On Sunday 1st September local charity Havens Hospices held its 12th annual Havens to Havens fundraising walk. Family and friends came together in memory of their loved ones to walk from the charity’s children’s hospice, Little Havens in Thundersley, going through Hadleigh Country Park and along the Leigh coastline to Fair Havens Hospice in Chalkwell where cream tea was served. Walkers then had the choice to either continue by foot back to Little Havens to complete a total of ten miles, or to take a coach back to the start.
The event was sponsored by Leigh on Sea business Create98 in memory of their owner Christine’s Mum who was cared for by the charity’s Hospice at Home service in 2017. The arts and craft’s business not only sponsored the event but also helped the charity create eco-friendly memory flags for walkers to keep and even joined the walkers on the day. Christine said,
“It was such a wonderful day and I am so pleased that we chose to be a part of it, we have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of being the sponsors of the Havens to Havens event from holding the workshops to walking on the day, it was just fantastic. Making flags with everyone was so special and to see all of those beautiful designs waving proudly along the walk will stay with me for a very long time – it really was a wonderful sight and I’m so glad that we were a part of that.”
Among those taking part was Clifford Churchill, 66 from Rayleigh who was taking part in his sixth walk in memory of his wife Helen who died in April 2011 at Fair Havens Hospice. “I like to support Fair Havens and everyone who needs it. They gave my wife support and helped me with two years of bereavement counselling to help me get back on track after Helen’s death.”
Southend Flyer Maggie Campbell-Freeman, 60, from Rochford swapped her running trainers for her walking shoes to walk the ten-mile route in memory Elio and Charlie, who were both cared for by Little Havens. She explained “Two family friends have been supported by the charity, both families are dear friends of mine and I just wanted to walk in memory of 5-week old Elio and 18 year old Charlie to say thank you to the charity for looking after them and their families.”
38-year old Sharmaigne Gallagher and her two daughters Clara and Storm journeyed to the walk from Peterborough to walk in memory of her friend’s child Oliver who died at Little Havens when he was two years old. She explained “We’ve been doing the walk as a family for the past ten years in memory of Oliver. I met Oliver’s Mum through a social media pregnancy group, Clara and Oliver were born three weeks’ apart, so we became good friends. We come every year to remember Oliver and support the charity that looked after our friends, this year to mark ten years since Oliver got his wings, we decided to walk the ten-mile route.”
This year was particularly poignant as the charity looks to the future and get ready to move into the new Fair Havens Hospice which they are building opposite Priory Park. Many of the walkers this year chose to raise money to help the charity take ‘the next step’ like 74-year-old Jean Sleap from Rayleigh, whose husband Brian was cared for and died at Fair Havens Hospice in January 2016. Jean said “I want to do whatever I can for the hospice especially for their new home; the care they gave to Brian as well as me and my family was so wonderful, I just want to help them be there for more families. Myself and my friend Derek have been supported by this wonderful charity, so we just want to help them take that final step.”
The Belcher family walked the ten-mile route as a family in memory of their father and grandfather Brian Belcher who was cared for at Fair Havens in June 2019, his son Kevin said “We were so impressed with the care that Dad received we wanted to raise money for the charity and the walk was something that we could do together to say thank you to every single person at the charity who looked after both him and us. If our fundraising can help them continue to care for families like us then that is fantastic, because I don’t know what we would’ve done without them.”
Cathryn Wood, Event Fundraiser, said, “The walk was a really special day which brought together so many families from the local community to remember their loved ones. I would like to thank Christine and her team at Create98 who have been so generous not only by sponsoring the event but also with their time and expertise. The silk flags they helped create brought such a special element to the day. They were a fantastic idea and an amazing keepsake for so many people who walked in memory of their loved ones, thank you from all of us to you and your team for all the time and effort you put into these. I would also like to thank our fantastic team of volunteers who helped us register participants, marshal the route and serve the cream teas we couldn’t hold these events without you.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who joined us for the walk. We don’t charge a penny for our care at the hospices and that’s only possible because of all the people who take part in our events, and of course everybody who sponsors them to do it. This year, with your help, we are hoping to raise over £20,000 for the hospices.”