The 10th Hospice Holly Trail recently staged across three days in support of Cranford Hospice was always going to emerge as a special fundraising event and that was exactly how it came to pass when the cash was counted.
At the post-event celebrations staged at Birdwoods Gallery there were gasps of delight and a landscape of smiles when it was announced that Cranford Hospice was being gifted a staggering $295,000.
At the Gifting of the Funds ceremony Cranford Hospice's chairwoman Hayley Anderson said how thrilled she was, and how much of an honour it was for Cranford Hospice to be held in such high regard in the Hawke's Bay community.
"This gift from the Hospice Holly Trial is simply outstanding and the generosity of people is so heart-warming," she said.
"I met some wonderful people this week who shared with me their stories about preparing their homes ready for thousands of people to walk through — thank you!"
Hospice Holly Trail chairwoman KK Marffy was equally delighted how it had all turned out.
"We had three fabulous Hospice Holly Trail days – a true celebration of Christmas in our unique, interesting and spectacular homes and gardens," she said, adding the organisers were delighted to spark the event with a Toast to the Tenth Trail evening at Birdwoods Gallery, where local talent Project Prima Volta and Mike Cooch captivated the audience with their remarkable voices.
A Spring Fete, held on the Havelock North Village Green, was also well received.
On behalf of the organising committee Marffy gave "heartfelt thanks" to the homeowners and designers involved in the 10th anniversary Hospice Holly Trail for their inspiration and the huge amount of hard work they had put in to present their homes with stunning Christmas themes.
"Everybody has adored the contrast of homes and the utterly amazing work done by our floral designers," she said.
"We also are so grateful to the 350 volunteers who made sure the trail was a success for the 2500 ticket holders."
She said without the support of those who went on the trail, the generous homeowners, sponsors, volunteers and stallholders they would not have been able to come up with such an "amazing" result.
"They are all are part of a collaborative process which enables us to give back to Cranford Hospice, for all they do in our Community."
Guests for the evening were reminded about the work the hospice carried out in the community, with the team sharing the experience of Kevin Siemonek, a Cranford Hospice patient.
Siemonek is 67 and has terminal lung and heart failure.
He has support from Cranford Hospice's entire team including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and a music therapist.
He recently completed a life review with Cranford — a published story celebrating his life and compiled by hospice volunteers.
In it he said that living with dying was "hard work and it is really bizarre — you're still living, still functioning, but you are actually dying".
He said he could not do without the support of Cranford Hospice.
"Because they are guiding me through the process and they have explained to me what will happen to me in the future.
"This has put my mind at rest.
"No matter what path my illness will take I am confident about the care that I'm going to receive, either at the hospice or somewhere else.
"I know that the Cranford staff will be there to help me and guide me."
He had advice for anyone who may be reluctant to accept support form Cranford.
"I would say don't hold back — treasure their services — they are providing outstanding support for me in my final time and I am so grateful."