11th October 2021

    Martyn braves Firewalk and other challenges for local hospice care

    Martyn Battrick from Hawkinge near Folkestone experienced Pilgrims Hospices first-hand when his mother, Mary (Madge) Elliott Battrick, was cared for at the Ashford hospice in 2004.

    To give back and say thank you, Martyn is a keen fundraiser for Pilgrims; to date, he has raised more than £500 for local hospice care.


    Martyn completed the Pilgrims Way Challenge in June 2021, and will brave a barefoot Firewalk across red-hot coals held in the Ashford hospice gardens on 29 October 2021. He also plans to take on the Three Peaks Challenge for Pilgrims in 2022. His fantastic fundraising will enable the charity to keep providing vital, compassionate care to people across east Kent when they need it the most.

    Mary was born in Waterhouses, County Durham on 26 February 1922. During WW2, she was an ambulance and heavy vehicle driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). She met her husband, David, at that time in Hull, Yorkshire, where he was working as a Naval Officer. They married in 1945 and enjoyed a rich and varied life, raising a family and travelling around the world, and living in Plymouth, Devon and Durban, South Africa – where David sadly died on 16 June 1997.

    Mary (third from left) with her ATS friends during WW2

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On the morning of that day, Martyn took on and successfully completed his biggest challenge to date, the famous Comrades Marathon (a 90km ultramarathon) with an 11 hour cut-off, in his dad’s name.

    Martyn said: “If you don’t make it you get nothing; no medal, no ribbon, no certificate – nothing! My time was 10h 44m 01s. I’d seen Dad in hospital the day before and told him I was a little unsure of my ability to do the run (having never run that far before – most was 56km – and I’d never previously failed at anything I had set out to do). We expected Dad to come home from hospital on the Monday, but he died of a myocardial infarct at 04:30 that day, whilst I was walking in the dark to the start of the race. They called me on the PA system but I didn’t hear it.

    “Dad’s last words to me as he called me back from leaving when Mum arrived to sit with him were, “Get the medal for me”. I heard of his death at about the 55km mark but resolved to get the medal first and foremost and deal with the sadness later. I got the medal and it was cremated with him.”

    Mary and David at home in South Africa (1985)

     

    Mary found it difficult being without her life partner. She returned to England and settled in Folkestone; near to her eldest son, Michael, and her daughter, Barbie (who had also recently returned to England from Durban). David would have been 100 years old on 22 October 2021.

    Later in life, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Mary spent time in Pilgrims Hospice Ashford where she died on 22 March 2004.

    Mary with her grandson, David, at the Ashford hospice (March 2004)

     

    Martyn continued: “I was still overseas when Mum went into the hospice, though I had visited her a couple of months before then. After her diagnosis, she moved in with my brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Ros, in Folkestone and remained in their care until she was admitted to Pilgrims.

    Mary and David on David’s naval business in Antwerp (c. 1950)

    “My eldest son, David, travelled from South Africa to see his grandma in the hospice.

    “Michael and Ros visited daily. After Mum had a stroke they and Barbie kept up a 24-hour vigil at her bedside. The medical staff were truly excellent, and could not have been more kind, helpful, and understanding. We were more impressed than we could ever say. Thank you.”

    Martyn now enjoys supporting Pilgrims by taking on fundraising challenges for the charity.

    He said: “I entered the Pilgrims Way Challenge 2021 with my niece, Samantha (Mum’s granddaughter), and her husband, Steve. We chose the 55km route from Wye to Dover – the 25km and 35km were out of the question for me, I’m an all or nothing man! – and completed it in under 11 hours, including stops. We’ll likely do it again!

    “Now we know about the various events Pilgrims offer, we will do more. I’ve already signed up for the Firewalk challenge on 29 October 2021 and plan to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge in mid-2022. We’re supported in our fundraising by family, both here and overseas, and others including staff at Saga in Folkestone, where Samantha works.”

    Martyn added: “Pilgrims is a kind and caring organisation, there to comfort and support those who are facing their last days; the benefit of knowing that the best that can be done is in place gives relief and solace to families at a very difficult time.

    “As a family, we know from personal experience about Pilgrims’ wonderful work; we fundraise so that this can continue. We also know others who have been supported by the charity, and we have friends who have volunteered for Pilgrims, too. It’s a local charity for the people of Kent – our home.”

    Mary with her four children: Martyn from South Africa, Barbie, Robert from North Carolina, USA, and Michael behind (February 2004 )

     

    Pilgrims Events Manager, Robert Grew, explained: “It’s supporters like Martyn and his family that mean Pilgrims can continue being there for the many others that will need our care in the future. By taking on such challenges and raising vital sponsorship, he is enabling others to receive the skilled and compassionate end-of-life care they deserve, just like Mary.

