Golden gift to hospice

A couple has made touching tribute to lost loved ones and donated almost £1,500 from their golden wedding anniversary gifts to St. Joseph’s Hospice (Jospice).

Tommy and Nona Rayner, from Lydiate, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last month and held a party at the Holy Rosary Social Club in Aintree with 120 of their nearest and dearest.

Sadly, seven of their closest friends and family weren’t able to share in their celebrations and so Tommy and Nona decided to hold the event in their memory, asking for donations to St. Joseph’s Hospice instead of gifts.

Tommy and Nona’s generous friends and family donated an incredible £1,432, including gift aid, in memory of Tommy’s cousin, Norma Whitehead, who passed away at the hospice in September. Also, Nona’s brother, John Owens, who died in 2015; lifelong friends, Ray and Val Dougherty, who passed away from cancer last year; sisters Sue and Cathy Reilly who sadly passed away last summer; and their very dear friend, Peter Clark, who died several years ago following an accident abroad.

Tommy Rayner (72) said: “We started thinking about our golden wedding in March but we have lost so many very dear friends and family over the last year that we just couldn’t comprehend celebrating the occasion without involving them all in some way.”

Nona continued: “When you’ve been together fifty years, there’s nothing we really need and so it just felt so right to ask for donations instead of gifts. Everyone was very generous as they also wanted to remember these very dear people with us and so we planned a party to celebrate their lives alongside our golden wedding anniversary.

“St. Joseph’s Hospice is a wonderful place and provides such loving care to so many local people going through what we’ve all been through and so there was never any doubt where the money would go and we’re just so pleased to be able to help.”

Mike Parr, Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s Hospice, said: “Tommy and Nona, and all their friends and family, have made an incredibly kind and generous donation to the hospice and we are very grateful to them for their support.

“This money will make a significant difference to the lives of local people who need specialist palliative nursing care, as well as their families who spend days, months and, sometimes, even years at the hospice with their loved ones. I’d like to thank Tommy and Nona on behalf of everyone here at the hospice for this generous gift.”