June 2022 - East Cheshire Hospice

Alison takes to the skies for East Cheshire Hospice

The bravery shown by her patients will act as a spur for Alison Arnold when she faces her own fears.

Alison will join other daredevils in a wing walk in aid of East Cheshire Hospice where she is a health care assistant.

Alison joins two other Hospice @Home team colleagues inspired to get involved with fundraising activities by the courage shown by the patients they visit.

Jo Helm undertakes a Sahara trek later this year, while Elaine Taylor is having a sponsored head shave.

Seeing how patients and their families cope with the challenges at end-of-life, supported by the Hospice, motivated them.

Alison, who joined the Hospice in January, said: “I’d worked in the community a lot with vulnerable people in different kinds of roles, but never with those at end-of-life.

“I just instantly connected with patients, realising that not long into my second week.

“Until then I’d always been a little bit frightened about death and when my dad Peter passed away in 2017, I didn’t understand the different stages he was going through with his cancer.

“There was no-one there explaining it to me, so wasn’t able to make such a good connection with him towards the end of his life.

“When I started working at the Hospice I was absolutely blown away by the dignity and respect paid to people at end-of-life and how we support them to have a good death.

“I just feel really proud to be working for the Hospice. It’s a privilege and humbling.

“Working with such caring and compassionate people, I felt settled the minute I entered the Hospice so it was important to me to try to do something.”

Alison Arnold who is part of the Hospice @Home team which goes out to visit patients.

Friend John Mycoe will be there to see Alison sit on top of a 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane over a  Gloucestershire airfield on July 11.

Alison said: “I’ve a fear of heights, so the first challenge for me is getting up the ladder to climb on to the plane.

“I’ve seen frightened patients facing their fears head-on in the latter stages of life and can’t know what that’s like, but this is my way of connecting with fear and trying to overcome it.

“I’m very cautious – the most daring thing I’ve done is climb Mam Tor. Colleagues who’ve done the wing walk said it’s a wonderful experience and I won’t regret it.”

* To sponsor Alison visit justgiving.com/fundraising/alison-arnold19

Adlington Tea Room Takeover is back for this summer!

Enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon tea room treat at Adlington Hall this summer and help East Cheshire Hospice.

The charity’s volunteers are serving hot drinks and home-made cakes every Sunday between 2 pm and 5 pm until August 28.

The only exception in July 24 when the venue is closed for a private event.

All proceeds go to the Hospice which raised £1,823 last summer from the venture.

Catering is provided in the traditional tea room in the main building at Adlington Hall, set in  picturesque grounds.

Hospice volunteers (from left) Velda Price, Simon Price, Paige Lester and Liz Donoghue prepare to serve guests at Adlington Hall.

Guests do not need to book teas and, if they wish, can also pay to walk through the hall and gardens at one of England’s finest country homes.

Adlington has been the ancestral home of the Legh family for more than seven centuries.

Camilla Legh is a Hospice Vice President and has volunteered for the charity for several years, helping with flower arranging.

She opened up the extensive gardens in March for the charity’s Memory Walk.

Hospice Community Fundraiser Carley Macey said: “The tea room is an ideal setting and we hope everyone who goes along enjoys the amazing home-made cakes prepared by our volunteers.

“By supporting this initiative, it’s a great way to support your local hospice.”

Adlington Hall is available all year for pre-booked group tours of 20 people minimum. For details visit adlingtonhall.com

Highlights include The Great Hall which houses The Great Organ, arguably one of the country’s most important 17th century musical instruments.

Volunteering at Chestergate shop

Volunteering is how Sue Brumby is repaying East Cheshire Hospice for caring for her late husband Lawrence.

He died in 2017 and spent four nights at the Hospice, just three months after the Macclesfield couple had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The care for Lawrence (68), who worked for ICI, was so good that Sue wanted to stay within the Hospice family.

Hospice volunteer Sue Brumby at the Chestergate charity shop.

Sue said: “Lawrence had an inoperable liver tumour and nothing could be done for him.

“The Hospice went that extra mile and I was able to stay with him at the Hospice. I wanted to give something back since they were so kind to our family.”

Sue worked for Tesco for almost 25 years before retiring, retail skills which are now being put to good use at the charity’s shops at Thornton Square and Chestergate.

Sue said: “I volunteer one morning each week at both shops. The Chestergate shop has a completely new look and it’s great to welcome our customers back.”

Chestergate reopened last month after closing due to the pandemic.

Hospice commercial manager Louise Delaney said: “Sue’s an example of the support and dedication shown by the community towards the Hospice.

“We couldn’t do without our volunteers and if there’s anyone else out there who wants to give time please get in touch.

“The Chestergate store is also in need of donations of clothing and accessories. We’d also like electrical items, but no toys and books.”