    “I’m sure thoughts of his mother will bolster his nerve and spur him across the Firewalk on 29 October. Good luck, Martyn!”

    You can keep up with Martyn’s fundraising and sponsor him on his JustGiving page.

    Inspired to follow in Martyn’s footsteps and take on a Firewalk for Pilgrims? Register now to face the flames for local hospice care – but hurry! Advance registration closes on Sunday 24 October 2021.


    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.

    10th May 2021

    Nursing at Pilgrims: What it has meant to lead through a pandemic

    To celebrate Nurses’ Day 2021, we spoke to Kate White, Head of Nursing at Pilgrims Hospices, about how she and her team have risen to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

    Although it has been a difficult year, Pilgrims nurses have continued to provide vital, compassionate and holistic end-of-life care to people across east Kent. The pandemic has also provided opportunities to strengthen nursing practices, which will have a lasting, positive impact on future hospice care.


    How have nursing practices and patient care at Pilgrims changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began?

    The pandemic has brought infection control and prevention into sharp focus. The care we give at Pilgrims has remained at the highest standard, but having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) requires us to take more time preparing to give care rather than being able to be spontaneous.

    At the start of the pandemic the policies, procedures and systems that we’re so accustomed to were changing rapidly, sometimes several times a day. It was often hard to keep up, but Pilgrims staff embraced what was needed and continued to provide excellent patient-centred care.

    Pilgrims nursing team L-R: Kate White, Steve Allwright, Laura Gooch, Sheila Moorhead, Carol Lightfoot, Michelle Swann, Sam Waters and Donna Shanahan

     

    What have been some of the challenges presented by COVID-19 and how have Pilgrims nurses overcome them?

    The biggest challenges relate to our everyday communication; talking to patients whilst wearing a mask takes away the personal touch and the non-verbal communication a smile can convey. Our community team had to adapt to talking to patients over the phone rather than face-to-face visiting. This can be very difficult for both patients and staff, especially when discussing sensitive issues; it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, does it?

    Nothing will ever replace the closeness of a loved one, but we have tried to offer reassurance and comfort in these very difficult times.

    Kate

    We also had to find other ways of communicating with relatives, as our visitors policy restricted who could come into the hospices in order to ensure we safeguarded our extremely vulnerable patients and our staff, who were keeping hospice services going. It has been very distressing for so many, but we have used technology to bridge the gap and help enable people to keep in touch.

    We’ve also used the Matching Hearts project, where the patient has one crocheted heart and we give the other to the family to try to help them feel connected.

    Nothing will ever replace the closeness of a loved one, but we have tried to offer reassurance and comfort in these very difficult times.

    Have any positives come out of the pandemic?

    As a team we’ve proved our ability to change at a rapid pace when required, to find new and inventive ways of working.

    Those of us who have been in healthcare for a long time have never experienced such a coming together of so many providers, and this has had a lasting and positive impact on patient care and service delivery.

    Kate

    There has also been some brilliant collaborating with our healthcare colleagues in the wider community including East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Kent Community Trust, Kent County Council and primary care services. We shared issues around capacity, PPE supplies and staffing, plus anything else we were able to help each other with. It also provided a chance to update everyone on our current situation; we called in every day, seven days a week, to ensure our patients had the best care and our staff had the best support. Pilgrims was the only charity to join this call, and from this we became involved in supporting nursing homes by teaching their staff how to use PPE.

    Those of us who have been in healthcare for a long time have never experienced such a coming together of so many providers, and this has had a lasting and positive impact on patient care and service delivery.

    Kate White, Head of Nursing at Pilgrims Hospices, with nurse Debbie Todd. The artwork is displayed on the ward at the Canterbury hospice. The hands are a show of unity, strength and teamwork. Staff put one hand on the paper on each shift they came in for, choosing the colour that represented how they felt. It reflects the rainbows painted by children during the pandemic to thank key workers.

     

    What does a post-COVID-19 future look like at Pilgrims, and how will Pilgrims nurses lead patient care within it?

    We’re told that the pandemic will be around for a while yet, so we will continue to provide the best infection control and prevention we can. Our infection control team, led with the expertise and dedication of nurse Debbie Todd, will ensure we are kept up to date with all current guidelines and practices. I have no doubt we will continue to deliver high quality, holistic care to our patients and their families, whatever the situation is, to the best of our ability.


    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.

    29th April 2021

    Pete’s family raise thousands to support future hospice care

    Hannah Austin (28) from Ebbsfleet experienced Pilgrims Hospices first-hand when her dad, Pete Austin (57), was cared for by the charity. The family asked loved ones to donate to Pilgrims in lieu of funeral flowers, hoping to raise £200 in Pete’s memory; they surpassed this target, raising a phenomenal £2,020 for the charity that provides vital end-of-life care for people across east Kent.


