Little Havens Hospice, the only place in Essex wholly dedicated to caring for babies, children and teenagers with life-limiting illnesses, launched its annual Santa Run at the end of August with a little help from one of their Santas as he abseiled down the ArcelorMittal Orbital in Stratford, London.
Ken Griffiths from Hockley is once again taking part, having donned his Santa hat at last year’s event. As well as taking part in the charity’s festive fun run, Ken has also taken on a variety of challenges including a skydive in 2017 with his son Gary, a wing walk and this summer he took on the abseil at the iconic London Landmark dressed as Santa to raise money for the charity and to help launch the event.
76-year old Ken raises money for Havens Hospices, which included Little Havens, Fair Havens and The J’s Hospice in memory of his wife, Barbara, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in August 2016, aged 71. The family turned to the charity’s Hospice at Home service for help and two months later, on 4th October 2016, Barbara died at home surrounded by her family.
Following Barbara’s death, Ken decided he wanted to support Havens Hospices in every way he could, including volunteering once a week in the Maintenance Team at the charity’s children’s hospice Little Havens.
He says, “I really enjoy volunteering, I feel like I’m giving back to the charity that was there for Barbara. Doing something for others is rewarding for me, not only am I helping, but I get to have a bit of a laugh with the people I’m working with, enjoying their company and meeting new people. When you’re at home of course you can do bits and bobs around the house or in the garden, but with volunteering you get to have a laugh and socialise at the same time.”
Ken explains “The care you get at hospital is good, but to me when you’re in a hospital you are just a patient, with Hospice at Home they cared for Barbara as if she were their friend. We got to know them all and they’d always come in and be sociable – they never came in all doom and gloom – we’d have a laugh together; they’d chat with us over a cup of tea and a cake while they cared for Barbara. They couldn’t do enough for her and I shall always be indebted for their care.
“I really hope a lot of people will join me at the Santa Run because honestly it really is a great event that is suitable for all ages and is a great way to kick of the festive season! Last year I got a team of friends and family together for it and this year I’ll be doing the same – we had a lot of fun last year and I’m sure we will again – what could be better than raising money for a good cause while having a jolly good time with friends and family.”
Cathryn Wood, Events Fundraiser for Havens Hospices, adds, “Each week Little Havens Hospice must raise £46,000 to provide respite, manage pain and give end of life care to children with life-limiting conditions at our hospice and in the local community. This is only possible thanks to our supporters, like Ken and his family, who join us at our events. Every Santa will be truly ‘Making every day count’ for every adult, young adult and child that uses Havens Hospices.”
Little Havens’ Run Santa Run takes place in Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon on 1st December. Supporters can choose between a 4.5k or 2k festive fun run and enjoy plenty of additional attractions including Santa’s grotto and a toy sale, plus festive food stalls, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Medals will be awarded to all finishers and the entry price includes a Santa outfit for adults and Christmassy headgear for children
For more information on how you can join hundreds of Santas and help raise money for the charity which cares for children from across Essex with life-limiting illnesses, please click here or email Cathryn or call 01720 220337.