Any interested volunteers can call 01625 511997.

New to the team, Lindsey Rial

One of Lindsey Rial’s first engagements after joining East Cheshire Hospice was to attend a royal engagement with Prince Charles!

The Hospice’s new Senior HR Advisor joined her ex-boss Andrew Hodgson at a special VIP thank you function at St James’s Palace.

Wine and canapes were served to around 200 guests in recognition of their services to community pharmacy during the pandemic.

Lindsey Rial and Andrew Hodgson who were  royal guests as a thank you for their services to community pharmacy.

The inoculation programme at Andrews Pharmacy, on Kennedy Avenue, Macclesfield,  was one of the success stories of the mass vaccination roll-out.

It was one of the first three community pharmacies nationwide to start giving jabs 18 months ago  and has administered up to 200,000 doses since.

Up to 600 jabs a day were given initially as part of an operation involving more than 170 staff and volunteers. Nurses from the Hospice helped out at a time when their Sunflower Centre was closed.

Lindsey, who was then HR and business manager at Andrews, said: “It was a real thrill for Andrew and me to be invited. I was the only non-health care professional there – everyone else was a pharmacist or doctor.

“Working on the vaccination project was the highlight of my career and I don’t think I’ll ever top what we’ve done there, which had a great impact on the community.

“It is a massive achievement for everyone and not just the vaccination clinic. The pharmacy staff had to deal with 500 people a day walking through the door and at the beginning prescriptions were delivered to vulnerable patients told to stay at home. Our volunteers were a major part of that operation.”

Andrews still administers around 200 Covid jabs a day to the young and old. Lindsey is helping out there once a week initially before a full-time switch of jobs to the nearby Hospice.

“I felt I couldn’t go any further in that role and wanted to concentrate on my HR knowledge here at the Hospice.

“Working with the girls from the Sunflower Centre showed me what a lovely place this is and completely took away any stigma about Hospice care.

“It’s an opportunity I couldn’t miss and part of my role is looking at support for ward staff dealing with end-of-life care.

“That aspect can make recruitment difficult at times, but the nurses here will tell you it’s such a wonderful place to work. Our website lists vacancies and we’re always looking for bank staff.”

Could you take on a marathon or half marathon walking challenge?

Could you walk from Warrington, or Knutsford, all the way to Macclesfield?

That is what fundraisers are undertaking on Saturday, July 2, as part of a new Hospice to Hospice hike.

Some are walking 13 miles from The Cottons Spa and Hotel, Knutsford, to East Cheshire Hospice, while others are covering twice that distance from St Rocco’s Hospice in Warrington.

Karyn Johnston (right), Chief Executive of East Cheshire Hospice with her opposite number Sonya Currey, from St Rocco’s Hospice. 

The Hospice has teamed up with St Rocco’s for the novel challenge which sees its supporters walk in the opposition direction, the two groups crossing over somewhere in between.

Participants must be 16 or over and those 16 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Entry is £25 and it is hoped walkers will raise £250 in sponsorship for the Hospice.

Its Challenge Events Co-ordinator Bethan Wade said:  “The event is exceptionally challenging and requires a reasonable fitness level and training.

“Our team and volunteers will welcome all hikers early on the Saturday morning and provide everyone with a cooked breakfast to set them up for the day.

“You’ll then by taken by coach to your start point and provided with a map and directions. There’ll be marshals, checkpoints, water stations and toilets en route.

“The route is through Ollerton, Chelford and Henbury and offers fabulous views across Cheshire. There’ll be a warm welcome, including snacks, drinks and a medal, at the finish line at East Cheshire Hospice.”

Email queries events@echospice.org.uk or to sign up go to the Hospice website.

Hospice Nurse Elaine takes on head shave

Caring for a dying patient changed the way Elaine Taylor thought about working in end-of-life care.

It was not long after she had joined East Cheshire Hospice last August that she visited a woman of similar age who had lost all her hair.

Elaine had spent 20 years looking after the elderly, ideal qualifications to work for the charity’s Hospice @Home team as a Health Care Assistant.

But that one patient, in particular, had a huge impact on Elaine.

Elaine Taylor who is having her head shaved. 

She said: “That lady had quite an effect on me.  She had children and a dog like me. She was really poorly, but so positive and when she passed away it really affected me.

“I’d never worked in that kind of end-of-life care before and it made me doubt whether I could continue doing that job.

“Was it too emotional? Was I strong enough to deal with it? Could I not care for people at end-of-life and see it for what it really is? I thought that could be me in that bed.

“But after a while to settle in, everything fell into place.

“It’s still sad and not easy at times, but you’re giving someone end-of-life care and a good death. We’re also there to support the family and ensure that person is pain-free. They know they’re being cared for and feel safe.

