“What I remember so vividly about that time is the level of care at the hospice, it was phenomenal.”

When her father Sam passed away in April 2017, Caroline Gratrix pledged to raise £10,000 for Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, where he was cared for during his final few days. Only three years later, after organising many fundraising events, she exceeded the target using her photography skills.

Caroline Gratrix with her father, Sam
Caroline Gratrix and her father, Sam.

“When dad went into the hospice, we didn’t think for a minute that he wouldn’t be coming out again, but sadly his health took a really sudden decline. He’d had good health for most of his life, but my mum had died 17 months previously and I don’t think he could live without her.

“The staff treated dad with such dignity and were really kind to the rest of us”

“What I remember so vividly about that time is the level of care at the hospice, it was phenomenal. The staff treated dad with such dignity and were really kind to the rest of us. Someone had said to me that it cost about £1,000 per day for someone to be at the hospice, so I vowed to pay them back for the 10 days dad had been there, even if it took my lifetime.”

Caroline Gratrix

Since 2017, Caroline has organised a variety of different fundraising events and activities, including ‘throwback’ party nights for 250+ people, auctions, raffles and even donated items from her parents' house to her local Sue Ryder charity shop.

Friends and family have also contributed to the fundraising total by donating to Sam’s online tribute fund to remember him on special occasions like anniversaries or birthdays.

Getting 'the shot'

In July 2020, just three years after making her fundraising pledge, portrait photographer Caroline passed her £10,000 fundraising target after a last minute decision to take some photos of the Neowise comet over her local area.

Caroline's photograph of the Neowise comet in the night sky, surrounded by stars.

“I went out with a friend to try and take some nighttime photos of the comet, not expecting to get anything, but I managed to get ‘the shot’! I posted it on social media that night and had lots of requests from people wanting to buy it.

“I was completely amazed that the money raised tipped us over the £10,000 target and I just burst into tears straight away”

“When I woke up the next morning, I realised it would have been dad’s birthday and it would be a lovely idea if people could donate to his memory fund in return for a print. I was completely amazed that the money raised tipped us over the £10,000 target and I just burst into tears straight away. Making this pledge felt like absolutely the right thing to do and I’m not going to stop now, Sue Ryder is embedded in my heart.”

“A little bit of effort can actually do a lot of good”

Caroline now hopes to inspire others to fundraise for the hospice. “It’s amazing how quickly the pennies tot up to quite an impressive total, especially because nothing I’ve done feels particularly ‘epic’ and none of it was difficult.

“I think people get very daunted by fundraising, but a little bit of effort can actually make a lot of money and do a lot of good for a local place like Duchess of Kent Hospice.”

Find out more information on Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, as well as the expert palliative care and support they provide for people with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Inspired by Caroline's story?

Donations from fundraisers like Caroline are vital for our palliative, neurological and bereavement support. We have lots of ideas for your own fundraising adventures, to help us continue to be there when it matters most.