Celebrating 40 years of marriage and 40 years of hospice care Meet Linda and Ian, who are celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary the same year that Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice marks 40 years of hospice care. Read their heart-warming story below and discover why they toasted 40 years of marriage by raising funds and awareness for the Hospice… Ian: It’s amazing to think that we got married the very year that Birmingham St Mary’s opened. We first met on a blind date in 1977 and just 12 months later, we were engaged. We then got married on Tuesday 29th May in 1979 – just two months after the Hospice opened. It was a beautiful wedding at Birmingham Registry Office, with lots of sunshine and tulips. Linda: To celebrate our milestone anniversary, we decided to go to Portugal with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren to enjoy plenty of good food and cold Prosecco! But we also wanted to celebrate with our wider family and friends, so we hosted a small gathering with all our loved ones. They’ve been there to support us through the good and the bad, happy and sad, tears and laughter, so we wanted to share our happy day with them. Ian: In lieu of cards and presents (we’ve got everything we could ever want after 40 years of marriage), we decided to ask for donations to be made to a charity very close to our hearts – Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Linda: We wanted to support the Hospice because last year, I lost my father Thomas at the age of 94. His last hours were spent at the Hospice and even during that short time, the staff there were so wonderful, understanding, caring and thoughtful. They helped us and our family through a difficult time and for that, I will always be grateful. Ian: Tom was a proud and clever man who we miss every day. His last hours were peaceful, painless and dignified, for which I can’t thank the doctors and nurses at the Hospice enough. Linda: I was really surprised at how calm and peaceful the Hospice was. Although it is a place where some people do pass away, it isn’t depressing at all. Instead, I felt there was a real atmosphere of love. As a family, we had been lost with how to help Dad but when Birmingham St Mary’s got involved, they gave us the support that we needed at such a desperate and sad time. Ian: They gave us reassurance that Tom was being cared for in a compassionate way. Linda: It was because of the care Dad received that made us want to support the Hospice. We know the running costs of the Hospice are millions of pounds each year but we also know that every penny really does help. If the donations given by our family and friends could help just one person then it will have been worthwhile. Ian: We also hope that our fundraising would raise general awareness of the Hospice – there are still lots of people who don’t know what a hospice does, so fundraising can really help in spreading the word. And you never know, it might inspire them to support and donate in the future! Linda: Congratulations Birmingham St Mary’s on reaching your 40th anniversary milestone! We’re quite proud that we’ve been married for 40 years and I hope the Hospice feels proud that it’s been making a difference to other people’s lives for the same amount of time. Ian: Yes, congratulations to the Hospice. Thank you for everything you have done over the past four decades and everything you continue to do. Thank you Linda and Ian for sharing your 40th anniversary story with us. We hope you enjoyed celebrating your milestone anniversary and feel proud that your loved ones have helped raise £113 for the Hospice. If you have been inspired by their story and want to fundraise for the Hospice during our 40th anniversary, sign up to your free fundraising pack which has some fun ideas and helpful tips to get you started.