£1,800 boost for pilgrimage

Sarah Docherty with Rachel Turnedge.
Sarah Docherty with Rachel Turnedge.

A DISABLED girl who died last year was remembered with a fundraiser organised in her memory.

Rachel Turnedge died of pneumonia on her 29th birthday in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, on April 29 last year.

Rachel, who lived in the Rossmere area of Hartlepool with her mum, Pam, suffered with learning difficulties, curvature of the spine and had to be fed through a tube in her abdomen.

An inquest held after her death heard that the RVI hospital failed to notice her quick deterioration and made a number of other failings, as previously reported in the Hartlepool Mail.

She spent many happy years with her support worker Sarah Docherty, who organised a fundraising event and a mass service in her memory this week.

Sarah is a key member of the Hartlepool branch of the national charity, HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust, which takes children and adults with physical and learning disabilities to Lourdes every year.

Rachel was due to be going on the annual trip last year before her tragic death and was a big part of fundraising events in the build up to the trip.

Around 47 young people and adults will be going to Lourdes this year and the fundraiser in Rachel’s memory raised just short of £1,800.

That money will allow people who would not normally be able to afford the trip to be part of it.

Sarah, 19, who works as a carer support assistant and lives in the Brierton area of Hartlepool, said: “Rachel was such a wonderful person who had an impact on a lot of people’s lives.

“She was such a big part of last year’s event and we wanted to do something this year in her memory.

“The mass service before was lovely and the priest said some lovely things, there were quite a lot of tears.

“Then afterwards we had the fundraiser which raised just short of £1,800.”

The Hartlepool branch of HCPT, The Pilgrimage Trust, known as group 527, was set up by Sarah’s auntie Lynn Docherty, around 15 years ago.

Lynn said: “During the day of the event, Sarah had received some difficult news and heard about the death of a friend together with the emotions of Rachel’s forthcoming first anniversary and her birthday.

“However, she showed true grit and carried the night off with great professionalism, Rachel would have been so proud.”

Sarah has now vowed to make the fundraiser an annual event.

The annual trip to Lourdes costs £745 per person so Sarah said the fundraising total is a huge boost to those who are going.

She added: “It’s such a wonderful trip and when people go they want to go back the next year.”

“We go on the pilgrimage every year and as soon as we come back planning starts for the next year.”

For more information or to find out about the Lourdes pilgrimage call Lynn on (01429) 298053.