Making Memories: Christmas at Weston Hospicecare


“When I was about 7 or 8 years old I heard Santa coming into my room on Christmas Eve. He had a sack of presents in his hand and so I hid under the covers, very still. He banged his toe and swore loudly!”


Marjorie Eggleston, 72 from East Brent, has been attending Day Hospice since 2010 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.


“I started coming to Day Hospice to reclaim my co-ordination. I was still functioning of course but I struggled with certain tasks. My Hospice Community Nurse Specialist, Bev Cruse, had been pleading with me to come along since my initial referral to the Hospice in 2008. I used to say to him: ‘No, Bev. Let somebody else have my place – someone who is more poorly!’


“It’s strange to think of a time when I wasn’t part of Day Hospice, because I love coming here so much. I have a lot of Christmas memories at the Hospice. I remember fighting with Tommy – another patient – over the roasties! Tommy used to complain that we weren’t eating ‘proper cabbage’ because it wasn’t dark green. I used to tease him and say that they’d spray it for him! Everybody misses Tommy a lot.”


Marjorie has got an infectious cheeky spirit and confesses that she loves to tease and joke with her friends. “I expect I inherited it from my dad – he was a tormenter,” she says fondly.

Marjorie recalls a particularly funny memory of Peter, the Hospice chef, dressing up as Father Christmas. “He came into Day Hospice and said, ‘Now then, who’s going to sit on my knee?’ My friend who was sat to the right of me said, ‘You wouldn’t dare, Marge!’ Big mistake, Peter! I shot over to him before he could stop me!”

“The Hospice means so much to me. The peace that Day Hospice gives us is amazing. I didn’t think it would be possible but I feel more strongly about it at Christmas due to the care that we receive. We have carols and pantomime, the decorations are put up and we have a Christmas dinner. You can’t replace these girls [the Day Hospice nurses] – they mean so much to us all!”


When asked how she’ll be spending Christmas this year, Marjorie’s face lights up. “I’ve been married for 53 years and my three girls are all grown now but I still like to buy them silly presents for Christmas. Last year they had bubbles and ping pong balls – whilst I received a tank! It makes loud noises and shoots things. It’s brilliant! Christmas is all about children, and even when the children have grown, you need to keep hold of that spirit.”

Marjorie shared her memories as part of Weston Hospicecare’s Make a Memory campaign.


Throughout December, patients, families, staff and volunteers have shared their Christmas memories to raise awareness for those who will be spending Christmas with their loved ones at the Hospice this year. 


You can get involved by sharing your memories on our Facebook and Twitter pages using #makeamemory, or make a donation online at to help raise money for patient care and give local families memories to cherish this year.

Christmas post raises £8,400 for patient care

Weston Hospicecare has seen donations boosted by sales of Christmas cards and stamps.

The charity teamed up with mailing company to offer supporters a 5 pence discount on every Christmas card sent.

As well as a saving for supporters, the Hospice received 8 pence per card. Over 16,000 stamps were purchased raising £1,300.

Along with sales of the charity’s own Christmas cards – which raised £7,100 – they have seen a £8,400 boost in donations which will be used to enhance the lives of patients this Christmas.

Everything the Hospice does – from helping patients with symptom control and nutrition to mobility and relaxation – is free of charge. They are dependent on donations for everything they do.

Gill Auden, Chief Executive of the charity, explains why donations at Christmas are so important: “Our care is all about someone’s experience at the end of their life. We have a pivotal role to play in keeping their pain at bay, which, in the later stages of an illness can be unbearable. Once we have that under control their happiness and well-being is as important as anything else.

“The Hospice feels like home at Christmas and we invest a lot of time and thought into making sure our patients are not missing anything they would normally do at home. Donations at Christmas help us to provide the extra touches that add normality at a time when patients could quite easily feel a greater sense of unrest. Thank you to everyone who chose to reach their loved ones with our help this Christmas – you have made a huge impact on local lives.”

This is the second time the charity has teamed up with Onepost: they raised £400 in 2013.

The charity will be selling their Christmas stamps again in 2015 and all cards are now 50 per cent off in all Hospice shops.

Christmas cheer for local volunteers

Volunteers at Weston Hospicecare have a packed December calendar of events thanks to several events put on by Hospice staff to celebrate their work in 2014.

The countdown to Christmas began with a trip to Bath Christmas Markets followed by two exclusive Christmas Cheer events on 12 and 15 December.

Nearly 100 volunteers and guests boarded the organised coach trip to soak up the atmosphere at Bath’s Christmas shopping haven on 4 December – streets are adorned with 150 wooden chalets selling unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and food items.