    Hannah with her dad Pete

    Pete, a retired escalator engineer from Birchington, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2019. Hannah said: “He enjoyed a healthy vegan diet, keeping fit, socialising down the pub with family and friends and going on holidays with my mum Viv. They were happily married for 35 years. He was a kind family man who loved life.”

    She added: “Dad was very brave and went through all the treatment he could, including three months of intense chemotherapy. Unfortunately, even though he fought so hard and did incredibly well, it did not work for him, and the decision was made to stop all treatment.”

    At this point, Pilgrims stepped in to support Pete and his family. The charity organised doctors and nurses to visit every day and keep him comfortable, enabling him to stay at home and be cared for by loved ones. Hannah said: “They supported my dad and the whole family; they would regularly phone my mum to check she was doing okay. Pilgrims were always just a phone call away if we had any questions or concerns.”

    “I found out I was pregnant the week my dad passed away and luckily I managed to tell him, which was the last time I saw him awake. Even though it’s sad as we know how much he wanted grandchildren, having my little girl has helped our whole family get through it. My brother’s wife was also pregnant at the time, so now my mum has her hands full with two grandchildren, which she loves!”

    To me, Pilgrims means a safe place for support when you need it the most. As we received such brilliant support, and because we know Pilgrims relies so much on donations, we wanted to give back so they can continue their good work supporting other families in the future.

    Hannah

    Pete passed away peacefully on 31 May 2020. Due to COVID restrictions, only a small number of people could attend his funeral in person, so the family asked loved ones to donate to Pilgrims via a JustGiving page instead of sending flowers. Initially aiming to raise £200, their hopes were far exceeded.

    Hannah said: “We were astounded to raise over £2,000 for Pilgrims, which shows just how loved our dad was.”

    “To me, Pilgrims means a safe place for support when you need it the most. As we received such brilliant support, and because we know Pilgrims relies so much on donations, we wanted to give back so they can continue their good work supporting other families in the future.”


    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 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.

    21st April 2021

    #SalvagedWithLove: Erin’s mission to change the world and support hospice care

    Erin Hayhow from Whitstable is a fashion designer on a mission to change the world. Using only waste materials, which she dyes and paints with her own designs, she is on her way to building a sustainable future for the fashion industry. Her slogan is #SalvagedWithLove.

    Erin’s mum, Sarah, was cared for at the Canterbury hospice in 2014. To give back for the support her family received, she plans to donate to Pilgrims Hospices as her brand grows and hopes to run up-cycling workshops with Pilgrims shops in the near future.


    Sarah and Erin

    After graduating with a first class BA in Fine Art from Solent University, Erin moved to Berlin to pursue a career as an artist but returned home when her mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

    She said: “I was her carer for two years; during that time, creativity was so important to me because it was a way of understanding what was happening.

    “My mum was the most fashionable person I know; my love for fashion came from her, she always dressed me in the coolest clothes. Putting my legs through plastic carrier-bags from our weekly shopping trips, pulling up the handles like straps, I’d made my first pair of dungarees. I wasn’t allowed to wear high heels, but I improvised by painting papier-mache tissue boxes and toilet roll tubes. I put them on with my new dungarees and strutted down my garden like a catwalk.

    “During her illness, Mum would wear amazing garments every day and it would give her the ability to conquer the world. It became her armour, and it’s the same to me.”

    Erin doing her Firewalk

    Sarah was initially given a three-month prognosis but lived with cancer for 18 months. She didn’t feel she needed hospice support until the end of her life. Erin continued: “Mum’s mindset changed once Pilgrims was involved. I remember the hospice so strongly, there was a big community of people ready to support us. They were incredible with her. This was my first experience of hospice care and I want to raise awareness so that others know they can access it, too.”

    Erin went on to complete a Fashion Design MA at UCA Rochester, achieving a distinction. She finished her five-piece collection Flowers Grow in Dustbins, made from 100% recycled materials, in 2019; these garments are available to purchase on her website. She also sells a range of more affordable pieces via Instagram @eirinnhayhow. To give back for the support her family received, Erin will donate 5% of the money made from sales to Pilgrims. Erin also took part in the charity’s sponsored Firewalk event in Canterbury on 13 March 2020.

    Most recently, Erin showed her digital film Polluted Garden at London Fashion Week and Fashion Scout, a leading international consultancy and platform for nurturing, empowering and showcasing the future of fashion. She also took part in London Fashion Week 2021.

    I remember the hospice so strongly, there was a big community of people ready to support us. They were incredible with her. This was my first experience of hospice care and I want to raise awareness so that others know they can access it, too.

