Allotment group growing 'The Paul Brennan Tribute Fund'
A group of friends and organic veg growers have come together
as part of an allotment project to raise money for Herriot Hospice Homecare
in memory of a “dear friend”.
Led by founding member Jon Stephenson, ‘The Allotmenteers’ have been growing vegetables via their allotments in Northallerton, in memory of their friend Paul Brennan (known as Bren), who Herriot cared for in the last days of his life before his death in November 2019.
The group is donating the proceeds from the veg they grow and sell to support Herriot Hospice Homecare's care and support across Hambleton and Richmondshire.
Jon said: “Following the death of our dear friend Bren in November 2019, we decided to set up a memorial fund in his name to say thank you to Herriot Hospice Homecare for all the support and comfort they provided to him and his family.
“We started ‘The Allotmenteers’ project in Bren’s memory, as in his last summer months, he would come
to the allotment, sit under the shade of our plum tree, and listen to the birdsong, enjoying the
peace and quiet.
"We’d swap old memories and crazy stories from our schooldays to the present.
"Bren was one of the funniest people you could ever meet. He would keep us laughing all day and take the mickey out of us trying to dig the rock-hard soil on the allotment plots, like ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun’.
"Sadly, he died too soon in November that year, but his spirit and the spinach he planted, will live on forever with us all down at the allotments and through our tribute fundraising with Herriot Hospice Homecare.
"We have set up the memorial fund with Herriot Hospice Homecare, to not only thank them for the amazing work they do through their care for those living with a terminal illness, but also to draw attention to the other invaluable services they offer. We know of many people in our community who have benefitted from other support services that Herriot provides to local people living with terminal illness and bereavement.”
Paul’s wife Michelle said: “Herriot supported Bren and myself in the last few days of his life, providing support to ensure he was comfortable carrying out his dying wish to be at home and they also helped with my bereavement following his death.”
Jon added: “We know that Herriot Hospice Homecare relies partly on donations and in Bren’s memory, we have lots of fundraising ideas planned for the future to help the hospice carry on its work moving forwards.
"Bren was such a fun loving, sociable, highly regarded and gentle person, who was very much loved by all who knew him; from friends and family, to colleagues at The Friarage Hospital, where he worked as an Operating Department Practitioner, to many fans and mates at his beloved Middlesborough F.C, which he supported avidly since childhood.
"The support we've received from our community and local businesses so far has been frankly overwhelming; from buying our veg, to providing the materials to help us build a community shed we named 'Bren's Den' for everyone at the allotment to meet and shelter from the elements.
We aim to grow “mighty oaks from little acorns” and hope our fundraising will continue to grow and support Herriot Hospice Homecare in Bren’s memory, ensuring that his legacy lives on well into the future.”
Thank you to Jon, Michelle and all who are involved in supporting Herriot Hospice Homecare in Paul’s memory through their ongoing fundraising activities. So far, through their fundraising, the group has raised over £1,000 since Christmas. Should you wish to support their efforts, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepaulbrennantributefund.
Pictured, top: Paul Brennan (left) and 'The Allotmenteers' Jon Stephenson and Dave Easton, presenting a cheque from their initial fundraising to our team (right). Above: Michelle opening 'Bren's Den' (left), 'Bren' (middle), and Bren at his beloved Middlesbrough FC (right). Please note that the photo with our Fundraising Team was taken before current Covid-19 restrictions came into place.