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Love will bloom at St Clare’s Forever Flowers remembrance event

Charity / Sun 23rd Jun 2024 at 08:02am

ST Clare Hospice is inviting people to celebrate the life of someone special this summer by dedicating a limited edition Forever Flower in their memory.

The bespoke, handcrafted forget-me-nots have been specially created for the Hospice charity and, for a suggested donation of £28 per flower, supporters can dedicate one to their loved one.

St Clare’s individual giving manager Reah Norris said: “This summer, make a promise to always remember by dedicating one of our beautiful Forever Flowers in memory of someone you love and miss.

“Symbolising true love and devotion, these custom-made ironwork forget-me-nots are a beautiful keepsake for you to treasure as a lasting tribute and special reminder of the happy times you shared.

“Display them in your home, your garden, by your loved ones grave or anywhere that is meaningful to you. Or you may chose to leave your forget-me-not in our dedicated Forever Flowers garden within the Hospice grounds.”

Once you have made your dedication, your forget-me-not will be available for you to collect in person when St Clare hosts its new Forever Flowers remembrance picnic at the Hospice on Sunday 30th June.

Reah said: “Our family-friendly event is a chance to gather with others who have been bereaved as St Clare invites you to join us with your family and friends to celebrate and share stories in the sunshine with others who understand what you are going through.”

On the day, there will be music, children’s arts and crafts, stalls, refreshments and more.

Every dedication made through Forever Flowers this summer will help ensure that St Clare’s dedicated, specialist team can continue caring for people who are approaching the end of their life, as well as provide comfort and support to their relatives and friends.

When Emma Spearing’s twin Charlie was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the sisters turned to St Clare for support.

Emma said: “Charlie was a force of nature. She was full of confidence and never afraid to live her life on her own terms. She shone so brightly and people were always naturally drawn to her.

“When Charlie got ill, it was devastating. She’d just had her little girl and was living with her family in an off-grid community in Spain and I remember desperately wanting to fly over and bring her back to the UK to see a doctor.”

Charlie returned to the UK for radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the family initially believed the treatment had worked. “She wanted to get on with her life with her children, but then she started experiencing a lot of pain,” Emma said. “It turned out that she wasn’t better after all. The cancer had in fact spread to her lymph nodes and we were informed that there was nothing more that could be done.”

Despite growing up down the road from the Hospice in Hastingwood, they were reluctant when Charlie’s consultant first mentioned St Clare. But, then one of St Clare’s Clinical Nurse Specialists came out to see them.

“She was so non-judgemental and from the very start we felt like we could tell her anything,” Emma recalled. “That built trust and when the pain eventually became too much to bear, Charlie felt safe to go into the Hospice to see if they could help.

“We weren’t expecting the Hospice building to be so beautiful. There was so much natural light and it didn’t feel like a hospital or medical setting. We put fairy lights all over her room and we came and went as often as we liked.

“Charlie had lots of hippy and punk friends but no-one ever once batted an eyelid to seeing someone walk in with a Mohican or pink hair. That was really important to us; that we felt it was a safe space to be. Everyone respected Charlie for who she was and nothing was a problem. The staff were so open-minded and the level of care was phenomenal. It’s such a special place.”

Charlie eventually died peacefully at her twin sister’s home, with the St Clare team at the end of the phone if Emma needed them.

“Looking back, I’m so grateful we were able to lean on the support of St Clare,” she said. “It’s a place where whoever you are, you are shown such great love and respect. Everybody really cared, which was such a gift.

“St Clare was there to support us through the toughest times, caring not just for Charlie but for me and our family and friends too. And what’s so special about their care is that they continue to be there for people after their loved one has died for as long as they are needed.

“Finding special ways of celebrating Charlie’s life helps keep her memory alive and brings me so much comfort, helping me keep putting one foot in front of the other. Charlie’s story didn’t stop when she died, she still lives through me and is in everything I do.”

You can dedicate a Forever Flower in celebration of the life of someone you love by visiting stclarehospice.org.uk/foreverflowers where you will also find full details about the Forever Flowers remembrance picnic on Sunday 30th June.

Anyone is invited to make a dedication and come along to the remembrance event, whether you or your loved ones have a connection to St Clare Hospice or not.

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