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.

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!”

Brother’s tribute cycle for George

On Friday 31st October 2014, two brothers from Weston-super-Mare started cycling 150 miles from London to Weston in memory of their younger brother, George Ford, who passed away at Weston Hospicecare this year aged 19.


With the support of their friend Chris Heycock, 31 from Milton Road, both Jed, 27 from Elmhurst Road and Tom Gibson, 25 from Victoria Park took on the challenge to pay tribute to their younger brother, George who died after having brain cancer for 14 months.


The journey, which started on Halloween, took the group from The Regency Hotel in London to the Regency Pub in Weston-super-Mare where, upon their arrival at 3.30pm on Sunday 2nd November, they held a fundraising event with many glasses raised in George’s memory.


Speaking about the challenge, Jed said: “It felt really fitting to start the challenge on Halloween as it was George’s favourite holiday. We’re hoping to raise boat loads of money for two great causes: Brain Tumour Research and Weston Hospicecare. The Hospice’s support in George’s final few weeks was just fantastic and this is our way of saying thank you.”


You can still support Jed, Tom and their friends in recognition of their incredible 150 mile cycling tribute to George by visiting or texting JCTB90 £ and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.

Geoff remembers Sheila this Christmas

Facing your first Christmas alone is never an easy experience and for local man Geoff Walford it will be just that, having lost Sheila to cancer in March 2014, his wife of over 60 years.

Since Sheila’s death, Geoff , 85 from Yatton, has become committed to fundraising for Weston Hospicecare , the charity who looked after Sheila, through the Day Hospice and during her stay in the In-patient Unit.

Family and being together was always very important for Sheila, and Geoff recollects that in 2012, after her final radiotherapy session they flew to New York just 4 days later for their Grandson’s wedding.  With all 18 of her family there, Sheila told Geoff, “If I die tomorrow, this can be my wake.”

Geoff is still getting used to the basics again, he has never lived on his own before and the nights are very hard as he misses having Sheila to talk to.

But as Winter approaches, Geoff is now supporting Weston Hospicecare’s Light up a Life Appeal.  Running throughout November and December, Light up a Life gives Geoff and his family a chance to come together and remember Sheila.

Geoff said: “As the cancer progressed, Sheila spent a week in the In-patient Unit and really enjoyed her time there, overlooking the beautiful Hospice garden. She said she wanted to spend her final days at the Hospice. I think she enjoyed the fact that when we were at the Hospice together, we could just spend time being ‘us’.

That’s why I’m so grateful for Weston Hospicecare’s Light up a Life event. It’s a way to help me remember Sheila and to feel close to her again.

I’ve seen the photos and it looks wonderful.  I think Light up a Life is something that will help me take a little step forward. I know Sheila would have loved it. It’s a chance to celebrate a life and join with others who, despite their heavy hearts, want to do the same.”

If you would like to join Geoff and hundreds of local families who have already signed up to remember a loved one this Winter, either by placing a private dedication in Weston Hospicecare’s Book of Remembrance or by taking part in the Lantern ceremony on Sunday 14th December, you can do so by collecting a flyer from any of the Weston Hospicecare shops, on their website or by calling us on .  Light up a Life with Weston Hospicecare this year and let your loved one’s memory shine bright.

Commodore plays host to charity night in memory of Weston mum

Jeannette Eastman’s son and husband – Steve, 53 and Marcus, 83 – held an evening of entertainment at The Commodore Hotel in October, raising £2,500 for charity.

The event – which saw performances from Fabulous Band 2, David ‘Elvis’ Stevens, Julie Sketchley, Jo Hopson and Steve himself with his Wurzels act – was an instant hit, with 90% of tickets being snapped up within two weeks.

The amount raise at the event could run all the services in Weston Hospicecare’s In-patient Unit for a whole day.

Steve – who also hosted the evening – said: “Mum’s wish was to pass away peacefully at Weston Hospicecare. The family decided to hold an evening of entertainment in aid of the Hospice to say thank you for the support and compassion they gave us all.

“It was especially lovely to see Mum’s Hospice nurse, Gwen, at the event. She had looked after Mum throughout her illness and we were so grateful she came, collected the cheque and said a few words about what our support meant to the Hospice. I know it made our guests feel proud of what they had done in her memory.”

Guests were treated to a supper and asked to help raise more funds by entering the raffle, with prizes donated from local companies such as Apple Central Taxis, Weston Hair & Beauty and The Commodore Hotel.

The family also held several car boot sales to raise money and their evening’s total included a donation from Elms Funeral Parlour.

Jeanette’s husband Marcus said: “We wanted to support the Hospice so that other families can benefit like we did. Next year would have been our 60th wedding anniversary so I’m looking forward to the family organising something similar to mark that and raise even more money for the Hospice.”

