October 2022 - East Cheshire Hospice

Britain’s Got Talent Runner Up, Jamie Leahey joins us for Winter Ball

Ventriloquist Jamie Leahey is one of the acts at next month’s Winter Ball, organised by East Cheshire Hospice.

The talented teenager came second in the latest series of ITV’s prime time show Britain’s Got Talent.

His performance at the Ball has been organised by main sponsor Superbowl UK.

Jamie wowed judges, including Simon Cowell and David Walliams, with his novelty act which involves a dummy chicken, named Chuck.

Walliams described the comedy act as ‘faultless in every way.’

The black tie dinner will be held in a luxury marquee in the grounds of Macclesfield Rugby Club on Friday, November 25, from 7 pm.

Guests will enjoy an evening of fine dining, music and dancing, hosted by top DJ Mike Toolan.

String Infusion, an all-girl electric and acoustic string group, are part of the entertainment.

Only a small number of tables are left, with VIP tables sold out. Tickets are £70 or £700 for a table of 10.

Hospice Events Manager Beth Candy said: “The event is proving extremely popular and anyone who wants to join us should get in touch as soon as possible.

“It’s going to be a special occasion, especially as it’s four years since we last held our ball due to Covid.

“It’s an ideal night out for anyone looking to organise a Christmas party.”

*To buy tickets visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/winter-ball-2022/

Hospice @Home Nurses share their stories

Going into homes caring for dying patients can be tough.

But it is also highly rewarding, as Hospice @Home nurses at East Cheshire Hospice know so well.

As the service reaches its fifth anniversary, staff have spoken at their pride helping patients at the most precious moment of their life.

Hospice @Home staff (from left) Sally Heaven, Helen Singleton and Gill Tomlinson.

Rapid response nurse Helen Singleton has been visiting homes since the start.

She said: “On that first day five years ago we hit the floor running. We were asked to go to a village I’d never heard of. Within two visits, we had got the patient safe and comfortable and the daughter was relieved.

“Dying is not easy. There is discomfort and there may be pain.

“Carers can be physically and emotionally exhausted, even traumatised. They may feel lonely and isolated and the household becomes chaotic.

“These are the reasons Hospice @Home exists. We endeavour to address all these difficulties, alongside our NHS and social care provider colleagues.”

Helen and colleagues use one of three Hospice cars which have made more than 14,000 home visits, day and night.

She said: “At 3 am on my last shift just by listening, we enabled a couple to make a difficult decision at home. Within a few hours, their wishes had been acted upon and the patient opted to go into the Hospice.

“Like all endeavours we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve managed to overcome the downs and have built on the ups. From a small team, we’re now a large team of 25, providing a wonderful array of services round the clock.

“We’ve fostered respect and co-operation with other services and as a hub for East Cheshire we’re a major focus for palliative care provision.

“We couldn’t have done this without our supporters and the donation of the cars has been much appreciated.”

Helen’s comments are echoed by colleagues, some of whom have raised funds for a service they are all passionate about.

Health care assistant Elaine Taylor had her head shaved. She said: “The job is so rewarding. It’s a privilege caring for patients at end-of-life.

“We get lovely messages from families when relatives have passed away, saying they couldn’t have coped without us.”

The service has helped over 1,000 people to die in their preferred place of death, either at home, or in the Hospice. Initially covering weekends and nights, it was extended to 24 hours in 2020.

Shrigley Hall Bake Off

Maintenance manager Tony Hatch showed he is just as handy in the kitchen at home as at work at Shrigley Hall Hotel and Spa.


Tony won the title Shrigley Hall master baker in a fun competition between colleagues as part of their fundraising campaign for East Cheshire Hospice.

His orange and almond sponge with a gin and marmalade drizzle, mascarpone and lemon curd cream, tickled the taste buds of general manager Vicky Marshman, who was the judge.

Tasty work for the volunteer cake makers at Shrigley Hall.

More than 20 Shrigley employees each paid £5 to bake cakes, which went down a treat with colleagues and hotel guests who made donations.

Shrigley Hall has already raised £5,700, beating its £5,000 target with another five months left of fundraising for its nominated charity.

Vicky was also part of a six-strong team which completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in September. She said: “We completed the 25-mile hike, including 5,000 feet of ascent, within 12 hours which was our target.

Three Peaks hikers (from left):  Alistair Brown (Financial Controller), Vicky Marshman (General Manager); Lee Smith (Head Chef) and Tim Hudspith (Marketing Manager).

“There were no tears or tantrums, just plenty of sore feet after a lovely day in the Yorkshire Dales in glorious autumn weather. We’re delighted with how our fundraising is going for the Hospice, which is much-loved.”

The hotel raised £3,500 from its golf day and held a 70s and 80s party night. Other fundraising initiatives include Shrigley Sunflower cocktails created by head bar manager Andy Gaskell and walking maps for guests who make a donation.

