North East Connected

Floating memories of loved ones to be launched on lake


THE granddaughter of a hospice founder is leading the way in remembering loved ones at a poignant event at a North-East park next month.

Mary Butterwick, from Stockton, sold her house to set up the Butterwick Hospice 34 years ago and died in 2015 aged 91.

Her grand-daughter Karen Holder will be remembering Mary at a special “Floating Thoughts” event on September 1 when the lake at Hardwick Park, Sedgefield, will be awash with floating lanterns carrying messages from people in remembrance of loved ones.

Karen, who is now a Butterwick Hospice ambassador, says her proudest memory was when her grandmother went to Buckingham Palace to be presented with her OBE for services to the hospice movement.

“Mary was so excited and proud that day – as were we,” she said.

Fundraiser, Helen Kirby, said: “We are encouraging people to write something special for a family member or friend who is in their thoughts. It’s a chance for people to remember someone special.”

Hospice fundraisers have been working with the Park Rangers to organise the event with lanterns specially designed to float on water, and which are bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly. After the event, all the lanterns will be collected and disposed of safely, while the battery-powered candles can be kept and re-used.

This is only the second year the event has been staged, with 150 lanterns being set afloat last year, and Helen hopes that numbers will grow.

Although there isn’t a set charge for a lantern, people are being asked to make a donation to the hospice for each lantern they order.

You can register at and you will be sent a label to write your message on. When you return it, it will be attached to a lantern, ready for launch on the day.

Arrival at the Grand Terrace beside the lake is from 6.30pm, although you can come to the park earlier and bring a picnic. Lanterns will be launched from the opposite side of the lake just before sunset, at around 7.30pm. If you can’t attend, your lantern will be launched for you.

On September 27th, the Butterwick will be staging a Memories of Mary exhibition at both the Bishop Auckland and Stockton sites, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the opening of Butterwick House Children’s Hospice by singer and songwriter Gary Barlow.



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