Stories

Be inspired by our collection of stories from people who've organised Celebrating a Life events in memory of loved ones and find out how they raised money for Sue Ryder.

Celebrating Arty

Arty was a keen golfer, so his father Bill decided to organise a golf day in memory of his son.

Arthur Turner was a keen golfer and one of his main goals in life was to score a hole in one. That’s why his father Bill decided to organise a golf day to mark the first anniversary of his death.

Supported by his family, Bill organised a fantastic event to raise money for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Cheltenham, where Arthur spent his final days. And his son Jim, Arthur’s brother, achieved a personal best to win the tournament, making it a true family celebration.

"Arty was a character, and he loved to play golf."

“It was a very, very happy day,” Bill said. “There were a lot of memories of Arty. Everyone who knew him knew he was a character. He loved to play golf, and he and Jim and I always used to go on a golfing holiday every year for my birthday.

“It’s not as difficult as you think to organise an event like this. The important thing is to choose an activity that’s allied to the person – who they were, what they liked to do – something personal to them. Luckily, we have a big family, and the key is getting everyone to help out.

"Every single player signed up for next year – it’s going to be a regular event.”

All the players at Bill's golf day in memory of Arty

Celebrating Steve and Kay

Kelly's parents died just two months apart. To celebrate their life together, she and her family organised a fundraising ball for their 40th wedding anniversary

Kelly's mum Kay, who had a brain tumour, died in February 2016. Her dad Steve, who had liver, stomach and oesophageal cancer, died the following April. The couple, who had been married for almost 40 years, were both 66.

They both spent the last three weeks of their lives as inpatients at Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, but had been helped by Sue Ryder for months before that.

Kelly and other family members decided to celebrate her parents' lives by holding a charity ball to raise money for Sue Ryder. The event was held in the same month as Steve and Kay’s 40th wedding anniversary and was named ‘Love 40’ in honour of the occasion. The theme was 70s fancy dress or black tie, with a competition for the best dressed, and guests enjoyed a 70s themed dinner with a 21st century twist. There was also a disco, a raffle and an auction.

"It was a very happy atmosphere"


“Organising the event gave me a focus and helped get me through some difficult months,” Kelly said. “I’ve never been to such a good party. It was a celebration. Everyone was dancing or having a good time.

“We made a programme for the event, which said a little bit about mum and dad. On the night, there were people we’d never met, but who knew mum and dad, sharing stories about them. Some brought photos. It was a very happy atmosphere, not like their funerals.

“When I got home and counted the money, I actually burst into tears. I couldn’t believe people were so generous.

“If it wasn’t for Sue Ryder, families like ours – we’d be struggling. They are so amazing. It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the hospice. They supported us not just at the time, but afterwards. I had some counselling sessions with them to deal with the anger. They completely changed my outlook – I didn’t think it was possible to go through this and still be relatively normal.

“I really wanted to give something back.”

Inspired by Kelly's story? Create your own event.

Guests in 70s fancy dress at fundraising ball