Why two friends are walking 111km in five days to raise funds for the Rowans Hospice

Carol Syred and Jacquie Oiller
Carol Syred and Jacquie Oiller
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Promoted by Rowans Hospice

Friends Carol Syred and Jacquie Oiller have both pledged to walk the Santiago pilgrimage route for the Rowans Silver Jubilee Appeal. Here they explain why they want to support the appeal that aims to raise £7.5m to renovate the hospice.  

Carol Syred says: ‘I will be walking the Santiago pilgrimage route in memory of my husband Jim, who died last November. Everyone at the Rowans has been so wonderful, I wanted to give something back.

Rowans corporate sponsors

Rowans corporate sponsors

Jim had lung cancer. He was diagnosed on August 6 and they told him at the beginning of September there was no treatment that they could do. Jim’s health declined really quickly and by the middle of October he couldn’t even walk to the car.

We had good family support around us. Family and friends all took turns to help me look after Jim. With the support of the community nurses, doctors and the hospice staff, who all worked and liaised together so well, Jim was looked after and cared for at home.

When he really started to deteriorate, we were grateful for the additional support of the Hospice at Home team. Over the last four days of his life they gave Jim and the family the help we all needed.

Since Jim died I have continued to be supported by the Rowans through the Living Well Centre. It has been fantastic. I feel at home there. I have benefitted from attending the bereavement group and a range of other courses including art, jewellery and pottery.

Although we never used the Rowans in-patient unit, the husband of a dear friend of mine was in the hospice for many weeks and she mentioned the rooms needed a bit of an upgrade. So I am doing the Santiago Trek for the Rowans Hospice Silver Jubilee Appeal as this is my payback.

You know, Jim would be amazed that I am doing it. I know it will be hard work to walk continuously for five days covering 111km so I have been training to the best of my ability I think that’s how I would put it!

It’s motivating to know the money I raise will help to leave a legacy for the next generation, like the previous generation who fundraised to build and support the Rowans, our community hospice. The hospice that supported Jim and I.’


Jacquie Oiller says: ‘For the Silver Jubilee Appeal, I have pledged to do the Santiago Trek with my friend Carol. It’s something we both talked about doing, so it is wonderful we’ve got the chance to do it and raise money for the renovation of our community hospice.

I’ve volunteered on the ward for more than two years. The Rowans is so very calm, very positive, very relaxed and just a very caring place to be. Nobody is rushing around, everybody has got ime to stop and have a word and give you a smile.

The great thing is children are welcome, pets are welcome. If people have got to be somewhere like this, it is the second best to home.

The care is personal, it’s dignified, and nothing is too much trouble. It’s the quality of care you want to be able to have, for you and your loved ones when you come to the end of your life.

I know the Silver Jubilee renovation plans include additional private space for families, which will be of great benefit. I can also see that we can’t leave the renovation of the bedrooms much longer and the renovation will mean that the hospice can introduce the latest technology, helping to enhance the wonderful care it gives to its patients and families.

By taking part in this challenge, it will be a great experience. But more importantly, it will raise money for the Silver Jubilee Appeal, renovating our hospice to support the future care of our community.’