Supporters have got behind Nottinghamshire Hospice’s Forget us Not appeal, raising more than £50,000 in just six weeks.
Since the hospice in Mapperley launched its appeal in early April, people have devised innovative and creative ways of raising funds and donations have flooded in to help address a £150,000 shortfall caused by shop closures and cancelled events.
Supporters aged from two to 81 threw themselves into the 2.6 challenge, timed to coincide with the postponed London Marathon on 26 April. Fundraisers included an all-day danceathon, a 26-jigsaw marathon a board game extravaganza, and a 26-km walk in a supporters back garden, plus numerous other running and walking activities.
The amount raised also includes individual donations and proceeds from sales of commemorative hand-painted forget-me-not flowers.
Sheila Hollingsworth, 70, of Arnold, Nottingham, ordered seven flowers in memory of her late husband Brian, who was cared for by the hospice in his final days. She has kept one flower for her garden and sent the others to neighbours and close friends to remember Brian by.
Brian, who developed brain tumours after twice having treatment for bowel cancer, came to Day Therapy at the hospice and later received Hospice at Home care which enabled him to be discharged from hospital and spend his last days at home.
Sheila, a former nurse, said: “Brian loved going to the hospice on Thursdays. He really looked forward to it. Later, when he got really poorly we had Hospice at Home nurses. He felt comfortable with them as he knew them all. He used to worry if I left him but when the girls from the hospice came he was happy. It gave me a break for a few hours.
“We always wanted him home and the hospice support made this possible. It was a lifeline. There are no words to describe how much it helped. Thank you is not enough.”
After Brian died in January, aged 74, Sheila and her grandchildren created a memorial for him in her garden including a holly tree (Brian’s nick-name was Holly) surrounded by gladioli, his favourite flowers. Now she has placed the Forget-Me-Not among the flowers to complete the piece.
“I love my forget-me-not. It looks absolutely stunning with the holly tree and gladioli in a beautiful blue pot. It’s a fitting memorial and makes me think of Brian.”
Sheila has two sons and five grandchildren who are all missing Brian. Although the funeral took place in February before lockdown, she misses being able to see them and grieve with her family around her, but they are able to walk past her house and see the memorial in her garden.
Gemma Taylor-Mahon, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “We’re so grateful for the fabulous donations we’ve received and for all those wonderful supporters who have thrown themselves into fundraising for us. They have all risen to the challenge and it’s heart-warming to know they’ve not forgotten us. To raise a third of the money in just six weeks is a major milestone.
“Of course our work is far from over with a gap in funding of £100,000 still to tackle, so please keep spreading the word and doing what you can to help us keep closing this considerable deficit.
“We have more exciting events coming up over the next couple of months including our virtual open gardens and there are lots of other ways to support us, including buying one of our beautiful Forget-Me-Not flowers for your home or garden to remember a special someone.”
Nottinghamshire Hospice anticipates a loss in funding of £150,000 over a three month period, but cumulative losses could reach £450,000 depending on the longer term effects of lockdown. To support the Forget Us Not appeal, go to www.notts-hospice.org/forgetusnot