“It’s been a massive 10 months and I can’t ever imagine doing anything else. This will be it until I retire.

“The Hospice is amazing and it’s a privilege to care for patients like we do in the community.”

Elaine’s experience has inspired her to have her head shaved on July 2 to raise fund for the Hospice.

She said: “I could raise money other ways, but that wouldn’t mean anything to me personally. A head shave will because of that lady and others since then who had no choice whether they lost their hair.

“I’m doing this to support them and won’t be hiding away afterwards under a scarf or hat. I’ll explain this is what happens to people and hopefully they’ll sponsor me.

“I spend a lot of time and money on my hair and look after it. When I told my hairdresser I was doing it, she tried to talk me out of it and do something else, but then she realised how much it means to me.”

*  To support Elaine visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Elaine-Taylor40

Art Fair Cheshire Success

Art Fair Cheshire returned in style with art lovers hailing its success.

The prestigious exhibition, run by volunteers and in aid of East Cheshire Hospice, ended on Sunday (June 5).

Visitors admired over 1,000 pieces of artwork, including a display by Bollington artist Sue Asbury whose exhibit won a Cheshire Life award.

Artist Jennie Gaywood with her work on display at Art Fair Cheshire 2022

Judges included Hannah Williamson, from Macclesfield, curator at Manchester Art Gallery for 11 years.

Hannah said: “The standard of exhibits at this year’s fair was once again of the highest quality showing the immense artistic talent out there.”

Artists donated at least 40 per cent of sales to the Hospice which will help support its art therapy unit, run by Fay Mitchell, who was also a judge.

Art Fair Cheshire, with AstraZeneca and Little Greene as headline sponsors, was last held in 2019.

From left, judge Hannah Williamson; Art Fair co-chair Georgie Johnson; Cheshire Life editor Joanne Goodwin;  Art Fair co-chair Steven Dalton and East Cheshire Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said: “We’re very lucky to work with some fantastically creative and talented people. We’d like to thank our sponsors, volunteers, artists and curators for supporting the Hospice.”

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “The galleries are amazing. An unbelievable amount of voluntary work has gone into staging the event and I’d like to thank all those involved.

“The Hospice only receives 12 per cent of its income from the NHS and needs to raise the rest, so this is one of the major events in our fundraising calendar.”

Exhibitors included Celia Davies, from Whalley, Lancashire, who runs art classes on cruise ships. She said: “This is my first visit here and having exhibits helps raise the profile of my work.”

An oil painting called ‘A Dream in Motion’ by Lara Balcerzak, from Manchester, featured in an emerging artists gallery. Lara said: “I’ve always wanted to be an artist and got my art degree in 2019.  It’s nice to have my work displayed at such a prestigious art fair.”

Winners of the Cheshire Life gallery awards, presented by editor Joanne Goodwin, were:

Assembly Gallery: Ghislaine Howard, Olga Geoghegan, Sue Asbury. Capesthorne Gallery: Francesca de Campora, Rachel Cooke. Emerging Artists: Sarah-Joy Ford.

Artwork on display in Macclesfield Town Hall

Toni’s Hospice Journey

A bride’s wedding day is always special, but for Toni Walsh it was an even more emotional occasion.

She knew her husband Tim Longden had only days left to live.

The Macclesfield couple were married at East Cheshire Hospice in February 2020, weeks after Tim had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

They had been together for 12 years, having known each other for 20 years.

Toni popped the question while Tim lay in a hospital bed, just before he was told nothing more could be done.

Tim was transferred to the Hospice where the chaplain made wedding arrangements for the following day.

A social media appeal for help to make their day special prompted a flood of donations.

Tim and Toni on their wedding day.

Toni said: “The support from the community was overwhelming. It was absolutely amazing. I had six offers of wedding dresses and two people stayed up all night making wedding cakes.

“We were supplied with a buffet and I had my hair and make-up done. Tim couldn’t walk by then so they wheeled him into the chapel for our blessing.

“Our wedding was on the same day as my mum Kath’s birthday and she’d died the year before aged 64.

“It was a lovely day under the circumstances.  Tim hadn’t really got any symptoms before. He’d just started missing words and slurring his speech and thought he might have had a stroke.

“He managed to say his name and ‘I do’ and was aware what was happening. Then, unfortunately, he went downhill and died 12 days later.”

The couple worked for BT for many years and after Tim’s death at the age of 50, Toni left to volunteer at the Hospice’s charity shop in Poynton.

She is now assistant manager at its Thornton Square store where customers have generously donated in a bucket for a fundraising challenge.

Toni at Thornton Square charity shop where she is assistant manager.

Toni, with Tim’s sister Rachel Richards and her husband Mark, are trekking across the Sahara in November in a Hospice event.