Gill Hawkes, a receptionist volunteer at the Hospice, said: “It was a really great trip. The market in Bath is fabulous and the whole place is buzzing with a wintery, Christmas atmosphere. Tickets are so reasonable as well, we only pay for our bus trip so we have plenty left to spend at the market!

“I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, as I do every year and so nice for the Hospice team to organise it for us – they have plenty to do as it is but I know it makes us all feel very valued.”

As well as the annual trip, the Hospice throw Christmas Cheer events in December. All 700 Hospice volunteers are invited to the Hospice for hot drinks, mince pies and to meet all the staff at the Hospice that they work alongside.

Maria Beaton, Volunteer Manager, at the Hospice said: “Our volunteers do so much for us during the year that we want to treat them at Christmas; especially as we won’t see some of them for a few weeks during the Christmas festivities.

“The Christmas Cheer event gives us the opportunity to talk about plans for Christmas, let them know about other Hospice events, especially our upcoming Carol Service, and wish them a very happy time with their families.

“We host events in the summer for volunteers as well and find that it really does make a difference to them – we get lots of great feedback.”

If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer, contact the Hospice on or visit for options.

Neon 5 attracts attention from Portugal

A former resident of Weston-super-Mare flew over from Portugal to take part in Weston Hospicecare’s latest fundraising event. The Neon 5 took place on 25th October and saw 650 participants take to Weston Woods for a colourful 5k walk.


Supporters flooded in from the local area, but one lady made a particularly lengthy journey from Portugal.


Judy, 61, took part in the event – which hopes to raise £30,000 – in memory of her step-father Peter Frost.


Judy said: “In 2002 Peter was diagnosed with cancer and he decided that he didn’t want to go through any gruelling treatments. He was nursed at home by my mother until the final ten days of his life when he was admitted to the Hospice in Uphill. Visiting him there – and it may sound strange – was a pleasure.”


Judy commented on the Hospice services saying: Hospice“Peter very comfortable and able to voice his concerns with people who took the time to sit and explain everything to him. There was no doom and gloom. As a family we felt wonderfully uplifted by this and it made the inevitable end much easier – for him and us”


Judy took part in Neon 5 with her daughter in law, Nikki “She told me that she was going to be joining in with her mother and asked if I would be over from Portugal around that time. I decided there and then that I would be!”


“Our group thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – even more so when you realise that the money being raised is for such a good cause which made slogging through the mud a little easier! I was very happy to have taken part and hope that next year it will be repeated. The organisation was great as well and kept everyone motivated!”

Cheddar gets festive and raises money for local charity

Several stall holders and business raised money for Weston Hospicecare during the town’s annual Festive night on 5th December.

The Bath Arms’ hog roast was a hit, with proceeds going directly to the charity, raising £325. The team from the Hospice shop – which also stayed open late for the occasion, selling Christmas cards, gifts, calendars and winter woollies – were on hand to help them serve the crowds.

Virgin London Marathon runner Jeremy Newsome used the night to add to his fundraising for the big run in April next year. He needs to raise £2,000 in return for his charity place and made a big dent in it thanks to Cheddar locals.

Jeremy said: “All credit really goes to Seb and Julie Simeone, owners of Tuckers Restaurant, who donated mulled wine in return for donations to the Hospice. They raised an incredible £730.

“Tracey Chidzey, landlady at The White Hart, was helped by Ian Moss also giving away mulled wine, cider and entries into a lucky dip – all for charity donations. They raised £158.

“All in all, local businesses and my very supportive friends helped to raise £888 towards my Virgin London Marathon fund. I am so grateful to them for getting me almost to the half way mark!”

Kathryn at Cheddar and District Funeral Directors was promoting the charity’s event Light up a Life. During the night, people could write dedications to loved ones on Lanterns of Life and make donations to the charity. Kathryn and her Mum had prepared hot drinks, mulled wine and mince pies to keep their customers warm whilst they made their dedications.

The funeral directors will keep taking donations for Light up a Life throughout December.

Olly Joseph, Fundraising Manager at Weston Hospicecare said: “It was such a great atmosphere, the Cheddar community does an incredible job every year at their Festive night, with a huge array of stalls, late night openings, delicious food, a visit from Santa and even some snow!

“We were incredibly fortunate to have such great support on the night; people braving the cold for our cause and giving visitors a truly magical, Christmas experience. It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit! Thank you to everyone for such a brilliant evening.”

Cover photo courtesy of Cheddar Valley Gazette.

Hospice Carols: Our festive finale

Weston Hospicecare will close their year of 25th birthday celebrations with a Christmas Carol Service.


