A woman whose sister was cared for at St Giles Hospice in her final days, is calling on people to take part in Celebrate Lives Lived this spring. 

Sarah Leech has joined the hospice’s annual Celebrate Lives Lived celebration, which remembers loved ones, each May – she’ll be dedicating a Gerbera in memory of her sister, Lynn, who died in 2020. 

Every year St Giles invites people to dedicate an orange Gerbera peg in one of its gardens in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield between 1st-31st May, as well as a virtual garden on the hospice’s website, in return for a donation. 

2023 marks a very special year for St Giles Hospice – celebrating 40 years of caring for local people, and their loved ones. The hospice has teamed up with South Staffordshire College to create a limited edition 40th anniversary ceramic Gerbera, alongside their traditional Gerbera pegs. 

Both Gerberas are a wonderful, lasting tribute to loved ones and are personalised with the name of your loved one. They are placed in a Celebrate Lives Lived garden throughout May, creating a display of celebration and remembrance amongst hundreds of other Gerberas. 

Funds raised from Celebrate Lives Lived dedications help to fund the hospice’s work caring for patients, and their loved ones, living with a terminal illness. 

Sarah said: “Memorial events like Celebrate Lives Lived are so important. They help to keep the memories of your loved ones alive, and my family and I will be taking part this year in memory of my sister, Lynn. 

“Celebrate Lives Lived creates such a special moment and a wonderful place to come and visit – seeing the rows of names and dedications is incredibly poignant and it shows how much they’re loved and missed.” 

Sarah, who lives with husband, Gary, and son, Sam, said that her sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had always wanted to spend her final days at St Giles Hospice, if possible.  

“The world would be a much sadder place if St Giles wasn’t there. It’s a light shining in the darkness for families who are going through end of life care with members of their family. 

“The support that St Giles provides is second to none. The kindness everybody shows to the patients, and their relatives, is absolutely superb. 

“During Lynn’s final stay in winter 2020, some of the wonderful nurses wheeled Lynn in her bed outside when it was snowing, so she could feel the snowflakes on her face. They also let her throw a couple of snowballs at them! 

“I felt comforted knowing Lynn was in a place where she was being given the care and the attention that she needed with so much dignity”. 

It costs St Giles Hospice around £10 million each year to deliver the care it provides at its Inpatient Unit, out in the community and in patients’ own homes – and every Celebrate Lives Lived dedication helps to support families like Sarah’s. 

Sally Redmond, In Memory and Legacy Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to invite people like Sarah to dedicate a Gerbera in one of our Celebrate Lives Lived gardens each year. 

“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with South Staffordshire College and Trophy Store to mark our 40th anniversary and provide people with the opportunity to dedicate a limited edition 40th anniversary ceramic Gerbera – a wonderful, lasting tribute to loved ones. 

“To signify the start of Celebrate Lives Lived, a short remembrance service will take place in the gardens at Whittington at 11am on Sunday 30th April. Throughout May, you’re invited to visit the gardens to see your Gerbera and take a moment to reflect on the lives of loved ones you hold dearest. Your dedication will also be included in our beautiful virtual garden, where your Gerbera will feature all year round. 

“In June, we’ll let you know when you can collect your Gerbera to display in your home or garden.” 

Anyone wanting to take part in Celebrate Lives Lived can make a dedication online before 12pm on Monday 24th April at www.stgileshospice.com/celebrateliveslived or call 01543 432538.