Sally’s wish was to die at home with her family beside her and the hospice team made sure she was able to have this granted
Every year St Elizabeth Hospice’s memorial event Suffolk Remembers, sees 5,000 candles displayed along Felixstowe seafront as hundreds of people gather to remember their loved ones.
Now in its seventh year, the annual event sponsored by East of England Co-op Funeral Services will once again take place on 21stJune, with the hospice inviting all who have lost a friend or relative to take the opportunity to join others from across the region in remembering them.
Peter Girt attended Suffolk Remembers 2022 with his family – son Matthew, daughter Claire and grandchildren – to remember his wife Sally Girt who died from cancer, aged 67-years-old, in February 2022 at home, while under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice.
“My family and I attended Suffolk Remembers for the first time in 2022 and it truly was a marvelous event,” explained Peter, who is from Ipswich.
“It was a very memorable and moving evening, which saw hospice supporters, the local community and families, like mine, gather to remember those we have loved, who are no longer with us, with the peaceful backdrop of Felixstowe seafront providing the perfect setting.
“Claire and Matthew carried the letter ‘R’, this had been sponsored by Ryder Davies Veterinary Practice where my daughter works as a nurse. I also had the privilege of being asked to carry the letter ‘L’, which coincidentally included the 5 candles we had dedicated to Sally, I felt very honoured. It was very poignant.”
Annually, St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 3,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
This care sees the independent Suffolk charity providing free services – whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice – to those living with a progressive or life-limiting illness.
Sally came under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice in January 2022, after having been diagnosed by Ipswich Hospital for cancer of the kidney, which had then spread to her liver and lungs.
Peter said: “From the time Sally received her diagnosis, that her condition was incurable, the St Elizabeth Hospice team were brilliant.
“We were referred to the hospice by a doctor, but were well aware of its services having been supporters of the charity for many years and one of Sally’s uncles used to visit St Elizabeth Hospice’s Day Care services (now known as Community Care Unit) for support.
“Family was everything to Sally and it was Sally’s wish was to die at home with her family beside her and the hospice team made sure she was able to have this granted; without St Elizabeth Hospice, I don’t know what would have happened.
“Their care was so important to us, especially knowing we had 24/7 support via the hospice’s round the clock phone line, OneCall, which we called on a number of occasions and they always gave us reassurance and advice on how to make Sally as comfortable as possible.
“Everyone thinks the word ‘hospice’ means the end, but this really isn’t the case and as an organisation the breadth of their services supports the whole family, as well as the patient.
“For example, our family has received support via the hospice’s bereavement and wellbeing service, LivingGrief. Their services are non-judgmental and caring, with all the staff taking the time to listen and offer guidance to help.
“The compassion and dignity St Elizabeth Hospice nurses gave to Sally and my family will never be forgotten and we will never be able to thank them enough, especially the nurse who came to Sally on her passing, the care that was shown was remarkable and a credit to St Elizabeth Hospice.”
Further information about Suffolk Remembers can be found at www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/suffolk-remembers.
About St Elizabeth Hospice
St Elizabeth Hospice improves life for people in East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney living with a progressive or life-limiting illness. Our work is centred on an individual’s needs, which means specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice. Through medicine and therapy we ease pain; we give life purpose and make life liveable.