Toni said: “We’re calling ourselves The Three Camels. I’m so unfit and it’s a massive task for me in the heat, but it’ll be an amazing experience in Tim’s memory and I want to give something back to the Hospice.

“The support I’ve had in the shop has been incredible and I can’t thank the community enough for the spirit and love shown two years ago and ever since.”

Toni Walsh with in-laws Rachel and Mark Richards. 


*To sponsor them visit www.justgiving.com/team/wwwjustgivingcomfundraisingThree-camels

Margaret Lillis Obituary

Margaret Lillis: a headteacher turned chaplain who walked humbly with thousands of relatives.  

Always interested in the human condition, Margaret Lillis had a gift that made her an attentive listener who connected profoundly with those experiencing life challenges. It was a gift she generously shared with so many over more than 50 years firstly as a Catholic Sister, teacher/headteacher, Diocesan Schools Advisor and most recently as Chaplain at East Cheshire Hospice.

Margaret, who died peacefully aged 74 on 21 May 2022 after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer earlier, leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those whom she helped throughout her life.

A woman of deep faith, she joined the Ursuline Convent, Brentwood in her native Essex in 1966, and after 20 years Margaret decided to follow her vocation outside the religious order but still very much following its charism. In 1986 she came north, first teaching in Warrington before taking up a post at St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Macclesfield Margaret was appointed Headteacher at St Paul’s Primary in Poynton in 1997, a position she relished. Realising that her talents could be used for the benefit of many more children and schools, she was asked to be the Assistant Director of Schools for the Shrewsbury Diocese which she did until she retired in 2011.

Having served others her whole life, Margaret didn’t take well to retirement, so she started to volunteer on the wards at East Cheshire Hospice, making tea and chatting to patients and family members. Her gift as a listener was spotted by the hospice chaplain who asked her to join the chaplaincy team and when he relocated to West Yorkshire in 2016, Margaret was the obvious choice to replace him in the lead role.

Admitting the job could be very challenging, but despite the all-consuming nature of her work Margaret also described it as “the greatest privilege I’ve ever had.” She made herself available 24/7 for patients, family members, staff and volunteers and on the odd occasion she went home, she could be heard saying ‘I’m leaving now, but I can always come back’ which was much appreciated by the thousands of patients and family members who received her special brand of compassion.

Not having children of her own, Margaret felt blessed to be an aunt, great-aunt, Godmother and Great-Godmother, roles she took on with gusto and brought love and laughter to all the precious young people in her life.

Margaret loved relaxing by playing her guitar, in fact music and musicals were a constant source of entertainment throughout her life, and she never missed an opportunity to get a room full of people singing.

Her Christian faith was very important to her, but she never assumed anything about others’ spirituality. She joined everyone on their journey and walked beside them at their own pace. She was guided in her ministry by the words of the minor prophet, Micah, who when asked, ‘What does your Lord require of you? Answered, ‘To act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.’ So many people can attest that she truly lived her life by those words.

Margaret Lillis’s requiem Mass will be held at 12 noon on Tuesday 21 June 2022 at St Alban’s Catholic Church, Chester Road Macclesfield, with a committal service at Macclesfield Crematorium, Prestbury Road at 2pm, followed by a wake to celebrate her life, at the Packhorse Bowling Club, Abbey Road, Macclesfield.

Everyone is invited to one or all the celebrations.

There are two online fundraisers in memory of Margaret. You can donate to East Cheshire Hospice in memory of Margaret by clicking here. Or donate to CAFOD by clicking here.

John Jones Lifetime Achievement Award

Accordionist John Jones received the best possible present for his 80th birthday tomorrow (June 2) by collecting a lifetime achievement award.

Macclesfield Town Council recognised his amazing efforts in raising around £330,000 for charity over more than 30 years.

Cllr David Edwardes, in one of his final duties as Mayor, presented the award at East Cheshire Hospice which has received more than £103,000 from John’s generosity.

The presentation was delayed because on the date it should have been handed over John was fundraising for the Hospice with the Stockport Accordion Club at Broken Cross Club.

John Jones who has received a lifetime achievement award. 

John was happy to give an impromptu performance at the Hospice when the honour was finally awarded.

He has also raised a similar amount for Macclesfield and District General Hospital, including more recently its intensive care unit where his wife June died two years ago.

He plays classic songs in the hospital’s cafe and waiting rooms and has performed over the years at the Sunflower Centre at the Hospice.

John said: “The award was a complete surprise and I was immensely proud to receive this civic honour for my fundraising for the Hospice and the Hospital.

“I also go busking by the ECHO shop run by the Hospice in Poynton raising money for charity. I get a lot of pleasure from playing my accordion, and making new friends.”