St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne has unveiled their memory tree today (25 July).
The idea is for loved ones to be remembered, through friends or family members sponsoring a leaf on the tree. The leaves are made of gold, silver or copper and will stay on the tree for a year, unless you decide to sponsor it for another year, otherwise, the leaf will be returned to the sponsor.
Hospice volunteer, Jenny Bruce has a leaf on the tree for her late husband Clive, who passed away at the hospice’s old site in Mill Gap Road. Speaking of her experience at the Hospice, she said, “I can’t speak highly enough of it. We were there as a family and they treated us as a family. We stayed overnight in the big lounge, children as well and we were just so welcome and so well looked after. It was the most wonderful experience and it made everything so much easier at the end of his life and he was so well looked after.”
Julie Crush has a leaf in memory of her husband, Mike and thinks the tree is lovely, “It’s beautiful. It’s a very good thing to have, I hope they got a lot more people donating for the leaves, it looks great.”
She also told Eastbourne Buzz about her family’s experience with St Wilfrid’s, “It was quite a surreal experience and quite a wonderful experience. We had no idea what the hospice did. Mike was given a terminal diagnosis and we arrived here one morning. It was very, very peaceful and Mike only lived for four days here. But we were able to have the family here and we were with him when he died. So, it was a beautiful experience, if there was a positive to come out of such a negative.
Another leaf is in memory of Dawn Weston, sponsored by her widower, Daniel Weston, who said, “They’ve treated us really well as a family. We had loads of support when we needed it in the middle of the night when Dawn was at home. I think the tree looks fabulous. Hopefully they’ll get it filled up soon.”
Situated by the café, the tree fills a wall, giving a focal point for those visiting St Wilfrid’s Hospice. David Scott-Ralphs CEO said, “The tree is absolutely stunning. It’s a beautiful piece of art, but it’s obviously a symbol of something very important for those loved ones who have been lost and those people who are contributing to remember those loved. We are absolutely delighted that it’s here, I think it’ll be a wonderful symbol of memory and love to everybody who comes to the hospice.”
The ribbon was cut this morning by Eastbourne MP, Stephen Lloyd who said, “It’s absolutely wonderful to be here this morning to cut the ribbon and open the St Wilfrid’s Memory Tree. I think it’s a fantastic concept. One; it actually looks beautiful, which I think fits with this wonderful building, two; it’s all about memories of people that we love, who have been through St Wilfrid’s and have passed away and who were looked after so beautifully and kindly by the hospice.
We should never forget that about 75% of the money that keeps St Wilfrid’s Hospice going, is given by the community. It’s a privilege to be here and the tree looks lovely. If you’ve got the time one day, pop to their café and have a bun and a cup of tea, have a look at the Memory Tree and just be a bit reflective on your thoughts. I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
To find out how to sponsor a leaf, contact Jenna Stringer on 01323 434200.