Shrigley Hall, with 155 bedrooms, opened a new spa facility with an outdoor infinity pool in 2020.

Rick Pulvertaft swims the English Channel

The name of the Instagram page set up by Rick Pulvertaft reveals a clue about the demons he has faced most of his life.

Called the_sober_salmon_swims2france, it counts down to his Channel swim next July in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Rick, from Macclesfield, gave up alcohol nine months ago, fearing the addiction would ruin his life like it did for close relatives.

His father Dr Tom Pulvertaft (59) died of liver cirrhosis in 1996, and he has also lost older sisters Kate (56) and Janthea (49) to alcoholism in the last five years.

Rick Pulvertaft who is swimming the Channel in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.  

His nephew Kavan died in 2019 after three years in a coma after he tried to take his own life.

Rick, a kitchen designer and salesman, lost both parents by the age of 23.

Mum Dee (61) was due to go to the Hospice in 2009, but died of skin cancer before getting there.

Rick said: “Mum’s death was the only one not directly linked to alcoholism. Alcohol has devastated my family. It’s been hard watching members of my family slowly kill themselves.

“The feeling of helplessness is even harder and I was slowly heading in the same direction. I’m 36 now and have probably been drinking since 13.

“I decided I was going to stop drinking last December. I had a choice to stand up and face my problems, or carry on covering my feelings of hurt and pain with whisky and Stella Artois.

“I chose to hang up my pint pot, face my emotions and even go a step further and challenge my mind to all-out war to be better for my family.

Rick Pulvertaft who has set himself a sporting challenge after giving up alcohol.

“I’m nine months sober. Emotions are difficult sometimes, but no-one died from an emotion. People always say ‘I’d die for my family.’ I’ll say ‘I’m going to live for mine.’

“I couldn’t have done it without my wife Sarah, who’s been so supportive and reminded me I’d always wanted to swim the Channel. That was the catalyst.

“Gym and swimming keep me out of the pub. I’m the salmon swimming upstream. I want to be there for my two daughters Isla (10) and Ginny (2).

“I’m supporting the Hospice who were there for us and ready to help. The work they do for the families of loved ones with life-limiting illnesses is a light in this world that needs our help to keep shining.”

* To sponsor Rick visit justgiving.com/fundraising/rick-pulvertaft.

Hospice @Home celebrate its 5th Anniversary

Caring for patients in the comfort of their own home was started by East Cheshire Hospice five years ago this month.

Its Hospice @Home service has been an overwhelming success during that time, expanding greatly to meet the needs of the community.

An initial team of six has grown to more than 25, including nurses, health care assistants, co-ordinators and bank staff. Home visits are made in cars painted in blue Hospice colours.

From left, Hospice @Home clinical co-ordinator Gill Tomlinson, manager Tess Cleaver and health care assistant Joanne Helm.

Figures show that since October 2017 staff have –

* Received 1,830 referrals.

* Made 14,400 home visits.

* Helped 1,028 people to die in their preferred place of death, either at home, or in the Hospice.

* Taken 1,107 SOS phone calls from users, possibly avoiding call-outs, ambulance visits, or hospital admissions.

* Made 6,036 planned phone calls to users, saving similar trips.

* Made 150 night sits.

Hospice @Home began as an out-of-hours rapid response service for patients in the last two weeks of life, later extended to 12 weeks.

It supported patients overnight and at weekends where access to health care professionals was limited. It also offered ad hoc care for patients with little or no package of care wishing to stay at home as long as possible.

A gap in regular care provision was identified in certain places, often due to locality and availability of care agencies in those areas.

That led to a day service, beginning in April 2020, providing high quality packages of care to patients rapidly deteriorating and thought to be entering a terminal phase.

Staffing levels were increased significantly to provide this round-the-clock service.

Meanwhile, carer breaks were introduced in January 2021, giving respite for carers of loved ones in the last six months of life.

Fifth birthday celebrations for the Hospice @Home service. Manager Tess Cleaver (left) with clinical co-ordinator Gill Tomlinson.

The Hospice is also now the East Cheshire hub for Palliative Care in Partnership, assessing patient suitability for community-based fast track care applications.

Since April, this hub project has provided night care in collaboration with Marie Curie, with an average of five night sits a week.

Hospice @Home Manager Tess Cleaver said: “I’m proud of what our exceptional team have achieved over the last five years. Everyone is so invested in providing excellent care tailored to each individual.

“Importantly, we’re part of a much wider healthcare network and close co-ordination with other community services is vital. We strive to provide high quality care and always learn from feedback to further improve our services.”

Encouragement from previous Firewalk participant

Sarah Hammond has a message for anyone frightened of a Firewalk – you won’t regret it!

She overcame her fears last year and urges others to join the next walk over hot coals at East Cheshire Hospice on Thursday, October 27, at 6 pm.

