Inside St Christopher's Hospice: Families walk on hot coals to help hit £14m fundraising target

St Christopher’s hospice is celebrating 50 years. The hospice was founded in 1967 and is widely recognised as the first modern hospice in the UK. Located in Sydenham, it provides care and support to more than 6,000 people across five south east London boroughs (Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark).

Despite its main mission of providing palliative care for terminally ill patients, at St Christopher’s the focus is on life, rather than death. The hospice runs several activities to support in and outpatients, their families and the local community.

To mark its 50th anniversary, The Independent is releasing a six-episode series, highlighting the stories of the people who have been benefiting from the hospice’s services to live a better life.

The sixth and last episode of the series focuses on fundraising.

To be able to take care of 6,000 patients and their families, St Christopher’s spend on average £20 million, with only £6 million being funded by the NHS.

The remaining £14 million come from donations and fundraising actions and events organized throughout the year.

In March 2017, the hospice organized a firewalk, which saw more than 70 people walking on hot coals to pay tribute to decesead loved ones and raise money for St Christopher’s.

“I overheard a conversation and I said I’d do it and and I’ve raised over £1000”, said Claire Beavan.

Some families, like the Muirs, who lost their son Craig in 2012, have also been very active in raising funds for the hospice.

“We organize a football tournament every year in August since he passed away”, said Alan Muir, Craig’s father.

Craig spent his last six days of life at the hospice.

“On the weekend he was here, he had over 80 visitors: mates from university and his old school. They even let us bring the dog to see Craig”, Mr Muir said.

“You don’t get places that do that. We wanted to give something back”, he added.

St Christopher’s hospice is located in 51-59 Lawrie Park Road, London, SE26 6DZ.

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