    Erin

    Erin plans to continue donating to Pilgrims as her brand grows and hopes to run up-cycling workshops with its shops in the near future, in exchange for materials that they can’t sell. Tim Stewart, Retail Business Development Manager at Pilgrims, said: “I met Erin in 2019 and she told me her story, explaining she’d been buying bits from our shops and using them as a basis for her new pieces. It was obvious to me that she was talented, and that she wanted to give something back to Pilgrims. So I offered her some materials that we hadn’t been able to sell, along with a couple of rails, and a mannequin to help her starting up. She was very grateful for the support and has offered to run design and screen-printing classes at one of our shops. We look forward to working with Erin in the future.”

    Erin added: “After my mum passed away, I moved back to Berlin and began screen-printing on t-shirts and garments DIY-style. As my sewing skills improved, I used fabrics and materials that were either found on the street or donated to charity shops – from there I started to form my own collections. In 2017, I sold my first collection at Studio183 in Bikini Berlin. That summer, I moved back to Whitstable and opened a pop-up store in an old shipping container in a furniture yard in Margate. I became part of a waste-free fashion collective made up of four members; we all make garments from waste materials. We’ve had three shows at the Turner Contemporary and one at Soho House Berlin.

    “The fashion industry is the world’s second biggest contributor to global warming, with 350,000 tonnes (that’s around £140 million worth) of used but still wearable clothing going to landfill in the UK every year. My brand says no to fast fashion. It is my intention to help solve our global waste crisis by creating imaginative solutions for unwanted materials.

    “We need to find sustainable solutions to our waste problems. We need to re-think the fast fashion system. Fashion should be positive, it should be inclusive, it should be empowering. As designers of the future, it is our duty to be sustainable.”

    Find out more about Erin’s work at eirinnhayhow.co.uk and follow her on Instagram @eirinnhayhow.

    Pilgrims shops are now re-open across east Kent! Check opening times for your local shop. We hope to see you very soon.


    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 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.

    7th August 2018

    Patient treats Pilgrims’ nurses to ice lollies

    Thoughtful Pilgrims patient, Steve Price, treated the care team at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet to ice lollies as temperatures in Margate rocketed into the high 20 degrees.


    Computer programmer Steve, who took early retirement in 2004, has been spending some time at the Margate hospice to help manage his pain before returning to his home in Deal. Steve was diagnosed with life-limiting pancreatic cancer; the Pilgrims community team has been supporting him and will continue to visit his home when he returns there soon.

    Steve said: “I thought it would be nice to offer the Pilgrims staff a cooling treat during this prolonged period of scorching temperatures. My daughter, Kate, did some ice lolly shopping before bringing my granddaughter Lucy to visit me at the Thanet hospice.

    I was so pleased to have been able to offer some cooling treats to the Pilgrims team. I just thought everyone has been so kind and looked after me, I wanted to do something nice for them. The staff have been brilliant.

    Steve

    “Pilgrims chef George found freezer space for the lollies and I was so pleased to have been able to offer some cooling treats to the Pilgrims team. I just thought everyone has been so kind and looked after me, I wanted to do something nice for them. The staff have been brilliant; nothing is too much trouble, even though the heat has been quite exhausting for everyone.”

    Pilgrims’ care team Maxine Lewis, Sharon Hill, Louise Jarman and Lou Boulton

     

    Georgina Braithwaite, Head Chef at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet, said: “It was a lovely surprise and a very kind gesture made by Steve. The mini heat wave has been quite a challenge over the past weeks so the lollies were really appreciated.

    “My catering team has been working continuously to keep our patients, their families and our staff refreshed and hydrated. Our juicer machine has been working full time to supply cold fresh juice to patients whose appetites are being affected by some of the hottest weather we’ve experienced in a long time.”

    It was a lovely surprise and a very kind gesture made by Steve. The mini heat wave has been quite a challenge over the past weeks so the lollies were really appreciated.

    Georgina Braithwaite, Head Chef at Pilgrims Hospices

    Steve’s daughter Kate said: “Everyone has been so lovely to my dad, he’s had time to relax and respond to his treatment. We are very aware that the environment really feels like home and everyone is always ready to offer help and greet us with a kind smile.

    “The staff and volunteers have been wonderful and spent time with my daughter Lucy, which has allowed me to have some precious time with my dad.”

    It’s great to be making and sharing some wonderful memories right now.

    Steve

    Steve is looking forward to going home to enjoy the Deal seafront and also a special visit from his family who are arriving from Australia, especially as he will meet a new grandchild for the first time. Proud granddad Steve is also looking forward to sharing ice lollies and other seaside treats with them this summer.

    “Although I know I will not be there to see all of the grandchildren grow up, it’s great to be making and sharing some wonderful memories right now,” Steve added.


    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.

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