£2,000 windfall for Hospice patient

A patient, who attends Weston Hospicecare’s Day Hospice has won top prize in their Lottery Superdraw, drawn on Friday 13th December.

George Gardiner (73) who lives locally, regularly supports the Weston Hospicecare lottery and found out he had won £2,000 plus a luxury Christmas Hamper after his winning ticket was drawn.

George said: “When the lottery lady rang up, I thought it was a joke! I’ve never won anything in my life and I was absolutely delighted! I’ve decided to give the £2,000 to my wife as her Christmas present, as for the Christmas Hamper – I’ll see to that!

“I regularly support Weston Hospicecare’s lottery. As a big supporter of Hospice care in general, I see it as a way to keep the care going. I’d play even if I wasn’t benefiting from the  care myself at the moment because it’s so important and needed by so many.

“I buy tickets every time I’m at Day Hospice, I never expected to win though. I look forward to coming into the Hospice every week; the care, company and staff – everything is superb!”

Bev Riddell, Day Hospice Sister said: “We are all ecstatic that one of our patients has won the Lottery Superdraw, especially at this time of the year! We hope that George and his wife enjoy the Hamper and treat themselves to something very nice with the money.”

Visit our Lottery page to find our more about joining, or call .

A message about Christmas stamps

Our Christmas Stamps Appeal has raised more than we could have imagined, with £385 donated to Weston Hospicecare by everyone who chose to send their cards with a Weston Hospicecare stamp!

We have had feedback from a number of you who are concerned by a reply address that was placed on the back of your cards and we wanted to explain that fully here to alleviate any worries. So that we could offer you a saving of 5p and pass on a donation to the Hospice of 8p, the cards were sent via business mail. We were informed a little over a week ago that this method requires a return address. If no return address appears, mail may not be delivered – we did not want that to happen with your Christmas Cards!

As a number of cards had already come in at that point, we were advised to add a reply address to all those that didn’t have one and Onepost – the company who arranged the appeal for us – provided address labels with their own address. That would ensure that all of your cards are delivered, but has now caused some of you to receive calls from your friends and family asking if you have moved. We are so sorry if this has caused inconvenience at what is already a busy time of year. In the unlikely event that people see this address and send post to it, assuming it’s your new one, we wanted to reassure you that Onepost is making arrangements to send it on to us here.

We have never run this type of appeal before and there are always things you don’t foresee first time out so for next year, we’re working with Onepost to make sure that the process is made very clear through leaflets, posters and notices on our website.

Teething problems aside, I hope you’ll agree that it’s been a very worthwhile appeal; raising £385 for Christmas care at the Hospice that we would not have had otherwise. That will provide a week of meals for 4 patients staying with us in our In-Patient Unit over Christmas which is just wonderful. Thank you.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gill Auden, CEO

Nearly 25 years and still going strong

It’s hard to believe that just over 25 years ago Weston Hospicecare was merely a vision to provide palliative care for local people and now we are on the brink of celebrating our 25th Birthday in 2014

Some of the people involved in realising that vision in 1989 are still with us now; Mary and Ivan Armstrong helped to found the Hospice and still volunteer at events, collect lottery entries and Ivan volunteers on our In-patient Unit. It is people like Mary and Ivan who make us understand that the Hospice is not just a building, but a whole community supporting each other. You, our supporters, have played a significant part by supporting the Hospice over the years, and without you we would not be here, so thank you. I will be saying that even more than usual over the coming year – because I really do mean it! It is you that enable us to keep our services running doors open and continue to care for those in the local area who need those services.

Throughout 2014 we will be holding events every month to celebrate and the events you know and love – like the Mendip Challenge – will have a 25th birthday twist. We would love as many people as possible to be involved so keep a look out for these events on our website, in our upcoming newsletters, local press and on social media.

