Why we are shining bright to remember Hugh

After Jenny Rea’s husband Hugh was cared for at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, Jenny and her daughter Amber McArdle decided to take part in the hospice’s Starlight Hike 2018 in memory of Hugh, raising over £600. They will walk under the stars for the second time at this year’s Starlight Hike. This is their story.

Jenny (left), Amber, friends and Starry the Starlight Hike mascot
Jenny (left), Amber (far right) and friends - including Starry the Starlight Hike mascot.
Jenny with her late husband Hugh.
Jenny with her late husband Hugh.
"I am walking for... Hugh" - written on a Starlight Hike t-shirt
Jenny and Amber both wore t-shirts highlighting who they were walking the Starlight Hike for and why.

Jenny: "The Sue Ryder St John's staff were friendly, warm, kind-hearted and dedicated."

Hugh was my world; he was the best husband I could have ever wished for. He was the kindest, caring and most selfless person imaginable.

As I had heard only positive stories about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, I was desperate for my husband Hugh to spend some time in their care. The Sue Ryder Nurses were very caring and came in to see me while I stayed the whole time Hugh was there. 

I was too frightened to leave his room and go to the bathroom, but the nurses said I could ring for them to sit with him whilst I was gone. They sat with me and talked late in the evenings to make sure I was okay.

The staff at St John’s Hospice looked after Hugh with kindness and respect. The staff were all friendly, warm, kind-hearted and dedicated. Hugh was looked after the best way possible; the hospice will always mean so much to me for that very reason.

I signed up for the Starlight Hike 2018 to give something back to St John’s in return for their caring and hard work, and to raise as much money as possible to help keep the hospice running.

I did the 10km hike with my daughter Amber plus three group members, Wendy, Laetita and Donna. It was an emotional evening remembering Hugh, and everyone was friendly and determined to keep going. My favourite part was walking with determination, knowing why we were doing it; I also liked the memory garden, where I wrote my dedication star to Hugh.

We raised £640, which I hope will help to fund the hospice to continue their good work helping patients.

Amber: "Giving back to a hospice that is an incredible support to families."

My stepdad Hugh was the most amazing man and is sorely missed. He was the most caring, generous and loving man I’ve ever met. He would be cheering us on if he was here to see us.

I signed up for the Starlight Hike to raise money for St John’s to pay them back for the wonderful care they gave Hugh in 2017.

Starlight Hike 2018 was incredible and emotional. It was both sad and uplifting; so many families have been supported and we all wanted to give back. My favourite part of the evening was seeing the hundreds of people ahead and behind wearing the deely-boppers. I also liked the memory garden and being able to leave a message on the trees.

I am looking forward to taking part in this year’s Starlight Hike with my mum and the same people as before – plus more. The hospice is an incredible support to families who are going through such a horrendous journey. It does hold sad memories and it is hard to visit but hopefully that will get easier.

Thank you to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice for everything. Nothing was too much; the staff were there the second you needed them and I can’t thank them enough for absolutely everything they did for Hugh.

Sign up for St John’s Starlight Hike 2019

Has Jenny and Amber’s story inspired you to don your deely boppers and get involved?

Our Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is asking people to become shining stars for the night and raise funds for its expert palliative care.

Starlight Hike 2019 is returning to the magical surroundings of the Shuttleworth Estate, with the route taking in the stunning Swiss Gardens and Summer House, where participants can place a star in memory of loved ones. There is the option to walk a 5km or 10km route.  

Sign up for Sue Ryder St John's Starlight Hike 2019


Jenny and Amber

Mother and daughter of patient

Jenny Rea and Amber McArdle

Mum Jenny and daughter Amber are preparing to take on the Starlight Hike for the second time in memory of Jenny’s husband Hugh. Their top tip for fellow hikers is to bring water and a smile.