Patricia Gall, along with Hospice Shop manager and friend Jessica Sinclair, is delighted with the great photo given to her by photographer Andy Jackson for her many years growing plants for Hospice Taranaki. Photo: Andy Jackson
When Patricia Gall, a longtime supporter of Hospice Taranaki, received a large photo of herself as a thank you for growing and donating plants, she was overwhelmed and thrilled.
“It’s me all the way,” the 93-year-old exclaimed during a surprise morning tea party at her Merrilands home in New Plymouth. “Thank you, thank you, thank you – it’s absolutely breathtaking for me to have this.”
Gall’s picture was taken in 2020 by photographer Andy Jackson for a Stuff story focusing on his plant donation efforts and was going to be in the upcoming New Zealand photojournalism charity auction for Hospice Taranaki.
“It was one of the first photos I thought of, obviously with the link with the Hospice,” he told Gall. “It was going to be part of the auction, but we thought it would be best to come to you and your family.”
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“It’s absolutely breathtaking,” says Gall, who started growing plants for Hospice Taranaki’s Westown shop in 2006.
About 30,000 seedlings and 16 years later, Gall hung up his shovel this year.
For morning tea, Taranaki Hospice Community Partnerships Manager Rose Whitaker and Hospice Shop Manager Jessica Sinclair arrived with a basket of muffins for Gall, who delivered his plants every Monday around 7:30 a.m. .
“I miss you coming with your plants,” Sinclair said. “I don’t have anyone to replace you, so we’re a bit short on plants.”
“I don’t know what got me started, but it was a great pleasure for me to do this,” says Gall.
At times, he misses his charitable efforts. “Just one day or another I thought ‘I wish I had continued doing this’.”
Sinclair says Westown’s hospice store, one of Taranaki’s five, sees 300 to 400 sales a day. “It doesn’t count people walking in and watching.”
Whitaker says area hospice stores are a staple in fundraising for Hospice Taranaki, a free hospice service. “Hospice shops provide our second largest income after our government’s funding from Health NZ.”
Funding for the hospice is split between the government providing 45% through a contract with Te Whatu Ora Taranaki (formerly Taranaki District Health Board) and 55% from the community, which includes shops.
This year, due to the Covid pandemic, there have been fewer fundraising efforts by community groups, meaning Hospice Taranaki faces a shortfall of around $1.1 million. of dollars.
Upon hearing of the dire financial situation, veteran photographer Rob Tucker decided to take action, calling on the “fraternity” of photojournalism “to donate images for an auction.”
More than 120 photos went under the hammer at the Plymouth International Hotel on September 24 to raise money for Hospice Taranaki, which is caring for Tucker, who has terminal cancer.
Tickets are on sale now and available from Plymouth International or online at photojournalismnz.co.nz.