Last year’s Firewalk entrants. 

Sarah, from Tytherington, was in a team with Katy Littler, Lucy Woolrich and Kelly Eyton-Jones from Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP who raised over £3,000 for the charity.

Sarah said: “I’d definitely recommend it, as much for the experience and the feeling of achievement once you’ve done it.

Sarah Hammond who took part in a Firewalk in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

“Cliff, the organiser, is a brilliant motivator and during his safety briefing explained the science behind it.

“It didn’t hurt one bit. It’s the most bizarre thing and the feeling afterwards is just elation. We were a little fearful once we arrived and got our t-shirts, but after Cliff’s pep talk there was excitement and anticipation.

“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, but he made us believe we could walk on fire.”

The Hospice has places left. Entry is £30 and participants must be 16 or over. Visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/firewalk/ to register.

Sarah is Head of Best Practice at Equilibrium, a corporate Hospice supporter. Sarah has also completed Born Survivor and the Hospice to Hospice Hike to raise vital funds in 2022.

Sarah said: “Living nearby, I witness first-hand the fantastic care the Hospice give for people at end-of-life and with respite help. I wanted to give something back to help raise money.”

East Cheshire Hospice daily menu in our kitchen

A typical daily menu for patients at East Cheshire Hospice is:

Breakfast – Cereals, toast, eggs, mushrooms, fresh fruit, yoghurt, omelette, or a full English. 

Lunch – Soup of the day, or pate with toast; followed by Chinese pork stir fry with egg fried rice, or cheddar and red onion tart.

Tea Homemade beef burger on a brioche bun with caramelised onions, followed by chocolate pudding and custard, or jelly and ice cream.

All dietary requirements are catered for and the choice does not end there.

An ‘always available’ menu offers toasties, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, home baked cakes and desserts, hot and cold drinks, milk shakes and smoothies.

The menu changes daily on a three-week cycle. It is seasonal, so alters after three months.

Chef manager Mike Hyland and his caterers ask patients and families for special requests.

Chef manager Mike Hyland (centre) with catering colleagues Brian Woodward and Jade Slater.

Portion sizes are also important to suit individual diet plans. The emphasis is always on sustainability. Even vegetable oil is recycled, often to make biodiesel.

General services manager Michelle Walker-Brown said: “There is very little wastage. We offer a daily specials snack menu to our staff using some of the main ingredients from our homemade daily dishes.”

Free range eggs are used and fish is marine certified. Organic products are used where possible and Bollington butcher JJJ Heathcote provide fresh meat farmed safely.

The Hospice buys Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance products such as bananas, tea, coffee, herbs and spices.

Sustainability at East Cheshire Hospice

East Cheshire Hospice has launched a major campaign this year to become more sustainable.

Changes have been brought in across the charity’s operations as part of concerted eco-friendly initiatives.

Reducing food waste and energy use are among actions taken at its Millbank Drive site. Other measures to reduce the Hospice’s carbon footprint include:

* Ensuring most suppliers and contractors are local to the Hospice.

* Installing solar panels.

* Using reusable crockery, cutlery and drinking cups where possible. A new coffee bar in reception uses biodegradable cups.

* Growing herbs and vegetables in the Hospice grounds.

Catering and housekeeping activities have been a key focus in the environmental push.

The Hospice has managed to cut the amount of food deliveries, while at the same time increasing the choice of menus available for patients.

Cleaning products for sanitisers and floors are now more eco-friendly, while the Hospice has changed recycling contractors to ensure general waste is filtered.

More LED lighting has been installed, with greater awareness of the need to switch off computers and lights when not in use. The energy-saving measures also apply at the Hospice’s four shops.

Likewise, grills and ovens in the kitchen are used more economically, while a scrap metal dealer visits regularly to collect unwanted recyclable goods.

The Hospice even recycles empty ink cartridges, a revenue-generating scheme which is available for the wider community as well as staff.

General services manager Michelle Walker-Brown (left) and Jean Chaddock, head of housekeeping, with environmentally-friendly cleaning products at East Cheshire Hospice.

General services manager Michelle Walker-Brown said: “We try to use our food ingredients in a diverse way, across starters, main courses and desserts to save costs. We also use seasonal produce which lasts longer.

“We’ve trained staff on how to throw away less food safely and removed less popular or time-consuming dishes from our menus.

“We’ve tried to reduce having lots of different stock delivered. We don’t have a lot of storage space, so try to avoid having all fridges and freezers running where possible to save energy.”

The charity made an appeal to the public earlier this year to help fund solar panels.

The Hospice @Home team have introduced a hybrid car, with EV chargers also at the disposal of staff and visitors.

Michelle said: “Our aim is to be a sustainable healthcare system that respects and protects the environment, while continuing to improve the quality of life and care of our patients.”