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'Grief counselling has saved my life'

A sea of sunflowers was being planted at a High Peak hospice to celebrate the memories of loved ones.

The fourth annual event saw the garden at Blythe House Hospicecare in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, transformed into a sea of bright yellow sunflower plaques.

The Sunflower Memories Appeal gave an opportunity for people to make a donation in memory of someone special, to raise funds for their local hospice. 

Mike Harrison (pictured), from Chapel, planted a sunflower in memory of his wife, Pat, who died in March 2018.

He said: “I am proud to plant a sunflower in the Blythe House garden to celebrate the memory of my dear wife Pat. I also wanted to donate towards the wonderful services that supported me in some of my darkest days following Pat’s death, and that continue to support me.”

He explained: “I was the main carer for my wife before she died and coming along to Blythe House, I was able to have the opportunity to relax, unwind, give and receive support from local people in similar situations to myself. It was so worthwhile and made me feel so much less isolated. 

“Following Pat’s death, and after all of the important tasks were complete like registering her death and organising the funeral, I honestly did wake up one morning and wonder what on earth I was going to do with myself, and what my purpose in life was anymore. 

“Grief has been so very painful, I’ve been in some very dark places, but Blythe House has been absolutely immense.” 

Mike added: “I’ve been having counselling sessions and they have given me my quality of life back. I have been able to speak the unspoken, and get stuff off my chest. 

“The sessions have really helped me to rediscover what my life is and how to enjoy it again.

“My story epitomises what Blythe House can offer to everyone – I am living proof for both patients and carers; Blythe House has been family to me, and has saved my life.”

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