The streets, countryside and coast of Southend were awash with walkers at the weekend as hundreds of people trekked miles in memory of loved ones who have died in aid of a local hospice charity.
On Sunday 18th September, 200 participants of Havens to Havens started at Little Havens in Benfleet. Many were wearing Havens Hospices blue t-shirts and carrying flags adorned with the names of special people who had died, thanks to a workshop by Create98.
Before setting off, a minute of silence was observed to remember and honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as well as family and friends.
Walkers then followed the 5.5 mile route through Hadleigh, Leigh and Southend before arriving at Fair Havens in Prittlewell. There was the option to walk back to Little Havens after enjoying a cream tea, with refreshments provided by Tesco in Pitsea and Morrisons in Eastwood.
It’s hoped the event, sponsored by Grange Green and Start Smiling Dental Practice and S. Stibbards & Sons, will raise £10,000 for the free care given to local families by Havens Hospices.
Among those taking part was Kairen Hart, whose brother Graham Fensome was cared for by Fair Havens in January this year. “At that time hospitals were still not allowing visitors, but Fair Havens welcomed us in to say goodbye. It was a room where he could see the trees. It was clear Graham was relaxed and happy there, and everyone was so wonderful to both him and the family.”
The family of Bob Dowling has taken part every year since his death in 2016 at Fair Havens. Wendy Bansor from Leigh on Sea says, “Doing Havens to Havens together as a family means so much to us, supporting the charity and remembering Dad.”
Abbi Ranger was so inspired by the care her grandad Barry received from Fair Havens Hospice at Home, she joined the team as a Nursing Assistant a year after he died. Abbi took part alongside her family. “We were really excited to take part in Havens to Havens together, walking to remember Grandad and celebrate his life. It was wonderful to share this with other families too, who have also experienced the special care of Havens Hospices. We hope to raise as much money as we possibly can so I can help more families like ours in the future.”
Community Engagement Manager Jane Hopkins said, “Whilst Havens to Havens is a flagship fundraising event for our charity, it is so much more. Havens to Havens is an occasion that brings together family and friends to walk in memory of loved ones who have died.
“It felt fitting to continue this tradition when grief and bereavement are impacting many more people through the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Some people joined us on the walk specifically to remember Her Majesty, as they wanted to do something positive this weekend to honour her life.
“Alongside our walkers, it takes many people to make Havens to Havens a success, including our sponsors, volunteers and Create98. Thank you to everyone who came together, ‘Making every day count’ for local families relying on our free hospice care.”
Published 20th September 2022