Emily and Ali's story
Jackie Howie passed away in the Edenbridge Room in September 2015. Here her daughters, Emily and Ali, sister, Pat, and niece, Stella, explain how the Hospice helped their family and how this has inspired them to take on our Moonlight Walk for the second consecutive year.
This June a group of friends and family will be taking on our Moonlight Walk in memory of Jackie Howie. Cared for on our In-Patient Ward, Jackie passed away in September 2015. Jackie was a local woman with strong community ties having both lived in Hadlow and worked at the primary school there for over a decade. Later, Jackie worked at the Tonbridge Library and also helped run the Paddock Wood branch of the British Legion, even going door to door as a poppy seller in their annual appeal. Keen on charity work and volunteering, Jackie also volunteered at the London 2012 Olympics with her sister-in-law, Jean.
Following her Mum’s referral to Hospice in the Weald and scared by the prospect of a hospice and the negative connotations generally associated with such a place, Emily was pleasantly surprised with what she was met with once she had visited. “I didn’t know what the Hospice did before I came here for the first time. Whilst Mum was at the Hospice, everyone was so amazing not only with her, but with us as well. We are a really big family and sometimes there would be up to six of us in the room at the same time – we were always made to feel welcome and everyone was so accommodating. I remember my Dad would stay with Mum all night and the nurses always made sure he had a comfy chair to sit in and that he got breakfast every morning.”
To honour and remember Jackie, a keen walker and charity worker herself, the team chose to do the Moonlight Walk in 2016. “I have so many memories of Jackie, but especially walking with her” Pat, remembers. “We would always go on holiday together and we would walk for hours. Jackie would pick out something in the distance and we would just walk there. She was like that, if she wanted to do something she just would. She would always say “don’t talk about it, just do it””. Emily and Ali plan to make the Moonlight Walk one of their annual events in memory of Jackie. “It was such a great atmosphere last year” Emily recalls “we chatted the whole way round and didn’t even realise the 8 miles were passing. It was great to see such a mix of people walking in big teams, even people walking with their dogs.”
The family also host an annual event as a group – the Jackie Howie Crazy Golf Tournament. “Jackie used to love playing crazy golf, so we started the tournament as a fun way for the whole family to get together and remember her – even the grandchildren” Stella explains. “A couple of years into the tournament John, Jackie’s husband, found an old score card of Jackie’s where she had shot under 50. She had kept the card just to remember how well she had done – so we now use this as the score to beat, it’s carved onto the winner’s trophy and is yet to be beaten”. In 2016, Jackie’s son, Andrew, joined the family’s fundraising efforts by running the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon in aid of Hospice in the Weald and raised over £1,000 through sponsorship.
This year their Moonlight Walk team has grown from 8 to more than 15 and they are excited for the new route through Sevenoaks’ beautiful Knole Park and will even be joined by Jackie’s two year old grandson, Jackson, who was named after Jackie and was just six weeks old when he visited Jackie on the In-Patient Ward. “It’s just such a nice way of getting the family together for a catch up and to remember Jackie”.
To sponsor the team please click here.