Family unite to pay tribute to their nan at Neon Five

A Weston family have registered for Weston Hospicecare’s new event, the Neon Five, as a way to pay tribute to their Nan, Julia ‘Vonnie’ White, who passed away from stomach cancer aged 92 at the Hospice in September. Dave McCarthy, along with his sister Clare and niece, Eva will join hundreds of other people who have already signed up to the event which takes place on Saturday 25th October. Speaking about why he is taking part in the Neon Five, Dave said: “Nan was in the Hospice for two weeks before she passed away. She was very well cared for and our family are so appreciative of the care and support that she had. In one instance, Nan was speaking to the Doctor about things that interested her and she mentioned her love of music. The next day, we noticed that someone had put some music in the stereo for her. That little gesture made such a big difference and it was nice to see that, as well as looking after the medical side of things, the Hospice staff also took time to think about the smaller details. My mum received a lot of support from the Doctors and nurses on an individual basis too: they made her aware of what was happening, what to expect and what kind of support groups were available to her as well. Taking part in the Neon Five with my niece and sister is our way of being able to say thank you to Weston Hospicecare as a family.”

The Neon Five is a 5k walk through Weston Woods at night time…with a twist. The course will be illuminated with bright lights, magical props and vibrant music. Winding your way through the twists and turns of the course, you’re invited to fall into Alice’s Wonderland and moon walk through Space Odyssey. Just remember to keep an eye out for any surprises in store!

To register before the closing date on Monday 20th October, visit

Trish’s Story

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.

Debbie’s Story

I always wanted to go to Nepal it was one of my ambitions in life, so when I saw an advert about a Trek to the Himalayas I thought it would be a good think to do. The advert I saw was for another charity, a national one, but I thought if I was going to do this I’d like to do it for a local charity and that’s when I thought of Weston Hospicecare.

I work at Weston College and I thought it would be a great way to get the students involved and make them more aware about the Hospice.

I signed up to the Himalayas Trek two years previously, and it was two years of getting ready and enjoying new hobbies. I gave up smoking and started walking more I even joined a walking group. I decided that I would self-fund so that more money would go to the Hospice. To get into the feel of things, I started training how to do Indian head massages and in the end that’s how I raised most of my sponsor money. I never thought that just by signing up to this challenge, before I had even undertaken it, that I would have gained so many new interests and skills. It’s really broadened my horizons.

Before I knew it I was there, I loved everything about it from the beautiful surroundings to the people. My group was such a diverse range of people from all over the world, we spend 12 days together really got to know each other well. We were all stripped right back to basics, I missed having a shower a bit but it was the only thing I missed. We didn’t even notice that we hadn’t seen ourselves in a mirror for four days until we walked into a tea room with a mirror.

We began our journey with just vest tops it was warm and humid, but by the topped we were completely wrapped up. Every day was different, some days I found it physically challenging and some days it was mentally challenging but we kept each other going on those days. The country was beautiful and the people were so friendly. The best bit was definitely getting to the top it was such an achievement and the views were amazing. It took me ages to come back down after the high it had given me.

I gained so much from this experience I now have friends all over the place, my roommate lives in Switzerland and we bonded throughout and we’ve kept in contact. I also kept in contact with our tour guide and I plan to go back again this summer, I love Nepal.

I want to continue to fundraise and do things for Weston Hospicecare, I’m lucky to never have needed their support but I can still see what a fantastic job they do. I would encourage anyone to take on a challenge that they’ve always wanted to do, just take yourself out of your comfort zone and do it, you’ll gain so much from it.

Will’s Story

My wife Caroline used to love attending Day Hospice, to use her words it was her “sanctuary”. I think it helped her talking to people who knew what it was like – it was a place where she was able to go in relax and be herself.

Throughout Caroline’s illness the Hospice supported us, Amanda and Jan her Community Nurse Specialists would come out to our home and see how she was getting on, if there was anything that needed adjusting to make everything easier. Then when Caroline got more poorly she went in the In-patient Unit, I was amazed by the nurses, and the care that they give day in day out. Their whole attitude was great – they ensured that Caroline’s dignity was respected and that she was never in any pain.

As a family we were always made to feel welcome every time we went in, and never felt like we were in the way, as we have two sons they made it possible for us to try and keep everything as calm and as normal as possible for them.

In 2012, myself and two friends, Stu and Rob, took on the Paris Marathon for the Hospice, in a way it was my chance to give back for the care Caroline was receiving.

On 11th September 2013 Caroline passed away in the In-patient Unit at the Hospice, it was a shock even though she had been with Weston Hospicecare since 2009. I found it very difficult to deal with.

Last April (2014)  Stu, Rob and I finally completed the Virgin London Marathon, which was quite a triumph after missing out on places the previous two years. For me personally it was really tough but with Stu and Rob at my side I got through it. In May we held a Casino Night at Worlebury Golf Club which was a big success and we hope to make it a yearly event.

I decided to fundraise for the Hospice because I wanted to contribute to those services that had helped Caroline and helped us as a family and make sure that they would continue to be there for other families. So far Rob, Stu and I have raised over £8,000 for Weston Hospicecare.

Hannah’s Story

“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.