Clare Morris, St Clare’s Challenges and Events Fundraiser, organised the event and said: “Seeing so many people gather to remember and celebrate the lives of family members, friends and loved ones was beautiful and touching. It really brought home the importance of community, and supporting each other when facing loss and bereavement – and what an honour it is to be able to host an event like Walking in Memory for the people of West Essex and East Herts.”
One of the highlights of the day was seeing “the sea of people in blue St Clare supporter t-shirts winding across the fields”, remarks Clare. “Walking in Memory was a pleasure to organise, and we’ll continue to host the event annually as part of our mission to support local people facing death, dying and bereavement, in any way we can.”
The oldest participant on the day was 89 year old Hugh Bliss (from Bishop’s Stortford) who was walking in memory of his son-in-law Michael Deer, who was one of the first patients to be cared for on the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit not long after it was established in 2000. Mr Bliss completed the entire 5k course in just under 2 hours 30 minutes.
Mr Bliss commented, “It was a real challenge for me, as the furthest I had walked in the last 9 months before today was just 500 yards! I had been sponsored by my family and friends so was determined to take part. I aimed to do 2 miles, but ended up doing the whole walk with everyone’s support. I particularly want to thank Terry and James, the St Clare volunteers who walked the route with me – they were brilliant and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Mr Bliss commented, “I really enjoyed the challenge, and it was good to walk in memory of my son-in-law Mike.”
Walking in Memory meant so much more than the event itself – with participants’ tickets and sponsorship money totalling around £15,500 in vital funding for the Hospice. That is enough to fund more than 800 counselling sessions for bereaved family members or friends, delivered by a qualified counsellor.
Clare Morris continued: “We’d like to thank everyone who attended on Sunday for their support of St Clare Hospice – the money that we raised at Walking in Memory will be channelled directly into supporting local people at the end of life, and throughout bereavement.”
Photo Credit: Vikki Lince
St Clare Hospice is a charity providing specialist palliative care for people living with terminal or life- limiting illnesses across West Essex and East Herts border. We care for patients and their families, providing physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual support, and ensuring they have timely access to skilled, compassionate and sensitive care in a place of their choice. Our services are free of charge to those who need our care, but cost over £5 million a year to run. With limited NHS funding we need to fundraise the majority of this each year through donations and other voluntary sources.
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