In honour of our impending Birthday, we’ve packed this issue full of stories from those who have shared journeys with us, because who better to show the impact your support makes than the people who have benefited from our care over the years? I hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as I have – their words drive me to work that little bit harder every day.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for everything you have done for us in 2013 and on behalf of us all here, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Gill Auden, CEO

Our Hospice choir get festive at Carol service

If you missed the Hospice choir at St Paul’s Church last week, don’t worry, here are some video snippets from O Holy Night and Silent Night which they performed during the Carol Service. They have done fantastically well under the expert guidance of friend of the Hospice Gemma Bott over the last few weeks and we’re so proud of them.

Like our videos to show your support – it will mean the world to them!

Hannah runs Half-Marathon in memory of mum

“Hans, you are a very brave and courageous young lady who I am so proud to have as my darling daughter, you have helped me so much.”

“This was written in the last letter my mum wrote to me. She was a very witty, wise and beautiful woman who devoted her life to me and my three brothers. In July 2006, my mum Cheryl Keating, passed away aged 48 with ovarian cancer at Weston Hospicecare.

One of her last wishes was to see me in my prom dress, so the nurses urged me to come in to the In-patient Unit, all dressed up! I am sure she fought for her life just so she could see me in my dress, knowing she could never see me in my wedding dress. “How beautiful”, she said; a special moment I will never forget.

The services offered to my mum were second to none and helped myself, my brothers and the rest of our family through such a traumatic time. The nurses talked us through every stage and what to expect. They knew when it was time and gave us all a chance to say goodbye to a wonderful woman who will never be forgotten.

I had two drivers in running the Bristol Half marathon which I took part in on 15th September, this year. Firstly, my determination to complete it which has always been a dream of mine and secondly, to raise £2,000 for Weston Hospicecare so I can help others who have a life-limiting illness and need the special care only the Hospice can provide.”

Hannah you took on a great challenge and like your Mum we are incredibly proud of you. Thank you so much for completing the Bristol Half Marathon for us and raising a fantastic £2,250!  This money will help to fund our services so that we can continue to help local people like Hannah’s mum, Cheryl.

Every moment counts. Every action counts. Because you count

Weston Hospicecare was one of more than 100 hospices across the UK who took part in this year’s Hospice Care Week – the annual awareness week is run by Hospice UK, the UK charity for Hospice care. (Monday 7th – Sunday 13th October)

The aim was to raise greater awareness about the vital role that local hospices play in meeting the increasing demand for palliative care.

A range of events and activities took place during the week – some of our shops held cake sales and raffles, we held cash collections across Weston including the High Street, The Campus, Sainsbury’s, Weston RFC and Hornets RFC.

A big thank you to all our volunteers, staff, venues who helped us and a big thank you to the Asda Community Life Fund which donated the final £60!

Thanks to all your support we hit our target of £1,000 for Hospice Care Week!

Trish’s Appeal

In October, Trish Philpott wrote a letter to you all, it was an appeal for donations to enable our Community Nurse Specialists to continue supporting local people living with a life-limiting illness.

Trish lost her husband Simon in January this year, after only being married four days.

“Simon was my all. He swept me off my feet the first time I met him. Just three months later, cancer changed everything.

“Weston Hospicecare scooped us up and gave us support for the time we had left together.Gwen our Hospice Community Nurse Specialist helped me to manage, it never felt like she was just visiting because Simon had cancer. She always felt like a friend, making sure we were okay.”

“Our wedding day was 28th December 2012, we just wanted everyone we loved to be there – including Gwen. Simon’s speech was wonderful. He was gravely ill and on a lot of medication, but he stood up and talked about the wonder of life and how we should all appreciate our lives.

“Just three days after our wedding, the Hospice nurses were there for us again. It was New Year’s Eve and we had to call an ambulance to take us to the In-patient Unit.

“At midnight as I sat by his bed I heard the church bells toll. I remember thinking back to the year before. How we’d been so happy and talked about all the things we’d do together. Yet a year later, there I was, once again planning my future, but this time without him.

“It’s still hard to know how I feel, or to put things into words. But I know I want to do everything I can to support the Hospice in helping other people like Simon.”

