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Hopes hearts and crosses will create heartfelt connections

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Hopes hearts and crosses will create heartfelt connections

A fundraising idea driven by the hope that small tokens will lead to heartfelt connections bringing families coping with dying, caring and grief together has been launched.

St Nicholas Hospice Care’s events fundraiser Lizzie Cross is raising money to pay for wooden hearts and crosses, which she hopes will provide a physical representation of the thoughts, prayers and love families who are faced with losing a loved one but cannot be together share.

Lizzie said: “For many at the end of their lives the feeling of isolation must be overwhelming and to be able to hold a small token will give some comfort.”

Initially, Lizzie started the fundraising to cover the cost of 100 hearts for use at the Hospice, but in a matter of hours, people were so generous that enough donations to pay for the hearts were received.

Now Lizzie wants every family in the community with a loved one facing a life-shortening illness to have the same opportunity. She wants the wooden hearts along with wooden crosses to be available for anyone who needs them.

“It is a small token, but the idea is big. It is about a heartfelt connection. By providing this service we will be equipping people and providing pastoral and spiritual care on our ward but also within the community that we serve in West Suffolk and South Norfolk.

“The wooden hearts and crosses are durable, and can easily be cleaned, but this won’t wash away the sentiments or the comfort and peace that will be found,” added Lizzie.

Lizzie’s efforts are now being supported by Bury St Edmunds Wood Turning Group, who are busy making wooden hearts, which they are donating to the charity to help Lizzie’s efforts.

With members aged between 11 and 82, the group, who have supported the charity for a number of years by crafting awards for fundraising challenges and wig stands, hope to make 100 hearts, with around 65 already made.

Ron Davis, from the group, said: “It came as no surprise when I got an email from the hospice asking for our support. The Bury St Edmunds Wood Turning Club has responded to other requests from the hospice in the past.

“This one came at a time when we had some time on our hands due to the COVID-19 virus. I wrote to all members asking them to make as many of these as they can and as always I got a good response.”

Local groups are also showing their support by knitting hearts for the charity to use too. Groups in Mildenhall, Thetford, Thurston, Great Waldingfield and Alpheton, plus members of the hospice’s ward and community teams have all got their knitting needles out.

Knitted hearts made using hand spun Alpaca wool have also been donated.

The idea has also been supported by Malvin Crissell, who has made a selection of the tokens out of wood from English Ash Trees in Ickworth Park. Malvin is hopeful these tokens may provide added comfort and meaning for those families who have fond memories of the area. 

Bosmere Community Primary School in Needham Market, have also added their support. Staff at the school have made some hearts, with the children of key workers who are still attending the school, drawing colourful wishing hearts which are now on display in our reception.

You can read more about Lizzie’s story and support her efforts, by clicking here.

If you or someone you care for would like either a heart or cross, please get in touch by emailing: spiritualcare@stnh.org.uk

These little hearts have been so lovely, they brought a tear to our eye when we received them, I keep it on my dressing table and we hold them and think of each other. They have touched us both. Wood has such a tactile quality and holding them gives us comfort we are not alone, we are holding each other in a way that we can’t do physically, they have given us such comfort.

Words from someone using the hearts in the community to stay connected