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Every week for 16 years this North Okanagan flower shop has sent bouquets to hospice patients

Mary Spoor has been making up floral arrangements for residents staying at the North Okanagan Hospice House for 16 years.
January 26, 2017 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - Local florists Jake and Mary Spoor say the vases of fresh flowers they give to the Vernon Hospice House each week are a small thing, but to the patients and their families, the thoughtful gift is an enormous gesture.

For the past 16 years, the Spoors have donated a weekly vase of flowers for each resident of the 12-bed hospice house. Jake estimates they have given more than six thousand arrangements over the years. 

“The rooms there are very sparse, and we thought it would be nice for the people there to receive something — with no commitment — just to say hey, people in the community are thinking of you,” Jake says.

Hospice House is a palliative care facility for people who do not have long to live.

All the Spoors know about the residents is their gender, which helps them design the arrangements. Beyond that, the recipients of their gifts are strangers.

“If you were to give out flowers on the street to total strangers you’d probably get a smile. In this case, we deliver them to the patients and hopefully they get a bit of a smile from it,” Jake says.  “This is to cheer them up as much as we can.”

Ruth Edwards, the executive director for the North Okanagan Hospice House Society, says the flowers brighten the spirits of residents, their families and the staff.

“It’s such a wonderful gesture,” Edwards says. “The flowers are just beautiful, all done up with ribbons.”

The flowers last all week until the fresh shipment arrives, Edwards says.

“People who come to hospice are in the last three weeks of life and have had a very stressful time,” Edwards says. “They come to hospice and one of the first things they see is flowers.”

The Spoors opened the Vernon Flower Shop forty years ago, and now run the business with their daughter Melinda Jasott. The family has old roots in the floral business, with Jake’s parents having operated a flower shop in the Netherlands during the 1940s. They never sought any recognition for their weekly floral contributions, rather it was hospice house who posted the story on social media.

Mary and Jake Spoor.
Mary and Jake Spoor.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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