can do to pay them back for their kindness and the time they gave us.”
I know my grandad would be very proud of me and I’m determined to do the marathon to give back just a fraction of what Pilgrims gave us as a family.
In October 2018, Daniel found out he’d won a place in the London Marathon. Initially shocked and surprised, he accepted the challenge. He said: “After a lot of thinking and sleepless nights I decided I was going to take on this mammoth feat, not knowing at the time that it would change my life around for good. I felt it would be a nice opportunity to give a little something back to Pilgrims.”
Before he could think about completing a marathon, Daniel knew he needed to get in shape and start training. At 25 stone, he had a lot of weight to lose. He added: “I started off by eating healthier, walking every evening and signing up to a gym with my personal trainer, Steph Hoare, training five nights a week. Steph has been my rock throughout, picking me up when I didn’t think I could do it and keeping me motivated. The weight began falling off very quickly.”
To date, Daniel has covered more than 1,000 miles in his training runs and lost an incredible nine and a half stone. Since October 2018, he’s gone from 4XL to Large / XL in clothing. He said: “This a massive achievement. It has totally changed my life around, I can now do so many things that I wasn’t able to before. I know my grandad would be very proud of me and I’m determined to do the marathon to give back just a fraction of what Pilgrims gave us as a family.
“I’m aiming to complete the London Marathon in six hours. I can’t wait to cross that finish line for my grandad.”
Daniel has already raised an amazing £1,500 in sponsorship for Pilgrims Hospices. You can sponsor him by visiting his JustGiving page.
If you’re inspired to follow in Daniel’s footsteps and take on an event or challenge for Pilgrims, visit pilgrimshospices.org/events to find out more.