COVID 19: As virus death toll tops 60,000, a chance to remember with hospice service

Neeta Vadgama from St Christopher’s Child Bereavement Service lighting a candle of remembrance at the hospice. Pic: St. Christopher’s Hospice

The pandemic has cast a shadow upon so many communities throughout 2020; in honour of those who have lost their loved ones, St. Christopher’s Hospice in Lewisham will host an online grief event this Sunday.

The event will feature an appearance of the Patron of St. Christopher’s Hospice, HRH Princess Alexandra, as well as a series of performances by the cast of Blood Brothers from the West End, and the renowned British chamber orchestra London Mozart Players.

The virtual event ‘Remembering with St. Christopher’s’ will take place at 4pm on December 6 and can be accessed through the hospice’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

People will also be able to light a candle in memory of those they have lost during the service, and a special wall of remembrance will be on display, featuring dedications sent in by members of the public to loved ones they have lost.

In the four ELL boroughs: Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Croydon, 1,279 people lost their lives to coronavirus according to the latest statistics from the government, but this figure is constantly changing.

While the event is advertised to members of the community that use or known someone who used St. Christopher’s care, it is open to anyone who has been bereaved or who has been struggling with grief this year. It marks National Grief Awareness Week which runs from 2-8 December.

Andrew Goodhead, the Spiritual Care Lead at St Christopher’s Hospice who will be hosting the event said in a statement released by the hospice: “Whether you lost someone unexpectedly to the Covid-19 virus, or you weren’t able to attend the funeral of someone you loved, or you have lived with grief for some time, the event is an opportunity to mark the loss, as part of the community.”

St. Christopher’s Hospice offers end of life care to residents across the boroughs of Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Lewisham, normally in person. They also have two permanent buildings in Sydenham and Orpington where people can stay. They care for more than 1,100 people in these boroughs, says Suzy Fisk, Communications and Marketing Lead at St. Christopher’s Hospice told Eastlondonlines.

Fisk said the hospice has found it difficult to deliver the same quality of palliative care this year. She told ELL: “Keeping everyone safe whilst still taking care of some of the most vulnerable people in our community is a huge challenge in the current climate, and has meant finding entirely new ways of working for the staff and volunteers at St Christopher’s Hospice.”  

Amanda Mayo, Care Director at St Christopher’s, said in a press release: “To keep people safe, we have been… giving people advice and care over the telephone or over Skype, giving reassurance in uncertain times to people in their own homes and care homes.” 

“Our healthcare staff are of course still looking after patients in person where it’s essential, using additional personal protective equipment… and adapting what we do every day to keep pace with Government and Public Health England guidelines around the Covid-19 virus. We have temporarily suspended our many social groups and activities, and have limited the number of visitors to patients on our wards to keep staff and other patients safe.”

Read our coverage on the NHS heroes who lost their lives in our four boroughs here.

Leave a Reply