The service will be held on Thursday 18th December at 6.30pm in St Paul’s Church on Walliscote Road. The evening will be a traditional mix of carols and readings led by Karen Murphy, Hospice Chaplain.


Karen commented: “We are looking forward to getting our supportive community together to celebrate the Christmas message of peace and hope.”


The Hospice receives a lot of support from the church who are hosting this event for the fourth year running.


This year the local charity has been celebrating their anniversary in a variety of ways including two brand new fundraising events: The Colour Run which took place in April and most recently the Neon 5 in October.


Please come along and join us!

Fayre raises vital funds and Christmas cheer


The Friends of Weston Hospicecare annual Christmas Fayre on Saturday 22nd November raised £2700.


The Hospice in Uphill was transformed into a sparkling market and many visitors came through the doors to browse a great variety of stalls – crafts, toys, plants, beautiful jewelry, home baking and Christmas goodies including Weston Hospicecare’s popular greetings cards.


Santa made an appearance with his sack full of goodies – much to the delight of the children that came along.


Many of the volunteers who ran the Christmas stalls have been helping the charity since it was founded in 1989.


This annual event, organised by the Friends of Weston Hospicecare, raises vital funds which enables the Hospice to continue providing care for the 1 in 100 local people affected by life-limiting illnesses, and their families.


Thank you to H Pitman & Son Funeral Directors, Co-operative Funeralcare Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea, The Waterfall Café (Hutton Garden Centre), Sainsbury’s Worle and Asda Weston-super-Mare who kindly donated items for the raffle and stalls.

Fundraiser Lynette Preston said, “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who baked cakes and savouries and donated items for our Christmas Fayre. We are very fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to make events like this so successful.”


“It was wonderful to see so many members of the public come through the doors, soak up the festive atmosphere and donate so generously. The £2700 raised could fund our Day Hospice for two whole days.”

Classical Cake Off hits the right note


Weston Hospicecare had another successful day of raising awareness and funds, all whilst eating cake, on Sunday 16th November. The Classical Cake Off – which was held in Winscombe Community Centre – was organised by the charity and encouraged supporters to try their hand at baking.


Doors opened at 11am and shortly after guests were joined by The Bristol String Trio who delighted their audience by playing a series of classical music pieces.


£475 was raised on the day with further £100 worth of proceeds coming from Encore Fashions who are kindly donating their day’s trading from Saturday to the Hospice.


Charlotte Oliver – of Charlotte’s Tearoom in Winscombe – gave the two delicious raffle prizes. The specially designed Weston Hospicecare 25th Anniversary cake was won by Ros Garvie who volunteers at the Winscombe shop. The cake was raffled off for a second time in the shop which raised a further £25 for the charity – making the total raised from the event £600.


Alongside the raffle and cake stalls, customers had the chance to start their Christmas shopping with Weston Hospicecare’s popular range of festive cards and calendars for the new year available to purchase.


Gill Auden, Chief Executive of Weston Hospicecare, gave a fantastic speech about the future of Weston Hospicecare, and gave thanks to the community of Winscombe for their generous support this year.


Event fundraiser Blair Chadwick was joined on the day by a team of local volunteers which included members of the Winscombe Community Choir and Hospice staff. Blair commented: “Our first Classical Cake Off was a great success. The event had a real sense of community – and I was even approached by some customers who asked if they can volunteer for us in the future.”

Students plant daffodils at new Hospice

Students from Sidcot School have helped sow the first seeds – or bulbs – to welcome Weston Hospicecare to its new premises at Kildare House (the former HQ of Moose International) in Winscombe. Thirty students and their teachers from the Quaker school donated an afternoon to plant 2,500 daffodil bulbs which have been donated to the Hospice by the .

Sidcot’s Headmaster Iain Kilpatrick who led the budding young gardeners said: “Many of our students had not heard of a hospice before and those who had were somewhat fearful of what it meant for a loved one. They gained a huge amount from volunteering alongside the Hospice team of nurses and doctors and it was a good opportunity for them to learn what a positive and inspirational organisation it really is. It was a real privilege to get involved and I hope this is the start of a very happy relationship between Sidcot and the Hospice.”

Alex Demetriou whose Grandfather, Axentis Michael, was cared for by the Hospice was on hand to represent the Charitable Trust and to help the children plant the bulbs. He said: “Weston Hospicecare is an extremely special place which encourages everyone to make the most out of life. It was great to see the children so full of energy and enthusiasm – I hope that the daffodils will bring a lot of pleasure and will be a lasting reminder of the wonderful work of the Hospice.”

