The Fanneran-Mullins family melt hearts with Chocolate Oranges for Pilgrims Hospices

A Chocolate Orange treat for staff on all three Pilgrims Hospices sites was delivered by the Fanneran-Mullins family last week. As part of Team Chocolate Orange, Kevin Mullins, Katrina Fanneran-Mullins and their children have been collecting donated oranges from local schools and organisations to bring Christmas cheer. 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 children, Ethan Fanneran-Burley, from year eight St. Anselm’s Catholic School, Kaitlyn Fanneran-Mullins, from year three and Cohen Fanneran-Mullins, from year one whom both attend Bridge and Patrixbourne CEP school arrived with boxes of chocolate treasure for the Pilgrims staff. The treats were donated by both schools, Faversham Town Walking Football, St. Stephens Golf Society, and the Royal Mail Whitstable and Herne Bay delivery offices.

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.

Kevin said: “With the unparalleled pressure brought about by COVID-19 on the NHS, emergency services, and care settings, we were even more determined to spread gratitude and gift appreciation under the banner of Team Chocolate Orange here in Kent. Personally, we have the extra motivation of the importance of the NHS in our own lives, as they continue to play an invaluable role in our son Ethan’s care. He is under the lifetime care of Great Ormond Street Hospital and we are excited at the prospect of sharing some joy and thanks with those who support people with the greatest need.

“My family is honoured to have joined Team Chocolate Orange and have been collecting donations of Chocolate Oranges over the past fortnight.

“It was lovely to meet with some of the Pilgrims team, the kids loved dropping off the Chocolate Oranges and were really excited that the staff will arrive at work to be greeted by a festive confectionery.”

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 supports thousands of patients and their families in east Kent each year. The charity has faced huge challenges over the last 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 Kevin, Katrina and their children for such a thoughtful gesture and would like to wish them a very merry Christmas.

You can keep up to date with Team Chocolate Orange on Facebook and Twitter.

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.