Walkers get creative ahead of annual charity walk

A charity recently teamed up with a local arts and crafts business to hold flag making workshops ahead of its annual walk.

Create98 in Leigh on Sea opened its studio to offer supporters of Havens Hospices a chance to make an eco-friendly keepsake for the Havens to Havens Walk on Sunday 1st September.

The walk which raises funds for the charity’s three hospice services, Fair Havens Hospice, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice, offers supporters the chance to walk either five or ten miles across the beautiful Hadleigh Downs and South East Essex coastline. Many of the walkers taking part are walking in memory of a loved one who was cared for by Havens Hospices, like brother and sister Adam Keating and Jenny Kerchell who are walking in memory of their Mum, Jill who was cared for at Fair Havens Hospice last year.

Jill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 and was admitted to Fair Havens Hospice on 15th August 2018 for symptom management.

Walkers get creative ahead of annual charity walk
Brother and sister, Adam and Jenny created matching flags in memory of their Mum Jill who was cared for by Fair Havens

Adam said:

“We’ll always support Havens Hospices because it will always hold a special place in our heart. Fair Havens didn’t just care for Mum, they cared for the whole family too at what was such a difficult time. Considering what they deal with, it is such a wonderful and joyful place. All the staff take their time to get to know you, and they are all so very compassionate and empathetic. The overall care they gave all of us was amazing and we’ll never be able to thank them enough.”

Jill stayed at the hospice for two and a half weeks, but during this time the care became focused on end-of-life. Sadly, Jill died aged 64 on 1st September 2018.

Jenny said:

“We wanted to do something to mark the first anniversary of Mum’s death and when we saw that the Havens to Havens Walk was on the exact date, we knew it was the right event to take part in. Mum was an avid walker and a lover of nature so she would have been thrilled that we chose to walk in her memory. There’s going to be a team of eight of us on the day, but me and Adam decided to come along to the workshop as well – it has been a lovely way to remember Mum together.”

Jan Chester is also taking on her first Havens to Havens Walk in memory of her grandson Finn who was cared for by Little Havens and stayed in the charity’s specialist bereavement bedroom the Woodland Suite after he died aged ten on 25th June 2018.

Walkers get creative ahead of annual charity walk
Lorraine Thomas and Jan Chester created flags for son/grandson Finn 3

She was joined at the workshop by Finn’s Mum Lorraine Thomas who said:

“He always loved going to Little Havens and we always had a wonderful time as a family. When he died, we were really grateful that we were able to use the Woodland Suite as it gave us the time to really say goodbye to him – it made something that was so awful, slightly less awful.”

Jan, who chose to decorate her flag with a butterfly added:

“Finn would think it was great that I was doing the walk, we always used to talk about going on a Nan and Finn adventure where we would try to walk as far as possible so it really does fit. I chose a butterfly, because they always remind me of Finn, whenever I see one, I say to myself ‘Hello Finn’.”

Christine Wyatt, owner of Create98 chose to support the Havens to Havens Walk because her Mum, Shirley, was cared for by the charity’s Hospice at Home service in 2017. As well as supporting the event, and helping the charity create environmentally friendly alternatives to the balloons they usually hand out, Christine is also going to be walking with a team from the Leigh-based studio.

Christine said:

“I really enjoyed working with everyone who joined us to make silk flags for the Havens to Havens Walk. It was lovely to see such beautiful creations, filled with personal meaning and associations, everything from elephants, to rainbows to boats and beyond were drawn and painted. I can’t wait to see them all on the walk.”

Whether you want to walk to remember a loved one, keep fit, spend time with friends and family or simply help Havens Hospices to continue ‘Making every day count’ for those we care for across Essex, there is still time to sign up for the Havens to Havens Walk. Adult tickets are £12, children aged 3-14 are £5 or you can purchase a family ticket for two adults and two children for £30, under-threes and dogs walk for free!

To register please visit: www.havenshospices.org.uk/havenstohavens. Pre-event registration closes on Wednesday 28th August but you can sign up on the day at Little Havens from 9am.