Memorial forest funds donated to hospice

A national memorial forest charity has donated £3,000 to St. Joseph’s Hospice in Thornton, bringing its total donations to the hospice to £30,000 over the last 15 years.

Life for a Life Memorial Forests, a not-for-profit charity based in Greater Manchester, helps bereaved families to remember their loved ones by planting native trees, such as English Oak, Silver Birch, Mountain Ash and Scots Pine, in woodlands across the UK in their memory.

Their donations form part of the charity’s commitment to supporting the hospice, as well as manage and maintain its memorial forests.

Almost 300 memorial trees surround St. Joseph’s Hospice in Thornton and families regularly visit to spend time there and remember their much-loved family or friends.

As part of its commitment to St. Joseph’s Hospice and every family which buys a tree, Life for a Life guarantees the life of each tree and will manage and maintain each forest for a minimum of 25 years with some agreements on land over 50 years.

The first part of the donation was presented to St. Joseph’s Hospice Chief Executive, Mike Parr, last week along with a commitment to the remaining £1,500 in the next few weeks. The donation is being used to part-fund two brand new, secure log cabins for the onsite storage of clinical equipment at the hospice.

Mike Parr said: “We have worked in partnership with Life for a Life Memorial Forests for over 15 years now and we are very grateful for their ongoing support.

“They provide a wonderful and meaningful service to bereaved families, leaving them with a very special and long term tribute to their loved ones as well as a special place to go and feel close to them.

“They also do a wonderful job of maintaining our forests, something which would otherwise be really costly to the hospice. We would like to thank Life for a Life fore this generous donation and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Norman Armstrong-Kersh, Founder and Chief Executive of Life for a Life, said: “We offer families a natural, non-denominational and environmentally friendly way to remember someone special who has passed away.

“Some families plant their loved ones ashes beneath the tree and we have developed special slow release bio-degradable containers so that the ashes dissolve and actually feed the tree over a number of years. This really helps bereaved families as the tree actually grows from the ashes. The ashes also help to make the tree and the forest healthy too.

“We manage and maintain all our memorial forests for at least 25 years and so we do have ongoing maintenance costs. However, as a not-for-profit charity, we are delighted to be able to plough any surplus funding back in to the community through donations to our charity partners, like St. Joseph’s Hospice, and we look forward to making many further substantial donations in the future.”

Hospice CEO, Mike Parr, with Life for a Life CEO, Norman Armstrong-Kersh, outside the new log cabins at St. Joseph's Hospice.