One of St Elizabeth Hospice’s most treasured memorials has reached a significant milestone, raising £150,000 for the local charity.
The Memory Tree was launched at the hospice four years ago for anyone – not just those touched by hospice care – to dedicate a decorative leaf or rock in their loved one’s name for one, two or five years.
Nick Connor is one of the hospice’s supporters who has made a dedication on the tree. Mr Connor’s wife, Jill, was cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice in 2014.
Jill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September 2014. At that time, she was in a lot of pain and was referred to the hospice by a district nurse. She was admitted to the inpatient unit where she received pain relief and her symptoms were brought under control.
It was Jill’s wish to be cared for at home and, with the support from the hospice’s community healthcare assistants, that’s where she was when she died on 24 November 2014.
Mr Connor said: “The hospice knew just what to do. The staff there were brilliant. I am forever grateful for their ability to provide fully funded care.”
Since Jill’s death, Nick has pledged to support St Elizabeth Hospice in every way he can, including dedicating a leaf to Jill on the Memory Tree.
He added: “Once in the bosom of the hospice family, you are fully taken care of. Helping the hospice is now my therapy.”
Pauline Donkin, hospice fundraising development manager, said: “The Memory Tree is a poignant focal point at the hospice on Foxhall Road, Ipswich, and symbolises many special memories of families and friends who wish to have a memorial. People often return to the hospice to view their leaf on the tree and we sometimes see emotional but happy reunions with staff and volunteers who they came to know well during their time at the hospice.”
“To have raised more than £150,000 in the last four years is wonderful and we thank everyone who has made a donation and dedicated a leaf to a loved one. All the funds raised from the Memory Tree go towards helping us continue to provide vital care and support to patients and their families living with a progressive illness such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure.”
The hospice is grateful to Suffolk-based family-run business Engraving Village for providing the engraving services for the Memory Tree free of charge.