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 fifth year, the annual event sponsored by East of England Co-op Funeral Services will once again take place on 21st June, 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.
One person who has supported Suffolk Remembers for the past three years, and will be attending this year’s event, is Colin Archer from Kesgrave, Suffolk.
“At Suffolk Remembers I will once again be dedicating a candle to my wife Lesley who sadly died from breast cancer in 2017,” he explained.
“Being able to be close to Lesley in her final days, knowing that she had such good care, was very comforting for us both, made possible by the wonderful staff at St Elizabeth Hospice. Every year since we have supported Suffolk Remembers.
“It has become such an important day to the family now. Listening to the service and the choir with other people who have also lost loved ones, listening to their stories creates such a powerful feeling of shared loss, that we are all not alone in our grief.”
Every year 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.
After living with breast cancer for nearly ten years, Lesley came under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice in early 2017 following recommendation of its services by Ipswich Hospital.
Colin explained: “Like many people, Lesley and I believed hospices to be places where people go to spend the last few days of their lives and that they are gloomy places to be.
“However, before deciding to take advantage of their care, we visited St Elizabeth Hospice to see what they could offer and were pleasantly surprised to find it to be a warm environment, full of care and people who understood what mattered most in life.
“As a result we had no second thoughts about utilising their support. From their 24/7 phone support service OneCall through to receiving care at the hospice’s inpatient unit and providing support at our home, the quality of the care we received cannot be faulted.”
Throughout her time under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice, Lesley received support both in the hospice and at her family home as and when she wished and it was suitable to do so, before she passed away in September at the hospice.
“While at home OneCall was a brilliant service to use, as we always knew somebody was there if we needed them and there was no hesitation in sending a nurse out to help us if required,” said Colin.
“Lesley also loved the hospice’s friendly atmosphere and especially enjoyed when she could have her bed pushed into the hospice garden to see the sun and lovely surroundings. St Elizabeth Hospice staff just give you peace of mind and ensure both patients’ and their families feel safe.”
Following Lesley’s death, Colin has gone on to support the hospice in a number of ways, including Suffolk Remembers and volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice Retail Centre in Martlesham, as he is passionate about enabling more people to access its vital care.
He added: “If anyone out there thinks they or a loved one could benefit from the care of St Elizabeth Hospice in any way, I would tell them to not hesitate and get in contact.
“The staff are brilliant and the aftercare they give to relatives like myself is very personable, nothing is too much trouble. All the staff understand how best they can help you when you are going through some of the toughest times in life and their care and support makes the world of difference.”
Further information about Suffolk Remembers can be found at suffolkremembers.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.