A Chocolate Orange treat for staff on all three Pilgrims Hospices sites was delivered by Allan Pippard from Faversham Town Walking Football in December 2022.
Allan and his wife Joanne arrived with 300 donated oranges to bring festive cheer to staff throughout the charity on behalf of Team Chocolate Orange. It’s their way of sending a much-deserved thank you for providing essential services 365 days a year, caring for those in need and their loved ones, and for always being there when they are needed.
The Team Chocolate Orange campaign was started by Chris Lamb, whose son, Elliott, spent a lot of time in hospital and very sadly passed away just before Christmas 2010, aged just four years old. The following year, Chris decided he wanted to do something positive to cherish Elliott’s memory and Team Chocolate Orange was born. Seeing the campaign as a way to turn a negative into a positive, Chris embarked on a mission to thank NHS staff for all they did and decided to give a Chocolate Orange to as many of them as he could.
Having started in St. Helens, Merseyside in 2011 with 145 Chocolate Oranges, the campaign, now running in areas from Newcastle to London, has resulted in over 100,000 donated Chocolate Oranges being gifted to deserving recipients.
Allan and Jo have a personal connection to Pilgrims Hospices; Jo’s Mum, Diane Mewett was cared for by the Canterbury care team in the Spring of 2017. Diane expressed a special wish to be part of her daughter’s wedding and celebrate alongside her family. Allan and Jo brought their wedding plans forward, and the team at the hospice did everything they could to help the family make a truly memorable day. A fabulous white wedding and blessing took place within the gardens and family room, where Diane was able to share the couple’s special day.
While delivering the chocolatey treats, they were reunited with some of the care team who looked after Jo’s Mum.
Allan said: “We are delighted to be the bearers of these treats for the hospices, we are regular supporters of Team Chocolate Orange at Faversham Walking Football and are delighted to be here to deliver some good cheer to Pilgrims.
“The care that the whole family received while Diane was at the hospice was very special, and the wedding gave us a life-long special memory to keep.”
Leila Ilkhan, Pilgrims community fundraising manager said: “On behalf of everyone at Pilgrims Hospices I would like to say a very big thank you to you for thinking of our charity and delivering Chocolate Oranges for our staff to enjoy.
“It is heart-warming to see people in our community wanting to spread some joy and I look forward to sharing your token of gratitude with our nurses, doctors and wider clinical teams over the next couple of days.
“Team Chocolate Orange has started something truly fantastic, and it is wonderful that you are bringing this to Kent to continue this generous act of giving.”
Pilgrims support thousands of patients and their families in east Kent each year. The gift of a Chocolate Orange to each of the team will no doubt be enjoyed with a cup of tea on tea breaks and lunch times. Pilgrims wish to thank Allan and Joanne Pippard and Faversham Walking Football for such a kind gesture and would like to wish them a very merry Christmas.