St Barnabas Hospice has opened its ‘Forever in our Hearts’ display at the Dean’s Green at Lincoln Cathedral, with help from Hollywood star and charity patron Warwick Davis.
It comes as St Barnabas supporter Emma Gowland has spoken out about the fantastic care her dad received from the hospice, how her “world fell apart”, and why she is dedicating a heart in his memory.
The installation, which features more than 1,200 hand-made ironwork hearts, is the latest display from the hospice, aiming to raise more than £100,000 to fund critical palliative and end of life care for those with terminal or life-limiting conditions.
The hearts will remain in place until April 18, open during the normal daytime hours of Lincoln Cathedral. The suggested donation for a heart is £35.54, the equivalent to one hour of specialist inpatient care at the hospice.
The hearts measure 18cm x 95cm and are handmade locally by Stefanos at The Old Smith. Hearts purchased now will be available for collection at the beginning of June – dedicate a heart in memory of a loved one here.
St Barnabas supporter Emma Gowland said: “My dad, Geoffrey, had such a cheeky personality, always joking and making us smile. He was diagnosed with cancer on March 16, 2016, and from then we only had a couple of weeks before he died and our world fell apart.
“I felt so lost at the time. I was 28, but it was as though I had reverted back to being a child, just trying to tell myself that it was all a bad dream.
“Our saving grace during this horrible period was St Barnabas Hospice. The dignity and care they showed my dad was like nothing I had ever imagined. From the moment our family walked in, we felt they were caring not only for dad, but for us too.
“My brother and I struggled to process our feelings alongside making sure mum was okay, but the nurses took over and gave us stability when everything was falling apart. I don’t think people realise just how special the team at St Barnabas are.
“Everyone at St Barnabas has so much love to give to families and patients, which is what makes this heart display feel so special to me.
“My ironwork heart will stand proudly in the garden so that a part of dad is here with me always.”
Emma added: “Some people might think that the care stops when someone passes away, but it doesn’t. I’ve been a massive advocate for St Barnabas ever since my dad passed, so when they asked me to take part in this campaign, there wasn’t even a second thought, I just said yes.
“In a weird way, seeing it all brings happy emotions. It really shows you how many people St Barnabas has helped. I think I’ll be coming here every weekend.”
The hospice has opened similar installations elsewhere in Lincolnshire in previous years, such as the Forget-Me-Not display at Lincoln Castle in 2019 and the Dragonfly Appeal at Doddington Hall in 2020.
Opening the display to the public, Warwick Davis said: “It’s a pleasure to unveil the Forever in our Hearts garden here at the Dean’s Green. People can donate and get a heart to remember a loved one who may have passed. All the money goes towards the hospice and keeping it running.
“I hope to continue to support St Barnabas in the work that they do. Fundraising and donations fund around 50% of St Barnabas’ running costs, so it’s very important that the fundraising continues.
“This hospice covers the whole of Lincolnshire. The charity is very close to home and may be something that we need and rely on in the future. What you donate today could even help you in the future.”