July 2023 - East Cheshire Hospice

Our Memory Tree is planted

The newest arrival at East Cheshire Hospice is a Memory Tree ready to be decorated with leaves.

Supporters can dedicate a leaf engraved with a short message to someone special.

The metal sculpture amid wild flowers in a discreet setting at the back of the Hospice is already admired by volunteer gardeners.

Among them Bob Burton, a neighbour who planted the tree with fundraiser Nik Kalka.

Fundraiser Nik Kalka (left) and gardening volunteer Bob Burton with the newly-installed Memory Tree.

Bob said: “The Memory Tree is a cracking idea and will hopefully generate income. People I know who’ve walked past say it looks like a piece of art anyway up against the wall.

“It’s a lot different than I imagined and there are small holes where leaves can be attached.

“The gardens are so serene which is how it should be round here. It’s lovely and peaceful and we have a great team of gardeners.”

Bob, a retired health and safety adviser with GMP, has volunteered at the Hospice for a year, having helped the homeless and at food banks.

A ginnel from his home of 34 years provides a cut through to the Hospice. Bob’s late brother-in-law Mel Withey was a Hospice patient.

Bob said: “I’ve always had an involvement with the charity as it’s so local. The gardeners meet every Wednesday morning, but because I live so close if I see it’s dry I can whip round and cut the grass.”

Some 400 copper, silver and bronze leaves are available and subscribers do not need a Hospice link.

A subscription is £10 a month, or £120 for a year. Employees from AstraZeneca gifted the new memorial.

The tree is easily accessible without entering the Hospice building, with parking available.

Individual Giving Fundraiser Beth England said: “Visitors can come along at any time and the gardens provide a beautiful backdrop.

“There’s privacy and with benches it’s the ideal place to reflect and remember a loved one.

“Each leaf can be inscribed with a short message if donors wish and funds raised provide vital revenue for the Hospice.”

“Your leaf will remain on the tree for a year, at which point you can choose to either renew its place for a further year or we can return the leaf to you to treasure forever.”

* To sign up to the Memory Tree visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/memory-tree.

For queries, contact amy.williams@echospice.org.uk or call 01625 665688.

Memory Tree Gardeners

Retired nurse Lindsay Taylor kept a promise to herself by joining the band of volunteers tending to the East Cheshire Hospice gardens.

Lindsay, from Macclesfield, said: “I was a nurse at the Hospice and always said that when I retired I’d like to garden here because I like the gardens so much.

“I wanted to give something back and have been here about four years. It’s great fun and the volunteers are such a nice friendly gang.

Gardening volunteers (from left) Carol Bonner, Lindsay Taylor, Carol Waterhouse, Pat Dawson and Olwen Gibson.

“Sometimes patients will come out and admire the gardens. The husband of one patient came out and said ‘I’ll do a bit while I’m here.’

“It was quite sweet really and everyone does appreciate the gardens.”

Fellow volunteer Carol Waterhouse left her job as Hospice ward manager in 2016 to set up a home help business.

She said: “I came back on to the nursing register in 2021 during Covid and do bank shifts for Hospice @Home now I’m semi-retired.

“Gardening here is a lovely thing to do and all we want is to make a difference.”

Olwen Gibson is one of the newest gardening recruits. She said: “I realised I’d got the time and wanted to do something useful. It’s such an enjoyable outdoor activity.”

Carol Bonner, a volunteer for two years, said: “It gets me out and about and I like the idea of a Hospice and what they do. I’ve got the time to help and prefer to be outdoors rather than inside.”

Sunflower Centre Refurbishment

A major project is under way to transform the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre at East Cheshire Hospice.

Work on the £1.25m refurbishment began last month and is expected to be completed in January 2024.

The modern stylish complex will be much better equipped to meet a rapidly growing need for the charity’s services.

A computer image of the new Sunflower Wellbeing Centre.

Patient and carer capacity is expected to more than double from a current weekly rate of 179 to 400 within two years of completion.

Crucially, more services will operate simultaneously and in the evenings and at weekends.

The extended seven-day working will facilitate greater community engagement, improving integration with the local healthcare strategy of everyone living well for longer.

The Sunflower Centre – the hub of the Hospice’s outpatient services – opened as a day care centre with the Hospice welcoming its first day patients in May 2000. The facility has been extended since but is now outdated and unable to meet demand.

