December 2022 - East Cheshire Hospice

Review of the year 2022

Another year packed with special memories at East Cheshire Hospice draws to a close.

The Hospice once again put patients at the heart of its activities.

Patients and visitors can enjoy a Serenity Garden created in a courtyard outside the inpatient ward.

Volunteers turned out in force to help with planting, aiming to make a garden look good all-year round.

Volunteer gardener Deborah Roberts with garden designer Ben Darlington (left) and landscaper Mark Marshall. 

From left, Chair of the Hospice’s Trustee Board Will Spinks, Andy Burnham and Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston.

There was also an environmental emphasis, a recurring theme throughout 2022 for the Hospice.

Installing solar panels will hopefully reduce energy costs, while reducing food waste was another eco initiative.

Scores of families basked in early spring sunshine at a Memory Miles walk at Adlington Hall.

One of the first post-Covid events saw walkers undertook a one-kilometre woodland loop of the beautiful grounds. Look out for details in the New Year about a similar walk.

The weather was not so kind for a Pie and a Pint challenge over a 10k route in heavy rain, while firefighter Adam Davies chose a flaming hot day to tackle a gruelling golf challenge.

The keen golfer played 72 holes over 15 hours at Shrigley Hall Hotel and Spa.

Firefighter Adam Davies during his epic golf challenge.  

One of many fundraisers who went to extraordinary lengths to raise funds.

Brothers Tom and George Bentham paddled a canoe from one side of the country to the other in memory of their late father Mark, a chef and sailor.

Canoeing brothers Tom (left) and George Bentham.

Their bizarre challenge took nine days, while round-the-world sailor Heather Broadbent spent almost three years on her voyage due to pandemic delays.

Thankfully, services at the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre are fully back to normal after the disruption.

Popular group sessions such as Live Well Feel Well and a range of dementia programmes are meeting community needs.

The Hospice strengthened its dementia team this year due to an increase in demand.

Its Hospice @Home service proudly celebrated its fifth anniversary in October.

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

The service has been an outstanding success, with a six-strong team expanding to 25.

A patient who lost her hair inspired health care assistant Elaine Taylor to shave her head to raise funds and show her support.

Art Fair Cheshire was also back, showcasing the region’s finest creative talent.

Art teacher Patty Callaghan who was among exhibitors at Art Fair Cheshire 2022.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, visited the Hospice. He passionately supports the Hospice sector and the holistic care it provides.

Dr Alessandro Bosco completes 5k and 10k

A pioneering research project is being carried out into dementia care at East Cheshire Hospice.

The 12-month study by academic researcher Dr Alessandro Bosco will provide a preliminary snapshot of care delivered in the region.

The work, undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Manchester, will develop best practice by also exploring the work of other hospices around the country.

East Cheshire was selected due to its advanced dementia care, including its Hospice @Home service. Results will be made available to health care professionals and the public.

The work has received approval from the Health Research Authority and the Research Ethics Committee.

Dr Bosco said: “The research involves a small sample of up to 10 bereaved carers and 10 clinical hospice staff involved in those cases.

“Hopefully, this will provide a good snapshot of people with dementia who’ve been cared for by the Hospice.”

Dr Bosco has been awarded a fellowship by the National Institute for Health and Care Research until September 2024 to expand the project to other hospices.

 Dr Alessandro Bosco, who is researching dementia care at East Cheshire Hospice.

He said: “The studies will help me explore carers’ experiences and whether barriers in care access could be identified and effectively avoided in the future.

“We’re also exploring what worked really well which can be shared across end-of-life and palliative care services.”

Dr Bosco’s work has the full support of East Cheshire Hospice.

He said: “We start from the current model used by East Cheshire Hospice, thanks to the network already established there and support from Hospice Medical Director, Dr Debbie Alexander; the Clinical Director, Sandra Jones, for recruitment; and Ann Booth and Marianne Dunlop as co-researchers.

“We know that different care models are being used for hospice care in dementia. It  would be helpful to understand the differences in this care across the country and develop a care model which is informed by different examples of best practice already used in these hospice settings.

“I’d like to thank East Cheshire Hospice and Age UK for their full co-operation.”

Dr Alessandro Bosco after his fundraising run.

