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Ashgate Hospice is inviting people to remember their loved ones by visiting a spectacular and poignant display featuring thousands of forget-me-not flowers at a North Derbyshire country house this month.
The hospice launched its new Forget-Me-Not Appeal, sponsored by Graysons Solicitors, in May as a special way for supporters to celebrate, mourn and remember loved ones.
Hundreds have donated to receive a flower in memory of someone special, each flower measures 45cm in length and is lovingly crafted by the British Ironwork Centre. Anyone who would like to dedicate a flower to their loved one can do so by making a suggested donation of £25.
The striking pink flowers will form a display within the picturesque grounds of Grade I-listed Renishaw Hall and Gardens, near Eckington.
Supporters can visit the display for free from Wednesday 15th June to Sunday 19th June and between Wednesday 22nd June and Sunday 26th June.
Amongst those remembering someone special is Karen Esposito who has dedicated a flower in memory of her dad, Tony Jackson, who was cared for by the hospice at the end of his life.
“Dad was a true force of nature. A man who stood for his community and his family, who didn’t understand the words ‘it’s not possible’.
“He met my mum, Elaine, at a party in the 60s, as teenagers. Dad thought she looked just like Audrey Hepburn, and mum said that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen.
“It was the beginning of a lifelong love; they celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in September 2021, shortly before he died.”
Tony was diagnosed with a rare form of MND in November of 2020; Karen tells of the “special” care her family received on Ashgate’s Inpatient Unit.
She added: “The physiotherapists took him for walks around the grounds, which he loved. We received regular home visits from the specialist nurse and the consultant, and through this we felt respected, looked after, and listened to.
“I especially remember the much-needed humour in the face of a terrifying disease. Ashgate made Dad feel as comfortable as he possibly could be.
“He passed away at Ashgate in December 2021. We weren’t there with him when he passed away – I had gone home for a rest, expecting to see him again the next day – so it was such a comfort to speak to the two wonderful nurses who were holding his hands for us.
“The staff are special at Ashgate. They are skilled, compassionate, and open. I honestly do not know how we would have managed without them; we all have an increased respect for the work they do and the need for the specialised approach that is needed for people who are at very vulnerable stages of life.”
Once the display ends, supporters of the campaign can then collect their flower from Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield between Friday 1st July and Sunday 3rd July. Donors can also choose to have their flower posted to them.
Head of Fundraising at Ashgate Hospice, Jack Wood, said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who has supported our Forget-Me-Not Appeal so far, the donations will mean we can be there to provide vital care for families like Karen’s across North Derbyshire.
“We can’t wait to see all of the stunning flowers form the display at Renishaw Hall and Gardens later this month – last year’s display at Chatsworth was so beautiful and poignant and this one promises to be just as special.
“It’s not too late to dedicate a flower in memory of your loved one, just head over to our website to find out more about supporting the campaign.”
The suggested donation for a forget-me-not flower is £25 and the money raised will be used to fund the hospice’s round-the-clock specialist end –of life care.
To dedicate a flower, visit www.ashgatehospice.org.uk/forget-me-not or call the fundraising team on 01246 567250.