In 2011 the Across office received a letter informing us of a legacy from Miss Bridget Smith. On checking our records, we discovered that Bridget has travelled with us just once in 2009, to Lourdes. The Across experience clearly made a profound impression on Bridget, since she subsequently wrote a will that left her entire estate to Across and other charities. The share of Bridget’s estate that Across received has totalled over £1 million over the past few years, a truly extraordinary gift. We ask pilgrims to Lourdes to remember Bridget in their prayers, and give thanks for her life and generosity – amongst other things Across was able to purchase a new mini Jumbulance costing over £100,000, which provides comfortable travel in and around Lourdes for all our pilgrims. Thanks to Across supporters and helpers Bridget was able to experience a wonderful week in Lourdes, and she graciously chose to pay that forwards by supporting others in doing the same.
Gerry Coogan a long-standing supporter of Across, travelling for many years as a helper with the Bailleston group near Glasgow. For a number of years he was also a volunteer driver for us, bringing groups the first few hours out of Scotland before handing over to our other drivers headed for Lourdes. Gerry’s devotion to Our Lady and commitment to Lourdes set a profound example to those around him, and he maintained his enthusiasm for Across despite battling health issues. After his death in late 2015 his family contacted Across to advise that they were making a donation from his estate of £4000. These funds have been allocated to produce a Lourdes prayer and hymn book for Across pilgrims which will be printed shortly and will be dedicated to his memory.
Dr Caroline travelled a number of times on Across pilgrimages to Lourdes, providing her medical and clinical expertise to care for and support many VIPs travelling with us. On her death in 2014 Across received a legacy of £60,000 from Dr Duff’s estate. In the light of her professional background, Across agreed with her family that her legacy would be used to found a nurse’s fund to subsidise all nurses who travel. Encouraging medical professionals to travel with Across is a continued challenge, since they are being asked to give up their free time to do the job they do every day, whilst paying to travel. Dr Duff’s legacy ensures that we can encourage nurses to travel and provide much needed clinical and nursing care for everyone, irrespective of their needs. Subsidising nurses is a continual requirement and vital part of our funding needs.