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Local hospice honours 40 years of caring with heartfelt service

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Local hospice honours 40 years of caring with heartfelt service

Remembrance and gratitude were at the heart of a special service which celebrated four decades of support for the community.

Hundreds joined for our Thankful – a service of remembrance and celebration at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Sunday (May 12), which was part of our 40 years of caring celebrations.

The service included live music and song from the West Suffolk Symphonic Wind Band and the cathedral choir, prose and pauses for remembrance.  People connected to the charity shared their experiences, this included families of those cared for by the Hospice as well as loved ones of volunteers, and words from those who supported St Nic’s in its early days.

Lady Clare Euston lit the first candle, with subsequent candles lit by staff, volunteers, former Chair of Trustees, and a former chief executive officer.  ‘St Nic’s Sings’ also gave special performances, and knitted blue holding hearts, intended to be a symbol of loving care, were given to those gathered.

Linda McEnhill, our chief executive officer, said: “Our Thankful service was a truly wonderful occasion and we were overwhelmed that so many people could join us. To see the families of those we have supported, alongside supporters, fundraisers, volunteers, members of staff, and those who were there at the very beginning, created a very meaningful atmosphere.

“The service was filled with poignant moments which gave people the chance to remember and reflect. It was also a fitting celebration of our 40 years of caring for the community, it reminded us of our past, allowed us to be grateful for our present and be excited for our future.

“For St Nic’s, Thankful was our opportunity to say thank you to all of those who have supported us over the past four decades and how, by remaining committed to the vision of our founder Canon Richard Norburn, and Joyce Norburn in striving for something better, the hospice has made a lasting impression on thousands of people and families facing dying, death and grief.

“I’d like to thank all of those at St Edmundsbury Cathedral for hosting and contributing to the service, and, of course, we are grateful to all of those who supported the event, including our wonderful musicians from the West Suffolk Symphonic Wind Band and Jazz Division.”

Kate Denton’s bespoke sculpture entitled ‘Because You Matter’, was displayed as part of the charity’s anniversary celebrations. The sculpture, which was specially created and has been gifted to the hospice by Kate and her husband Anthony Faulkner, will be auctioned off at a gala event later this year to raise funds for the charity.  The sculpture will remain in the cathedral until the end of the month.

Works of art painted by a member of the hospice’s team were also on display. The series of eight paintings – Darkness to Light – depicts a young woman’s journey from despair led by St. Nicholas, with the inspiration for this artwork coming from the Hospice’s patients, staff, supporters and volunteers.

One of the cathedral’s chapels also featured canvases decorated with butterflies placed in memory of loved ones who have died.  Attendees were welcome to add seeded-paper butterflies to these canvases, which were originally on display in the Hospice’s shops, and at the Hospice, to enable the community to remember loved ones.  The butterflies will be planted in the hospice’s garden.

Following the service, which was also live-streamed into St Mary’s Church in Haverhill, Thetford’s URC Church and in the Hospice, there were refreshments served in the cathedral gardens and thanks to the Jazz Division, a 10-piece swing band, music filled the air.

Our thanks

There are many, many people we need to thank for their support during the planning and lead up to Thankful, and of course, all those who supported on the day, handing out programmes, hearts and our Family Support volunteers for being there for those who needed it.

·       We are grateful to our hosts St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in particular: Joe Hawes, Cathedral Dean, Canon Philip Banks, James Stark, Head Verger, Naomi Sturges, Reverend Penny Brinkley, Bishop Mike Harrison, and Nikki and all her staff at Pilgrims Café.

·       Lady Clare Euston, our royal patron

·       Kate Denton and Anthony Faulkner

·       The West Suffolk Symphonic Wind Band

·       Jazz Division

·       All of those who shared their Hospice experience during the service, as well as those who lit candles and spoke

·       The Children from Tollgate Primary School, Bury St Edmunds, who under the direction of David Morris, Art Co-ordinator created our butterfly banners. Thanks also to Kim Judge, Learning Hub Manager at St Edmundsbury Cathedral for the idea

·       Our volunteers on the day

·       Our Catering Team for the wonderful cupcakes

·       Those who enabled the live-streams in Thetford and Haverhill

·       St Nic’s Sings

·       Michael Pollington for his artwork

·       We also send our thanks and appreciation to the following people for making the beautiful knitted hearts: Janet Etheridge; Young at Heart club; Haverhill Methodist church members & friends; Volunteers from St Nicholas Hospice shop, Haverhill. And to all the lovely people who volunteered to sew the ribbon on to each heart.

·       Thanks also to all at Claas UK Ltd, Saxham, Bury St Edmunds for their most generous and continued support.

·       Thank you to Spencer Robinson, Premier Printers, Bury St Edmunds for the production of this booklet.

·       Special thanks to Eddie and Penny Gunsman for handcrafting the wooden candle holders.