Dr Bosco completed a 5k run in Battersea Park to raise money for the Hospice. He said: “It was my first attempt at a proper run. I’m committed to fundraising for palliative care having, as a carer myself, experienced the emotional burden of having lost a loved one.”

The Hospice is also involved with another research project by Liverpool University exploring potential gaps in dementia services in the community.

James Hurley Hospice fundraiser

The sight of Star Wars baddy Kylo Ren circling White Nancy must have frightened a few walkers enjoying a weekend stroll.

Alas there was nothing to fear from a different galaxy.

It was James Hurley dressed as the fictional character raising funds for East Cheshire Hospice where his mum Sharon works.

Fundraiser James Hurley enjoying the view from White Nancy.  

Star Wars fan James walked to the top carrying a collection bucket before completing 50 circuits of the monument.

The nine-year-old’s efforts raised £312, well above his initial £200 target.

Walkers donated, along with friends and family, including sister Emma (13).

Class mates and teachers at St Alban’s Catholic Primary School, where he is in year five, also supported his adventure.

Sharon is the sister at the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre.

She said: “It was James’ idea to walk round White Nancy. With me working at the Hospice, he just decided one day that he wanted to raise money for the Hospice.

May the force be with you…James as Star Wars character Kylo Ren.

“I’m really proud and quite touched that he wanted to do it.  I don’t talk too much about my work, but he knows I look after poorly people.

“Walkers were clapping James as he walked back down through Bollington village after completing his journey. He’s always loved Star Wars and has plenty of costumes.”

St Alban’s have also held cake sales as part of their support for the Hospice.

Unmasked….James sports his East Cheshire Hospice top.    

* Any supporters wishing to fundraise for the Hospice can email

East Cheshire Hospice gains Navajo Award

East Cheshire Hospice has won an award for its pioneering work supporting patients from the LGTBQ+ community.

Just over a year ago the charity linked up with two other hospices – St Luke’s in Winsford and Hospice of The Good Shepherd in Backford – to ensure end-of-life care is fully inclusive.

They appointed Ellen Coleman as LGBTQ+  development facilitator to offer support and training for staff to improve their approach and make them more accessible.

Her work has been so successful that the 12-month scheme has been extended.

The hospices were awarded a Navajo Charter mark in recognition of organisational changes and training which have been implemented.

Sarah Dale, Director of Quality and Innovation at East Cheshire Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to receive the award which we didn’t think we’d achieve in the first year Ellen has been with us. We thought it might take a lot longer.

East Cheshire Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston (second left), Sarah Dale (fourth left) and Ellen Coleman (fifth left) receive the Navajo award with representatives of the two other hospices.

“As a hospice we felt we were doing all we could to be inclusive. There’s never a service we wouldn’t accept anyone into and they’re personalised to fit whatever community, background, race or nationality patients are from.

“What we’ve learned from Ellen is that we need to make it very clear, even from a distance, that our services are making positive changes and that we welcome everyone.

“For different reasons, not everyone feels comfortable accessing our services and so we need to reassure them before they’ve even walked through our doors.

“We’ve still got things we need to work towards to make sure we’re a fully inclusive organisation. There’s definitely more we can change.

“We have more education and training to do for our volunteers and staff.  We also need more communication with the wider community to let them know what we’re doing to improve accessibility for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Overall, though, we’re really pleased with what we’ve managed to do in such a short space of time and we look forward to linking in with those communities in the future.”

The Hospice has trained five champions to raise the level of staff knowledge around how best to support LGBTQ+ patients.

A grant from Cheshire Freemans and Hospice UK funded Ellen’s post initially. Sarah said: “We’re just beginning to make these changes across all three hospices in Cheshire, so as a collective we’ve funded Ellen’s post for a further year to continue the great work she’s doing.”

Christmas Handmade Goods 2022

Volunteers at East Cheshire Hospice have been like Santa’s elves getting ready for Christmas.

More than 50 helpers use their creative skills designing handmade goods for East Cheshire Hospice.

It is not too late to grab a bargain, with a selection of festive items on sale at the Hospice reception.

The handiwork generates £18,000 during the year for the Hospice.

Volunteer Hilary Berkin with her handmade items.

Community fundraising assistant Claire Gorton said: “We’re so grateful volunteers choose to use their creative skills to support us.

“Some sell their handmade goods to family and friends and donate the proceeds, while others donate items for sale at our reception.

