A memorial walk and raffle for a much-loved work colleague has raised over £1,400 for Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Over 50 staff from Tui Airways, based at Newcastle Airport, put their best feet forward and walked from Marsden Grotto to South Shields and back again on 20 April in memory of Avril Glassbrook, from Stocksfield, who died from cancer in February 2017.  Avril had been a member of the Cabin Crew with Tui (formerly Thomsons Airways) for over 26 years.

Helen Screen, a member of the Tui cabin crew, and friend of Avril, who organised the walk along with colleagues Jennifer Campbell and Lynne Robertson, said: “Avril was an amazing lady with a fantastic sense of humour.  She was never phased by anything and took everything in her stride.  You knew that if you were rostered to fly with her you were going to have a really lovely flight.  We all miss her very much.

“We wanted to do something in her memory whilst raising money for a worthwhile cause and a coastal walk was the ideal choice. We also hosted a raffle in advance of the event so that friends and colleagues who couldn’t attend on the day could take part. 

“The day of the walk was incredible.  The sun shone every step of the way, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We were able to enjoy some of our memories of Avril along the way and we are delighted with the total raised – it exceeded all of our expectations.”

They were inspired to fundraise for Tynedale Hospice at Home after Avril’s husband Nathan, and his two children Zara, 18, and Mae, 14, received bereavement support from Tynedale Hospice at Home following Avril’s death.

Avril’s husband Nathan and his daughter, Mae, joined the walkers on the day.

Nathan said: “I can’t thank Helen, Jennifer and Lynne and the rest of the Tui team for organising the walk. It’s a testament to what a much-loved friend and colleague she was and I feel truly proud of her.  It was a wonderful day and provided a fabulous opportunity to celebrate everything she means to us.

“I got in touch with the Hospice after I was given the phone number for the Family Support team by one of their volunteers who lives in my village and I’m so glad I made the call.

“I received one to one and group support and the girls receive support as well. With help from the team at Tynedale Hospice we were able to begin the process of understanding our feelings and they gave us time and space to try and make sense of our situation.  Without the help and support we have been given, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to cope and feel as strong as I do for my girls. I can’t thank the team at Tynedale Hospice at Home enough for their help.”

Cathy Bates, Senior Community Fundraiser at Tynedale Hospice at Home, said: “We are so grateful to Nathan and everyone at Tui’s Newcastle base for their amazing fundraising efforts.  Their achievement is just remarkable and the incredible sum that they have raised will make a real difference to the families we support. 

“On average, we provide support to around 38 families a month who are either facing bereavement or who have been bereaved. Our services are completely free of charge and people can refer themselves to our service, no matter how long it’s been since the death of a loved one.”

In addition to pre and post bereavement support through its Family Support Services, Tynedale Hospice at Home provides palliative nursing care to people in their own homes and a Hospital Transport Service to people living in Tynedale, West Northumberland, Ponteland and the surrounding areas.

To find out more about Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Family Support Service, please call 01434 604 321.