I have been a long-time supporter of Overgate Hospice since I moved to Halifax in 2004. An early memory was raising around £200 by doing a walk at Ogden with my partner Andrew, mother-in-law Yvonne (who works for Overgate) and our stepfather Gywn - little did I know then that the Hospice would play a significant role in my life.
In 2014, I was delighted to be asked to host a brand-new event called the ‘Overgate Colour Run’ at Savile Park. I have done this every year since and hugely enjoy encouraging the 5000+ runners, who have taken part. When being asked to host the fourth event in 2017, I was aware it would personally be more powerful and emotional that ever before, as, although I have experienced loss, I had never experienced the loss of a loved one through Overgate.
In the early hours of Tuesday April 11th 2017, my stepfather Gwyn Merrifield, lost his short battle with cancer, after being at Overgate for seven days. In this time, I experienced the real sense the care and compassion Overgate offer. We were continuously made to feel welcome by each member of staff and shoulders were provided when emotions ran high - and the beautiful surrounding gardens provided a calm quiet place, for time out when needed.
Gwyn was a wonderful man, he was not only like a father to myself and Andrew, but he was a friend, to whom I had the pleasure and true honour to have been asked, by Gwyn himself, to deliver his funeral service which we wrote together in his final weeks. Having seen what goes on at Overgate first-hand, every single penny raised goes to make sure dignity, love, and ultimately peace is given to terminally ill patients like Gwyn.
I am beyond proud of my brave and loving mother-in-law Yvonne, and my wonderful partner Andrew, who continue to raise money to ensure the ongoing specialist service that Overgate offer, continues. To every single person involved with this wonderful charity…you are all heroes!
Happy 40th Anniversary Overgate - long may you continue!