Families who have dedicated a leaf to a loved one on Isabel Hospice’s new Memory Tree are helping others like them make the most of the precious time they have left together.

Now that the Welwyn Garden City-based hospice is once again able to open its doors following the pandemic, some of the relatives of those Isabel has cared for in the past were invited to view the Memory Tree.

The memorial helps fund the expert, compassionate care and support available to those who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, and their family and friends.

Isabel healthcare assistant Brenda Hendrie, a retired nurse who is also a volunteer bereavement support worker, said: “Making memories is what Isabel Hospice is all about.

"Thanks to the funding we receive from our supporters, we have the time and resources to help our patients and their families to make lasting memories. We’ve organised pizza nights, film nights, parties and even weddings here at the Hospice. It’s a happy place, filled with a great many precious moments.

“The Memory Tree can help us to create more of these special moments for local families, because every leaf or robin that someone dedicates will help to fund our expert care and support.

"And, as it grows, so does our ability to provide the very best care to everyone who needs us.”

Dedicating a bronze, silver or gold leaf, or a robin, on the Memory Tree offers the opportunity to honour a loved one’s memory in a more permanent way, as well as support other families who need the care Isabel Hospice can offer.




Debbie Shirley’s husband Paul, who died in 2017, has his name engraved on the Memory Tree, which is situated in the entrance of the In-Patient Unit (IPU) looking out onto the Hospice garden.

It is a place of love and reflection, offering a meaningful way to pay tribute to the memory of someone dear.

“Paul was only 39 when a persistent ear infection turned out to be a brain tumour known as a glioblastoma,” she said.

“Within a year, he went from an active, golf-loving family man to spending his last 10 days at Isabel Hospice, which became our second home.  

“When I was in the IPU with Paul, I used to walk past the old tree three or four times a day. I knew I wanted Paul on there.

"Seeing the names of so many strong and important people made me realise that I wasn’t alone, that lots of people had been through what Paul and I were going through. Along with our son, Jack, we were part of a community.

“So, when the new tree was installed, I bought Paul a leaf. To me, the IPU is where Paul was, and still is.

"The Hospice held my hand all the way through. Having a leaf or a robin on the Memory Tree is my way of holding their hand. It’s a real comfort to me.”

The Memory Tree has the potential to raise £110,000 for Isabel Hospice every single year.

That is enough to cover the costs of the In-Patient Unit for a month.

A bronze leaf costs £120, or £10 per month, a silver leaf costs £180, or £15 per month, a gold leaf costs £240, or £20 per month, and a robin costs £500, or £41.67 per month.

To make a dedication, visit isabelhospice.org.uk/inmemory/memory-tree or call Isabel Hospice’s In Memory Officer Lisa Bailey on 01707 954827 for more information.



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