A sister who experienced the ‘wonderful care’ of St Catherine’s Hospice has told how dedicating a Yellow Ribbon in her sister’s memory offers her a meaningful way to support the charity from more than 300 miles away.
Gillian Critchley moved to Aberdeenshire in Scotland almost 50 years ago, from her childhood home in Chorley. After her beloved sister Maureen Murray – who had worked as a typist at Leyland Paints and as a clerical assistant at Chorley Council -was cared for at the hospice in November 2014, she has shown her support for the charity by making Yellow Ribbon dedications each year.
Names of those being remembered in this way are written on ribbons which decorate St Catherine’s grounds in Lostock Hall throughout the summer, as well as being entered in a special book of remembrance which is kept in the hospice’s chapel all year round for people to view when they wish.
Gillian explains why it’s so important for her to stay connected with the charity which made such a difference in her sister’s final days.
She said: “Maureen was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in February 2014, when she was 73. She woke up with a pain and they thought it was breast cancer initially, but it was located just outside of her lung.
“She chose to stay in her own home in Chorley with me, until this was no longer manageable. To go to St Catherine’s was my sister’s heartfelt wish during the months when we knew she had little time left.
“Maureen was in the hospice for her final three days and the relief to both of us that she would have the best and kindest care possible was enormous.
“I will never forget the dignified, warm-hearted, personal and professional care that she received. I am also grateful for the wonderful care that was given to me during the few days that I was in the hospice with her. All of the staff and volunteers deserve the highest praise and have my huge gratitude.
“The dedicated and first class care that is provided consistently by St Catherine’s, in a safe and relaxing environment, is what made Maureen’s last few days feel so very contented and secure.”
Gillian added: “Making a Yellow Ribbon dedication online, in memory of Maureen as well as my late sister-in-law, offers me an easy way to support St Catherine’s Hospice, regardless of where I live.
“Sadly, not every area has this kind of heartfelt care – I hope it will always be well supported and cherished.”
Anyone is welcome to make a Yellow Ribbon dedication in memory of their loved ones. Funds raised through the tributes help St Catherine’s continue to provide specialist palliative and end-of-life care to people across Chorley, Preston and South Ribble – at the hospice and in people’s own homes.
Lorraine Charlesworth, director of community and income at St Catherine’s, said: “The yellow ribbons are very special to our communities, and provide a colourful and poignant backdrop during our summer events – such as the Yellow Day Garden Fete, held at the hospice on June 24 – as they fill our beautiful grounds of St Catherine’s Park.
“People are welcome to visit the hospice grounds any time they wish, to remember, reflect, and celebrate special lives. But it’s also lovely to hear how the yellow ribbons provide a way for people like Gillian to maintain a relationship with St Catherine’s, and show their wonderful support for the charity from anywhere in the world.”