The family of a man who, for many years, showed continuous support for The Hospice of St Francis joined the 300 dressed santas for the annual Santa Dash on December 15.
Spurred on by the newly re-elected Hemel MP, the Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning paid a fitting tribute to Ralph Harvey, 70, from Hemel, who for many years has supported the Berkhamsted based hospice, dressing as the official Santa for the event, after they cared for his late wife Christine 25 years ago.
Ralph himself sadly passed away at the hospice the week before the 2019 Santa Dash after spending the last two weeks of his life in a bed there.
His daughter Katie Gray, 35, son Stephen, grandchildren Alana, 18, and Josh, 15, and friends made an emotional dash in Ralph’s memory as the eight-strong ‘Team Grandad’.
Katie said: “Over 25 years ago, when I was just a child, my mum became sick and the hospice cared for her – I have memories of visiting as a child and it being such a friendly place.
“My dad thought so highly of the care they provided that as he grew older and us kids needed him around less, he took a very active part in fundraising. In 2008 as a family we took part in our first Santa Dash and he became their official Santa.
“After he was diagnosed with cancer in September he wanted to be at the hospice and we were all so happy as a family that he was there. There was a special ‘Welcome Santa’ sign on his door and a Christmas blanket on his bed and he really perked up. It was so warm and welcoming, Dad had lots of visitors and nothing was too much trouble.
“He’ll be missed by so many but my heartfelt thanks to the hospice for giving him such a wonderful purpose while he was well and taking such fantastic care of him when he wasn’t.
“We did him proud doing the Santa Dash and continuing his support. Meeting so many people he meant so much to was really special too.”