Hundreds of butterflies were released into the skies of Lincolnshire to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones.
This year’s annual Butterfly Release saw people coming together at Springfields Festival Gardens in Spalding, and locations in Boston and Skegness for the poignant event.
It was organised by the Butterfly Hospice Trust, a charity based in Boston, that provides palliative care and holistic support to patients and their families.
Rachel Wilding, from Spalding, released a painted lady butterfly in memory of her mum Barbara Harrison, who died almost two years ago, aged 67.
Rachel said: “There is so much to say about my mum. She was very loved. We were very close friends and she is so missed.
“She was so much fun and loved life. She was a big inspiration to me.”
Rachel was there with her sister Claire Burden and school friends Katherine Wright and Sarah Lloyd.
Her daughter Ruby sang with Spalding Parish Church of England Day School, who performed the songs ‘Count On Me’ by Bruno Mars and ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ from Toy Story.
They also read the poem Footsteps in the Sand, which includes the line: “When you saw only one set of footprints (in the sand), it was then that I carried you.”
Lester Tugby, was there with around 20 friends and family who released butterflies in memory of his wife Joy, from Gedney.
She died of cancer 18 months ago, aged 56.
He said: “She was my wife and my life. The Butterfly Hospice were amazing in their care for her and I also want to mention the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Boston (Pilgrim) Hospital. It is a fantastic place and they treated her so well.”
Joy’s sister Wendy Seabrook added: “She was the most amazing person, a lovely wife, sister and auntie.
“She was an independent lady with a strong will and strong mind. She was a fighter.
“She loved animals. She had a smallholding and she was always bringing an animal home - from a duck to a horse.”
Wendy, who lives in St Albans with her husband Doug, had travelled to Spalding for the Butterfly Release with her family.
Doug is a judo instructor and organised a charity fun run around St Albans in which his students and parents took part.
They raised £1,300 for the hospice.
Doug said: “Joy was looked after by the hospice and they were fantastic.”
Sue Watsham, from the Butterfly Hospice Trust, said: “All three events were very well attended, and what surprised me was the distance that families had travelled.
“I met one family at Spalding who had travelled from Norfolk to join us.
“My special thanks not only go to the public who support our hospice, but also our volunteers, who give their precious time to make our Butterfly Release a very special memorable event.
“It is a chance to remember loved ones and also celebrate life. We have many reasons why people are supporters of the Butterfly Release.”
The Butterfly Hospice is a purpose-built six-bed inpatient unit near to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
It was officially opened to patients in 2014 after ten years of planning and fundraising from members of the public.
The hospice cares for people from Boston and the surrounding areas. It works in partnership with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and the local community.
○ More photos in Thursday’s Spalding Guardian (on sale July 13)