It was another magical, emotional and completely wonderful day at Willow Wood’s second Butterfly Memory Release – even the drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of those attending.

Five hundred lovely butterflies including Painted Ladies, Peacocks, Brimstones and Red Admirals were released into the beautiful gardens.  Eddy Inglis, one of Willow Wood’s chaplains, gave a short blessing before the crowds gathered there opened the specially designed butterfly boxes.  Although some flew straight into the heavens many of the butterflies chose to stay close.  As one young lady said “I opened the box thinking of my gran, who I’d dedicated the butterfly to.  When it walked onto my hand and then flew to my shoulder, where it stayed for what felt like minutes, I really felt blessed.  It was like she was there with me”.

That sentiment was echoed by so many.  Each butterfly represented someone very special, and watching them fly brought a sense of peace and love.  Tears were shed, but it was a surprisingly uplifting and really quite joyous occasion.  One visitor to the Hospice facebook page left the message “It was a beautiful occasion.  I feel privileged to have been part of it”.

As well as the Butterfly Release, Saturday also saw Willow Wood’s annual Summer Fete.  There were 20 stalls selling everything from bunting to bags, from chocolate to crafts and taking in jewellery, toys, accessories and much more.  Willow Wood had their own plant stall, selling perennials raised from seeds or cuttings taken from their gardens – a lovely way to take a little bit of Willow Wood home with you.

The barbeque had queues from early in the morning and Hospice staff Sheila and Pauline did a grand job flipping burgers and grilling sausages – although they did take a short break to cool down with a cheeky Pimms!  Hundreds, if not thousands of cups of tea or coffee were sold, along with delicious cakes, and we mustn’t forget Willow Wood’s famous home-made cheese and onion pie which went down a treat.

Willow Wood’s thanks go to everyone who attended, supported or helped in any way.

A special thanks to Brakes who donated the burgers, to Joe’s Taxis who waived the cost of the minibus from the overspill car park, to Ashton Sixth Form College for their support, to the traders, to all staff and volunteers who gave up their Saturday to help, and to everyone who dedicated a butterfly in memory of a loved one – we appreciate your support more than words can say.