East Kent’s largest remembrance services returned in December 2022

Pilgrims Hospices’ Trees of Love saw thousands come together to remember loved ones in December 2022.

Pilgrims Hospices welcomed over 2,000 local people to their Trees of Love remembrance services, held at venues across east Kent during the first weeks of December 2022.

Each year, Pilgrims host remembrance services with carols in the grounds of their three hospices at Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, where huge festive trees are lit up in memory of lost loved ones. Adorned with beautiful doves bearing personal messages, many from across east Kent shared their special memories together at these festive events. The hospice also collaborates with other venues in the community, holding services in in Barham, Charing, Cheriton, River and New Romney, allowing more people to attend.

Ellie Cane, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Officer, said: “During the pandemic we were unable to bring everyone together in person, so we were delighted to welcome everyone back to our hospices this year for the return of our remembrance services. Our thanks go to everyone who has donated to the Trees of Love appeal and dedicated a dove in memory of their loved ones. At what can be a difficult time of the year, sharing thoughts with others who have similar experiences keeps our loved ones firmly in our hearts.”

She added: “So far, we have raised over £47,000 for local hospice care from generous donations to the Trees of Love appeal. This is such an amazing amount, which will help us continue to provide our expert care and support on our wards and in people’s own homes. It really will make the difference for our patients and their families when they need us the most.”

Visitors to the hospice services on Saturday 3 December 2022 were welcomed by the charity’s Spiritual Care Leads at Thanet and Ashford, and guest Lead Rev Stefan Thomas at Canterbury, to enjoy readings from staff and volunteers, and sing carols accompanied by local choirs. Refreshments of mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine were on offer to keep guests warm on that frosty night.

Of the combined community and hospice effort it takes to host these events every year, Ellie said: “Our thanks must extend also to our local communities and the many volunteers who give their time and skills every year to make the events run smoothly. It really couldn’t be done without them.”

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.