“We receive items such as crocheted teddies to knitted blankets, fabric tote bags, wooden toys and unique beautiful jewellery.

“We’ve a range of Christmas stockings, tree decorations, knitted scarves and hats, chocolate orange characters and stocking fillers.

Claire wants work or community groups willing to sell handmade goods, especially cards and seasonal items, to contact her.  Email

She said: “Grief Bears are made for our inpatient unit, while Pairs of Hearts are used within childhood bereavement and our Hospice @Home service.

“One heart is placed in the hand of the deceased, while the other is given to their loved one.”

Volunteer Hilary Berkin said: “I’m no runner or ace cake baker, so decided to put my love of quilting and sewing into making some items for the Hospice to sell to say thank you and to give something back.”

A yearly thank you event has been held for volunteers.

East Cheshire Hospice’s first cohort of Live Well Feel Well group

Live Well Feel Well – an appropriate name for the newest support group set up by East Cheshire Hospice.

Seven cancer patients attended the inaugural six-week course at the charity’s Sunflower Wellbeing Centre.

Among them was Anita Kidd, who was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer in March 2020.

Anita said: “We are all at different stages of our various types of cancer. We’ve also undergone various treatments from surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and research trials.

“The group on our course talked through difficult conversations, including planning for the future and how they want to plan funerals.

“This includes pre-booking them and leaving very clear instructions, to take the pressure off family members.

“We even talked about having a wake for friends and relatives to attend and enjoy while we are still alive and can be part of it.

The Live Well Feel Well group with staff from East Cheshire Hospice. From left, Sunflower Wellbeing Centre manager Helen Henshaw; staff nurse Joan-Marie Williams; John Mayer, Sue Horobin, Anita Kidd, Graham Crewe, Sunflower clinical co-ordinator Tracey Pearce and staff nurse Victoria Sayers.

“The course was about giving us strategies to cope. The weekly themes included exercise and how to look and feel good. We also talked about managing fatigue and perceptions of cancer.

“The course is also about building peer support, so those in similar situations can talk. We’ve now set up a WhatsApp group and will meet up again.

“The group was about safe spaces, support to live well with cancer and enjoying returning to work, hobbies and making memories.”

Anita’s cancer is adenoid cystic carcinoma of the trachea, which means she has limited options for treatment. Thanks to research she is undergoing targeted drug therapy.

She said: “The Sunflower Wellbeing Centre is so pro-active. It’s safe, supports you and can signpost you. They have amazing facilities, with complementary therapy services, including arts and counselling.

“These courses show the Hospice in a different light, bringing together groups of people to feel safe and valued.

“We had conversations we wouldn’t have with our partners. It is also about recognising that some days are just bad days and you’re not the only one having a bad day, but that’s also okay.”

“Part of our feedback to the Hospice is that it would be useful to have a space there for a drop-in session to catch up.”

The second six-week Live Well Feel Well course is under way for anyone with a life-limiting illness.

Participants can self-refer, or be referred by a health care professional. Sessions are between 1.30 and 4 pm on Thursdays.

Sunflower Centre Live Well Feel Well update

Staff and patients hailed the success of the first Live Well Feel Well course run by East Cheshire Hospice.

It took place at the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre, which is now back to normal after Covid restricted day care activities.

Clinical co-ordinator Tracey Pearce said: “It’s great to be fully up and running again with a full programme. We have something on every day.

“We still delivered our programmes via Zoom during Covid and kept in touch with our patients, but it’s just so nice to have people back in the building.”

Tracey said: “The first two Live Well Feel Well courses have predominantly been cancer patients, but they’re open to anyone with a life-limiting illness. The courses run back-to-back.

“The first course went brilliantly and couldn’t have gone any better. Participants formed an amazing bond. Sessions are partly about peer support and encouraging open conversations.

“Live Well Feel Well is a revamped format of our old Living Well programme, but these are shorter and more intense.

Sunflower Wellbeing Centre clinical co-ordinator Tracey Pearce.

“We think we’ve come up with a winning formula and the first group tend to agree.”

The Hospice linked up with Look Good Feel Better, a charity which ran a session on make-up and skin care.

Tracey said: “This part of the course wasn’t just for the women. We had a separate session for men about looking after skin, which can get sensitive during cancer treatments.”

* To find out more call the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre on 01625 665685.