Many of those taking part in our Festive Fun Run will have their own very personal reasons for wanting to support St. Margaret’s Hospice.

Naomi Foss and Pippa Loynes will be thinking of their mum Judith when they and their families take on the 5k challenge at Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Club on Sunday, December 3. And they will all be running with smiles on their faces.

“Mum loved Christmas, so what better way to remember her than running the Festive Fun Run dressed as Santa with reindeer antlers on our heads?” said Naomi.

“If this means other patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses receive the care they deserve from St. Margaret’s Hospice, it’s worth it!”

As well as being enjoyable exercise for all the family in the lead-up to Christmas, the Festive Fun Run is a chance to support a charity which cared for 3,800 people in Somerset last year.

Naomi and Pippa, their husbands, Rob and Steve, and children Charlotte, Oliver, Georgie, Laurie and Orla will be among many runners who felt moved to give something back after a loved one was cared for in the friendly surroundings of St. Margaret’s Hospice.

Judith, who passed away in March, spent the last three weeks of her life at the Yeovil hospice.

Recalling her mum’s initial doubts about moving to the hospice, Naomi said:

“We were all unsure of what to expect, but within an hour of arriving Mum described St. Margaret’s as a welcome relief.

“The hospice became a sanctuary to our family during that tragic time. My sister and I moved in for 10 days and no one questioned us when we said we’d sleep in with Mum in the chairs next to her. They just brought us extra blankets, hot drinks and amazing food. The staff allowed us privacy at the same time as offering us honest advice on what to expect.

“Mum’s adoring five grandchildren got to spend time with her in a safe and non-scary environment which allowed them to cuddle Grandma as normal, giggle, play with Patrick, the resident cat, and run around in the beautiful gardens.

“We’re grateful that our children have a positive memory of their last day with Grandma. I believe it’s helped them cope and it meant the world to Mum to be able to be with her family during her final days.”

Naomi added:

“I have so many awful memories of Mum being so poorly but strangely, in the peace and safety of the hospice, we all laughed together because the unobtrusive nature of the care enabled us to relax. I’m so thankful for this memory.

“St. Margaret’s provided mum with the dignity that she’d fought so hard to retain during her illness. They recognised her strength, how proud she was and the importance of her life and they listened to and respected our wishes.

“Mum didn’t want to be alone and she wasn’t - that made a difference. St. Margaret’s Hospice went above and beyond in supporting our family.

“The hospice is a charity, it’s not part of the NHS and so they rely on financial support to continue in the amazing work they do. From the nursing staff and doctors to the chef and the volunteers, they all make a huge difference to families receiving care.”

Naomi, Pippa and their families look set to double their £500 fundraising target – and there is still time for you to sign up too.

To book a place, please visit: https://www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/Event/festive-fun-run