A Padiham police officer, who died after a bowel cancer battle in 2021, is to be remembered at a hospice event.

The family of Mark Harrison, who died aged 36, say the hospice helped them even when they were 'overwhelmed with despair'.

Pendleside Hospice’s Memories On the Lake event is set to return on May 18.

The event invites everyone to come together, at Thompson Park in Burnley, irrespective of their prior connection to the hospice, to honour their lost loved ones.

The event will feature live music, a poignant service, and a variety of food stalls.

Participants will have the opportunity to personalise lanterns, which will be gently placed onto the lake within Thompson Park, creating a beautiful spectacle of remembrance and reflection.

This year the family of Mark, a Padiham police officer, will share their story and experience with grief at the event.

The family is set to reflect on the challenging journey they faced during Mark's illness, highlighting the importance of accessible bereavement support, which Pendleside Hospice continues to offer to individuals and families coping with loss.

Lancashire Telegraph: (L-R) Susan, Michael and Mark Harrison(L-R) Susan, Michael and Mark Harrison (Image: Pendleside Hospice)

In August 2020, Mark received the devastating diagnosis of stage four bowel cancer. Susan, Mark’s mum, remembers the day vividly and said: "Mark began experiencing pain and discomfort about a month before his diagnosis.

“After a couple of visits to his GP, Mark underwent both an ultrasound and CT scan, and a week later, he received the heart-breaking news from the doctor.

"Upon hearing the news, he immediately reached out to me, and his dad and I rushed to his side to offer support.

“Mark started chemotherapy as soon as possible, but by July 2021, we were informed that it was no longer working. Despite the setback, Mark remained hopeful, with clinical trials offering a glimmer of potential.

“Drawing from my own medical background, I felt grateful for being able to support Mark and our family, but my experience proved to be both a blessing and a curse, as I understood the gravity of Mark's illness.”

After the chemotherapy had stopped, Mark was admitted to Blackburn Hospital for a potential clinical trial but he was not eligible due to his subsequent test results.

Care and support were put in place for him at home to ensure Mark was comfortable and receiving the right level of medication.

During Mark's final week, the family remained united by his side. Surrounded by his loving family— his wife, Lindsey, and their son, Joshua— Mark found inner peace. 

Lancashire Telegraph: (L-R) Lindsey, Joshua and Mark Harrison(L-R) Lindsey, Joshua and Mark Harrison (Image: Pendleside Hospice)

Mark spent 16 years with Lancashire police, starting as a PCSO in Nelson before becoming a Detective in 2019.

Outside of work, he cherished family time and often joined in work events. Each year, the family gathered in Northumberland, renting a large house to enjoy time together by the sea.

Mark was a passionate supporter of Burnley FC, holding a season ticket and attending every match alongside his Grandad and brother, Paul.

Additionally, he showcased his skills as a player, participating in multiple football teams.

In 2022, retired Burnley footballers came together to take part in a charity match in memory of Mark.

After he died Susan and Mark’s dad, Michael, admitted to feeling numb, knowing life would never be the same again.

Susan said: "Grief affects everyone differently. After Mark passed away, I received counselling, which provided some relief. But one day, I felt overwhelmed with despair. I called Pendleside Hospice, and they quickly arranged sessions

“Their responsiveness and support were exceptional, and I'm grateful for their help. You can't find that level of support elsewhere."

Michael said: "Susan persuaded me to seek help from the Hospice not long after. I wasn't sure what to talk about once I got there, but Andrea put me at ease right away.

"With her support, I compiled photos of Mark and our family, creating a collage of cherished memories.

“Despite my frustration at the time lost with Mark, the guidance offered helped me confront and manage my emotions"

Mark's brother, Paul, and other family members have recently sought counselling sessions from the Hospice, underscoring the varied impact of grief across different stages of life.

This emphasises that there's no set timeline or a prescribed way for individuals to experience grief; it's a deeply personal journey that unfolds differently for everyone.

Susan, Michael and Paul along with their family will be in attendance at the Memories On the Lake event, where they'll lay down the first lantern in memory of Mark. 

If you wish to find out more and to get involved in the upcoming event, please visit the hospice's Memories On the Lake event page.