Berkshire family step out for Walk to Remember in honour of loved one

A family from Mortimer are getting together for the Walk to Remember this October in tribute to a much-loved family member, Roy Hillyard, who passed away during the UK lockdown after receiving end of life care at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice.

Roy Hillyard and his family in a pub, celebrating with drinks
Roy (centre) will be remembered by his family during their special tribute walk to him.

Coming together to celebrate Roy's life

Roy, 72, received end-of-life care at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in April 2020 after failing to recover from an operation for bowel cancer in 2018. Unable to be together at the time due to covid restrictions, Roy’s family are coming together to celebrate his life by taking part in Sue Ryder’s Walk to Remember on October 17.

Roy’s daughter, Claire O’Grady, will be joined by her mum, sister and their children for a special 5km walk in their local area, which will finish at Roy’s grave in Mortimer.

“Having not been able to have a normal funeral and gathering, we are taking the opportunity to come together to celebrate our dad now”

Claire said: “Dad was an inpatient at the hospice for a week in the middle of the pandemic. They looked after my Dad so well and supported my mum. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go in and see him but we are so grateful that mum was able to be there at the end.

“My dad was a big, loud, gregarious person”

“Having not been able to have a normal funeral and gathering, we are taking the opportunity to come together to celebrate our dad now. My dad was a big, loud, gregarious person and under ordinary circumstances so many people would have come to his funeral and given to charity in his memory.

“We didn’t have a chance to do that then, but I hope people will help us remember him by supporting Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice now. It’s our way of giving something back.”

Roy Hillyard opening presents on his 70th birthday.
Roy opening presents on his 70th birthday.

Gone but not forgotten

The hospice in Reading is inviting people across Berkshire to do their own Walk to Remember this October for loved ones who are gone but not forgotten. Participants can choose their distance, their start and finish line and a route that means something to them.

“We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to Roy’s family for taking part in Walk to Remember to celebrate his life and support the hospice where he was cared for”

Laura Kell, Head of Hospice Fundraising at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, said: “We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to Roy’s family for taking part in Walk to Remember to celebrate his life and support the hospice where he was cared for.

“We hope that this special event will provide a way for families and friends to remember loved ones, take in the beautiful autumn scenery and help us continue to be there for people when it matters.”

Claire and her family hope to raise over £1,000 in memory of Roy and in support of Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice's expert care. You can help them raise vital funds by donating to their JustGiving page.

Remember someone special

Entry for the Walk to Remember is free, but any fundraising or donations will help Sue Ryder to continue providing expert care and support to people with life limiting conditions and their families.