Family’s support of Moonlight and Memories Walk will be a fitting tribute to long-standing volunteer Barry
Dedicated volunteer Barry Ashton was well known by supporters of the St Catherine’s Hospice Moonlight and Memories Walk, for his infectious smile and secret stash of sweets!
Now, his family are planning to walk under the stars at this July’s event as they remember the much-loved father, grandad and friend.
Barry lent a helping hand at numerous fundraising events, including the charity’s annual Christmas Festival, after his wife was cared for by the hospice in 1999.
But it was the poignant Moonlight and Memories Walk which was most special to him, and he was always keen to get the whole family involved in walking and volunteering in support of St Catherine’s.
This year will be all the more meaningful for his daughters Louise Betteridge and Janice Walmsley, as they vow to do Barry proud and pay tribute to their beloved dad, after he died at the hospice he was so fond of in October last year.
Mum-of-two Louise, from Penwortham, said: “Dad has been helping at the Moonlight and Memories Walk for as long as we can all remember, and it was one of his favourite annual events at the hospice.
“It was a day he got us all involved in, either walking or helping as a family. Dad’s main job was taking phone calls on the day to advise people of the plans, checking if anyone needed assistance whilst the event was underway, and helping to check that everyone was back safe at the end.
“He loved the buzz of it all and was well known for his laughter and his supply of sweets. He was also known to sample the tea and the famous bacon rolls!
“As a family we have helped with the registration and other jobs. The youngest member, my 12-year-old niece Libby, is very proud to help hand out the medals when the walkers return to the hospice.
“A few of us have walked the route as well, and Libby is walking this year with a group of friends and family. Her sister Tilly and my son William, who are both 16, want to help out like their grandad, as they have many happy memories of doing that with him. My husband Anthony and Janice’s husband Michael also get involved setting things up, so it really is a family affair.”
Louise added: “The event itself is very special to us as a family as it is a chance to give back in time and donations to the hospice, and say ‘thank you’ for the wonderful work that is done there. It brings people together and is a celebration of loved ones.”
Speaking of their experience of the care offered by St Catherine’s, Barry’s daughter Janice said: “As a family we have had both mum and dad cared for at the hospice, and on both occasions the staff supported us as a family and our parents as they came to the end of their time.
“The medical support and the emotional support for us all was amazing. Both mum and dad were relaxed and happy to be in the hospice when they got to the time it was needed. It feels more like an extension of your home than a hospital or hospice.
“We will continue to support the hospice at all the events, as that is what dad wanted, and we are really grateful that he got his wish of ending his days in a place that helped him when mum died. It was also a place where he made many wonderful friends and had lots of happy times laughing and making wonderful memories.
“We have brought up our children to understand that a hospice is not a scary place; it is a caring and happy place, and they have seen that with their grandad who they all really miss. We will always be thankful for being able to spend precious time with him in his last couple of weeks at St Catherine’s.”
Norman Cutler, fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said: “Barry was certainly one of the stars of our annual Moonlight and Memories Walk, and he will be sadly missed at this year’s event.
“His family have been a great support to St Catherine’s over the years, with Barry at the helm, and their presence at this summer’s event – through both taking part and volunteering – will be a fitting tribute to him. Barry would be so proud to know that his legacy lives on.
“Each year we welcome hundreds of people into our grounds for this poignant occasion, which is both fun and uplifting, and also an opportunity to reflect and share memories with fellow walkers, family and friends.
“The whole community is invited along to share with us this very special night to remember.”
The St Catherine’s Moonlight and Memories Walk takes place on Saturday 1st July. The 10-mile circular walk sets off from the hospice grounds in Lostock Hall at 10pm, with a four-mile family-friendly route also on offer.
Registration is £15 for adults and £10 for under-18s, for either route, and people are encouraged to raise as much in sponsorship as possible.
- Sign up by clicking here, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 01772 324540.
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