Harrison Family Honour Mark’s Legacy

Susan and Michael with their son, Mark

We're pleased to announce the return of our Memories On the Lake event, following the success of last year's inaugural event, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees. 

The heartfelt occasion is taking place at Thompson Park in Burnley on Saturday, 18th May. The event invites everyone to come together, 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 also 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, we're honoured to have the support of the Harrison family. Susan, Michael and their son, Paul, share their story, having tragically lost their son and brother, Detective Mark Harrison to bowel cancer in September 2021.

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

In August 2020, Mark received the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 bowel cancer. Susan remembers the day vividly, stating, "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 Royal Blackburn Hospital for a potential clinical trial, but he was not eligible due to his subsequent test results. Care and support was put in place for him at home to ensure Mark was comfortable and receiving the right level of medication. 

Mark with his wife, Lindsay, and son, Joshua

During Mark's final week, the family remained united by his side. How someone dies can have a lasting impact on the family, but surrounded by his loving family—his wife, Lindsey, and their son, Joshua—Mark found inner peace. 

We aim to honour the memory of Mark, fondly referred to as "Harry" by those close to him. He was deeply loved and respected by many, and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to his family, and to his career in the police force.”

Mark spent 16 years with Lancashire Constabulary, 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.

After he passed away, Susan and 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 with Simon. Their responsiveness and support were exceptional, and I'm grateful for their help. You can't find that level of support elsewhere."

Mark's father, Michael adds, "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 Harrison, with his brother, Paul - Copy

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 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 our Memories On the Lake event page.