So far Trish’s Autumn Appeal has raised £3,000! It was difficult for her to share her story with us all, but Simon always wanted to do good, this is her way of helping him do just one more good thing–we’re so grateful, thank you Trish, from all of us.

Hospice helps budding young designer

Kirstie Arthur is 24 and has recently graduated from Weston College with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design. During her final project Kirstie chose to work closely with the Hospice.

“My Mum was cared for by Weston Hospicecare and passed away there in 2010. I never forgot what they did for her and so, for my final project I chose an area that was personal to me.

I worked on an awareness campaign to do with charity shops. I realised shops are a main source of income for Weston Hospicecare and I wanted to come up with ways to encourage younger people to shop there. Using surveys completed by staff at Weston Hospicecare shops, I designed a pop up installation, a ‘POP IN’ charity shop, that could be easily assembled and transported from shop to shop.

When I exhibited my ‘POP IN’ charity shop at New Designers in London – using items from Hospice shops as display props –The Design Council loved my concept! I’ve had interest from several designers and as a result I have been working on a few freelance projects, while I look for a more permanent agency job!

I really enjoyed working with the Hospice, they helped a great deal and my project would not have been a success without the help and feedback from everyone at Weston Hospicecare.”

It was a pleasure to help Kirstie with her final project and to see her receive the recognition she deserves for all the hard work she put in to it. She has an incredible talent for design and we see lots of success in her future! Well done Kirstie.

Couple renew vows in Hospice Chapel

Don Steward has been a patient in Day Hospice for over 7 months and has become good friends with his group and the staff there. Jen, Don’s wife of 43 years, has also gotten to know them over the months, so when the couple decided to renew their wedding vows and have their marriage blessed in the Hospice Chapel, their friends here at the Hospice were able to share their celebration.

“I was talking to Karen, the Hospice Chaplain, during one morning in Day Hospice, telling her that Jen and I had always wanted to renew our wedding vows. I was upset that we had never achieved this. Karen said, ‘I can do that here for you here’. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to tell Jen, although she was a little anxious about what it all meant.”

“It felt bitter sweet to me”, said Jen, “I didn’t want to think about our marriage blessing in the context of the Hospice, and how our lives are linked to it. After discussing it with Don, I soon came to see how wonderful the idea was.”

Don was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2012. Despite having several rounds of chemotherapy, which proved to be unsuccessful, he then had a few months on a growth inhibitor drug, which was also unsuccessful.

“I was so anxious about coming to Day Hospice. I figured it would be a load of people sitting round staring at each other, worrying about their illnesses. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have a blast every time I come in. That’s important. The consultant at the Hospice tells me all the time how humour is a great healer. So I’ve made it my mission to make everyone laugh and go home happy. It makes me feel better to see all of them feeling better.

“Some of the nurses and volunteers have told me I’m the resident trouble maker – but I’m alright with that!”

In special circumstances, we can sometimes access funding for our patients and their families for a break, or some time away. We were able to do this for Don and Jen and surprise them by paying for their stay at the Beachlands Hotel after their blessing.

“I am so grateful to the Hospice, not just for the ceremony, but for their constant care and friendship. I’m a huge advocate of everything they do for me and everyone else who comes into contact with them.”

We were thrilled to share in Don and Jen’s special day, a new memory for a couple who have shared so many together. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Steward!

The latest on the Wellbeing Centre

The first stage is complete – we now have eightnew parking spaces to cater for the centre!

As the centre is a modular construction, much of the construction work is carried out off-site so the centre will be delivered in sections and put together on-site. We are expecting this to happen at some point in December.

Once assembled, the Wellbeing Centre will be decorated and new equipment and furnishings added. All work should be completed by March 2014 and the Centre will be up and running not long after this. When finished, the Wellbeing Centre will provide three therapy rooms, a comfort room, a break-out room and a group therapy room. This will allow us to offer more services and complementary therapies to our patients. We hope you will come along and celebrate with us when we officially open the centre to see what a wonderful addition it is.