19 Sep 2021 Community
The Barlow Family Tree of Memories tribute
The Kirkwood Tree of Memories is a special way for friends and family to pay tribute to their loved ones. For the Barlow Family, dedicating a leaf for Alan and Gwenda Barlow was a perfect testament to their efforts in supporting The Kirkwood for over 30 years.
Alan Barlow, who worked as a Pathologist at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, was an integral part of The Kirkwood’s history - co-founding the hospice and becoming co-life president alongside life president, David Stocks.
Alan became the First Chair of the Appeals Committee after responding to David’s open letter to the Huddersfield Examiner appealing for a hospice to be built in Kirklees. Along with local volunteers, plans came to life as the Kirklees Hospice Appeal took over the community. After fundraising for four years, starting in 1981, building work began in the small district of Huddersfield, Dalton, and The Kirkwood first opened its hospice doors in 1987.
Alan’s son reflects on his father’s devotion throughout this time. He said: “As a pathologist his patients included those suffering from terminal Leukaemia and he believed that acute health care provision didn’t enable the terminally ill to die with the dignity that they could if they had hospice care available, which is why he worked so hard to help make the hospice a reality.”
The Barlow family regularly support The Kirkwood in memory of Alan’s connection with The Kirkwood, but also to remember his wife, Gwenda, who also played an important role at the hospice.
“My mother, Gwenda, had been a Nursing Sister in the early days of my parents’ marriage and when my elder brother came along she stopped working as a nurse to dedicate herself to the family and to voluntary charity work.
“When the hospice became a reality she reinstated herself on the register of nurses to enable her to work as a volunteer nurse at the hospice, which she loved doing. Working with the hospice was something they were able to each contribute to in their own way.
“Each remembered the hospice in their Wills and we now take forward the tradition and give to the hospice each year in their memory to perpetuate our family involvement with something they both believed passionately about and in which they were both involved in the beginning.”
A foundation stone bearing the name of Alan and David can be seen at the entrance of the hospice and is a striking tribute. The Barlow Family have also dedicated a leaf of the Tree of Memories to both Gwenda and Alan on the Tree of Memories to honour their support.
Located inside the hospice, the Tree of Memories incorporates gold, silver and bronze beech leaves that can be engraved with names or short personal messages in memory of loved ones.
Each leaf represents someone special, each with their own unique meaning and story behind them. The branches connect each leaf to one another, creating a striking display of tributes and memories.
Whilst offering a meaningful way of remembering someone you love, it’s also a great way to help The Kirkwood Support Life for anyone affected by a life limiting illness in Kirklees.
If you are interested in dedicating a leaf, you can find out more information by clicking here.
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