Weston Hospicecare purchased its new premise in Winscombe in May this year. The charity, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014, hopes to be able to move within the next five years.

Chief Executive Gill Auden said: “We were thrilled to receive the donation of bulbs which will brighten the forecourt and drive of our new premises at Kildare House come Spring. To have the pupils from Sidcot there, so enthusiastic, keen to help and learn a  little about the Hospice as well was fantastic. What bright young minds and so wonderful to be able to work alongside our new neighbours. My huge thanks go to Iain, Alex, Kerry and all the pupils for getting involved.”

Winscombe Primary School children will also be planting bulbs for the Hospice in the next few weeks.

Retail Volunteers: A rewarding experience


Local residents are dedicating their free time to Weston Hospicecare. Our organisation has 19 shops in the surrounding areas, which are all supported by groups of loyal volunteers.


“Volunteering gave me a reason to wake up in the morning” confesses Pat Palmer, 78, of Atyeo Close in Burnham on Sea.


“I’m a widow – and so I have a lot of free time – but it’s been a very social experience and I’ve met so many new people.” Pat has been volunteering at the Burnham shop since it opened in 2008 – and says – “It’s such a fun place to be, we have a jolly good time! I’d recommend it to everyone.”


The organisation, which provides specialist palliative care to local people with life-limiting illnesses, has a team of over 700 volunteers working in all aspects of the Hospice. Volunteering comes with many benefits to the individual, which include strengthening your ties to the community and improving your employability.


Tracey Coates, 32, is a registered Job Seeker who volunteers at the Baker Street shop. She says: “I’m currently looking for full time work – and I’ve had similar roles to this in the past – and so retail volunteering means that I’m keeping my hand in the same line of work that I’m looking for.”


Ms Coates of The Barrows, Weston-super-Mare, has been volunteering for just under a year and dedicates four hours a week to the shop. “I felt a bit apprehensive at first – but I feel so comfortable here now. I chose the Baker Street shop because I’ve been in here before – and the manager was always so friendly to me. I would recommend volunteering to people who may be in a similar position to me. I’ve met lots of interesting people, and it feels nice to help local charities. When I’m in full time employment I would like to try and carry on volunteering; it would be hard to give this up!”


The team of volunteers at Weston Hospicecare each have their own personal reasons for doing so – and for Dawn Harvey, 43, it meant a chance to escape the pressures of being a full-time mum. “At the time when I started volunteering I had small children at home and being here gave me an escape of being a mum and a wife. I chose the Whitecross Road shop because my mother used to volunteer here until she passed away.”


Dawn, of Spring Hill Drive in Worle, has been volunteering for eight years and hopes to carry on for many more. “Volunteering gives you somewhere to go, something to do, it gets you out of the house and – like any job – it makes you feel wanted. I love coming here from a selfish point of view – it’s something that is mine and only belongs to me. Volunteering is not about my husband or my kids, which the other 90% of my life is!”


It costs 3 million pounds each year to run Weston Hospicecare, of which 19 percent is government funded. The rest comes from our charity shops, fundraising and donations from the community. Together the volunteers help to save Weston Hospicecare over 1 million pounds a year in salaries, which results in more funds going towards patient care.


Dawn is one of the many people in the local area who has seen first hand the benefits of Weston Hospicecare’s services to patients and their families. “I lost both of my parents to cancer and the Hospice was amazing to us during those times. I’m very appreciative of everything that the charity does and this is my way of giving back. I know that I’m helping a good cause and that feels brilliant.”


Jo Parker, 43, is another resident of Weston-super-Mare who felt the need to give something back to the community, so in 2008 she began volunteering at the Whitecross Road shop. “My sister is the manager of this shop, and I’ve always been a customer of the Hospice shops, so retail volunteering seemed to be the perfect way for me to personally help the cause.”


Jo spends two and a half hours a week helping the shop and her duties range from window dressing, serving customers and sorting donated goods. “Our customers are always praising the Hospice and remarking on what a good job they do, which is lovely for us volunteers to hear and be reminded of.”


Weston Hospicecare has been celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The organisation was founded in 1987 by the local community, and the Hospice has been relying on the kindness and support of the public and volunteers ever since.


Gill Auden, CEO at Weston Hospicecare says,“Volunteers like Pat, Tracey, Dawn and Jo are invaluable to Weston Hospicecare. Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding and it’s a great way to get involved with the community. We are extremely grateful to anybody who has chosen to volunteer for the Hospice. Their help allows us to have more available funds to support the care we provide every year to the thousands of local people affected by a life-limiting illness.”


If you’re interested in volunteering in a Weston Hospicecare shop, contact the team on today.