Families are being offered an opportunity to remember their loved ones and celebrate the lives they lived with an orange Gerbera at a special St Giles Hospice memorial garden this spring.

Relatives and friends are being invited to dedicate a unique colourful Gerbera peg, which is personalised with the name of their loved one, in return for a donation which will help to fund the work of St Giles so they can continue to provide the care and support their patients and families need.

The pegs will then be placed in one of the special Celebrate Lives Lived gardens created at each of the hospice sites in Whittington, Walsall, Sutton Coldfield and Uttoxeter to create a stunning and colourful display of gerberas all in memory of loved ones. The gardens will then be open to visitors throughout May.

Anthony Shepherd with Lola; Anthony with his mum Carol; and the Celebrate Lives Lived Gerberas.

St Giles Hospice Director of Fundraising Elinor Eustace said: “Each Gerbera is a colourful peg personalised with the name of your loved one. The orange Gerbera represents ‘sunshine of life’, which makes it a really fitting tribute to their memory.

“Your Gerbera is placed in a Celebrate Lives Lived garden of your choice throughout May, creating a wonderful display of celebration and remembrance amongst hundreds of other Gerberas. You can come along to visit the garden and at the end of the month you can take the Gerbera home as a special keepsake.”

Anthony Shepherd, a builder from Cannock whose mum Carol was cared for by St Giles in 2018 after she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, is calling on people to support Celebrate Lives Lived this year.

He said: “Celebrate Lives Lived means a lot to families like mine, as it’s a lovely way to pay tribute to those who may be gone but are never forgotten, no matter whether they have been cared for by St Giles or not. St Giles will forever hold a special place in my heart now, and my family will always find the time to support events like Celebrate Lives Lived.”

Anthony added that although the thought of hospice care could be quite scary, Carol and her family knew as soon as they visited that she would be cared for in the best possible place.

Everyone did everything they could to make Carol and her family comfortable, he said, and even encouraged him to bring his dog Lola along to visit so he didn’t have to worry about finding someone to look after her or leaving her at home alone.

“It was lovely because Lola was allowed up on mum’s bed and they would lie there together, which mum loved,” said Anthony. “It was like bringing our home into the hospice, which we really appreciated.

“The service and dedication of the staff was amazing. When mum was quite poorly she asked whether she could go home for one last night to sleep in her own bed. The whole team at St Giles came together to help.

“We took her home and the family all had a lovely evening together. That’s the real difference with St Giles – if they can do it, they will do their utmost to make your wishes happen.”

To dedicate your Celebrate Lives Lived gerbera, visit www.stgileshospice.com/celebrateliveslived or call 01543 432538.

The closing date for Celebrate Lives Lived dedications is midday on Friday 17th April.