Kind-hearted businesses have teamed up with staff and volunteers at St Giles Hospice to give a special extra Christmas present to a bereaved local family.
Liam and Naomi Wright and their dad Andrew, from Lichfield, have been presented with brand new bikes and accessories after a generous gesture set off a chain reaction of thoughtfulness.
Phil Turrell, owner of Hednesford’s Lower Road Service Centre, won a teenager’s bike in a contest and asked people on Facebook for a suitable charity to donate it to – where it was spotted by Kari Farish, who works in the St Giles Hospice lottery office.
Kari suggested giving it to one of the children at Phoenix, our bereavement service for children and young people and, following Phil’s kind donation, the Wright family’s name was pulled out of a hat.
Andrew’s wife Christine, who was Liam and Naomi’s mum, sadly died in 2018.
At the suggestion of Lesley Holmes, St Giles Lottery Development Manager, the lottery team then decided that both children should be able to enjoy the present, so they held a whip-round among staff and volunteers to raise funds for another bike.
Their efforts were so successful that they were able to buy the second child’s bike and – thanks to a contribution from Fleur and David Green of Lichfield and Burton-based bike shop Cycling 2000 – a third bike that would allow Andy to accompany his children on cycle rides.
Keen cyclist and St Giles Community Engagement and Supportive Care Manager Ian Leech, who has taken part in numerous fundraising cycle rides, is also donating helmets and bike lights to help keep the children safe on the road.
Dad Andrew said that Liam (12) and Naomi (10) were absolutely thrilled with the news and overwhelmed by everybody’s kindness, and added that the family was looking forward to getting out on the road together.
He said: “This wonderful gift came out of the blue and the kids have been absolutely over the moon since they heard about it – it’s such a great Christmas present for them! It’s so nice to know that there are so many good and kind people out there in our community.
“It hasn’t been an easy couple of years but we’re so grateful for all the support we’ve been given. It’s not always easy to talk in your own family and coming to Phoenix has allowed Liam and Naomi to speak to somebody else about their feelings.
“It has really helped with their grief and the kids are now able to talk about their mum a lot more than they used to.”
Dr Emma Hodges, Group Chief Executive at St Giles Hospice, said: “At St Giles we know that it takes a community to make a hospice and this gift is a wonderful example of the community coming together to help one of our Phoenix families.
“We are so grateful for all of the support and kindness that local people give us at St Giles and we are so proud of our thoughtful and compassionate staff and volunteers, who always go the extra mile to help our patients and their families.
“I’d like to thank everybody who has come together to make this lovely gift possible.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Andrew Wright (front) with children Naomi (left) and Liam with (back from left) St Giles staff Sarah Cooper, Jodie Phillips, Kari Farish, Ian Leech, the children’s nan Lynn Wright, and St Giles staff Lesley Holmes and Phil Hogan.