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Mortimer family's memorial walk for Sue Ryder Hospice

Roy Hillyard received Sue Ryder end-of-life care during lockdown

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters


07964 444701

Mortimer family plan walking tribute to deceased relative

A Mortimer family will come together to stage a walk in memory of a much-loved father who died over the lockdown period.

Roy Hillyard received end-of-life care at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in April.

He died as a result of complications arising from a bowel cancer operation in 2018, and coronavirus restrictions prevented Mr Hillyard's daughters from visiting him in his final days.

On Saturday, his daughter Claire O'Grady will be joined by her mother, sister and their children for a 5km walk in the Mortimer area – part of Sue Ryder's Walk to Remember initiative – finishing at Mr Hillyard's grave in the village.

A JustGiving page established to mark the occasion has already raised around £2,500 for the Reading-based hospice.

Mrs O'Grady said: "Dad was an in-patient at the hospice for a week in the middle of the pandemic.

"They looked after my dad so well and supported my mum.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't go in and see him, but we are so grateful that mum was able to be there at the end.

"Having not been able to have a normal funeral and gathering, we are taking the opportunity to come together to celebrate our dad now.

"My dad was a big, loud, gregarious person and under ordinary circumstances so many people would have come to his funeral and given to charity in his memory.

"We didn't have a chance to do that then, but I hope people will help us remember him by supporting Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice now.

"It's our way of giving something back."

Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice head of fundraising Laura Kell said: "We'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to Roy's family for taking part in Walk to Remember to celebrate his life and support the hospice where he was cared for.

"We hope that this special event will provide a way for families and friends to remember loved ones, take in the beautiful autumn scenery and help us continue to be there for people when it matters."

To donate, visit the family's JustGiving page.

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