Rachel Allcock, Income Generation Director at the Hospice, said: “The new Sunflower Wellbeing Centre will be a valuable resource for the community. We anticipate being able to accommodate local support groups and other community activities.

“It’s an exciting project and something we’ve wanted to carry out for a long time, but just haven’t been able to do.

“The previous centre served us well, but was no longer fit for purpose. We’ve saved money over time to fund the project, knowing that at some stage we wanted to undertake this work.

“We’ve also applied for specific grants and trust donations so that no income from fundraising which covers day-to-day running costs will be used.”

Rachel Allcock, Income Generation Director at East Cheshire Hospice.

The Sunflower entrance is located to the side of the main reception which is unaffected by the changes.

The radical new design was developed over three years, based on patient, staff and volunteer experiences.

The refurbishments have sustainability in mind, with running costs not expected to increase significantly since the operational floor space is only slightly extended.

The new-look Sunflower Wellbeing Centre.

Any increased heating costs due to extended opening hours will be partly offset by using more efficient heating/cooling systems and a solar-panelled roof.

The projected number of users excludes off-site programmes co-ordinated by the Sunflower team. It also excludes separate work to expand dementia services into community venues.

In total, the Hospice will reach an estimated 1,360 people, some 80 per cent of those living with, or dying from, a life-limiting illness.

Future-Proofing Hospice Facilities

Day hospice services have been temporarily moved to other areas for six months during refurbishment work.

The Hospice is adapting facilities, including using the Chapel to accommodate patients.

Some will access outpatient services remotely as happened successfully during Covid. The experiences from that crisis period have been invaluable planning contingencies during the building phase.

The pandemic put a major strain on the Hospice with the effects of the virus still being felt.

Rachel Allcock, Director of Income Generation, said: “We are getting patients coming to us much later in diagnosis who are really poorly because they didn’t want to burden the NHS with their symptoms during Covid.

“It’s a similar story at other hospices although the after-effects of Covid should be temporary. The main reason, though, for a projected rise in patient numbers is an ageing population.

“The refurbished Sunflower Wellbeing Centre will give us the perfect opportunity to re-launch existing services, promote new activity and collaborate with health care professionals, faith and community groups to increase our overall support for the communities we serve.

A glimpse of the future at East Cheshire Hospice.

“We’re hoping to cater for people at every stage of their journey and for all disease groups, including drop-in facilities for the newly-diagnosed.

“Our aim is to encompass that whole need rather than the limited need in a building only able to host one thing at a time.”

Many more volunteers will be needed to help deliver the expanded services.

A glimpse of the future at East Cheshire Hospice.

Kate Parker’s Hospice fundraising

Running has been the best medicine for Dr Kate Parker after losing her husband John four years ago.

Pounding the streets has seen Kate raise more than £8,000 for East Cheshire Hospice where he spent his final days.

John, an apprentice jeweller, died from bowel cancer aged 41, two years after diagnosis.

Kate, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said: “I find running has really helped with my grief which is probably why I’ve chosen to do that as a fundraiser.

Dr Kate Parker and late husband John.  

“John and I would run together. He was taller and faster than me, so I couldn’t always keep up with him.

“While he was ill, I found it helped deal with such a difficult diagnosis and managing to look after him.

“The last few months of his life were tough so it helped me cope. Sometimes I’d run along the street crying my eyes out, but I didn’t really care and found it therapeutic.”

John received support from the charity’s Hospice @Home team before he was admitted as an inpatient.

Kate, a Macclesfield resident since 2016, said: “The Hospice were extremely helpful managing his pain during his final days. I don’t think I’d have managed at home.

Kate with daughter Willow after a fundraising run.

“We decided it was probably better he didn’t die at home to avoid leaving memories that would have been difficult to manage for our children.”

Daughters Jess and Hannah were in their early teens when their father died, while sister Willow was 16 months old at the time. She is now five.

Kate said: “I was midway through pregnancy when John was diagnosed. Having a baby while he was undergoing cancer treatment was quite a unique experience though a good distraction for both of us.

“For John and myself to bring up Willow together, even while he was ill, was incredibly special for us.”

Kate has undertaken the last three Manchester 10k runs, the last two with partner Max, a fellow fundraiser. John’s running friends from Poynton were also an inspiration.

Running for charity … Kate and partner Max.

She said: “It’s a no-brainer really. I’m aware the Hospice isn’t funded by the NHS and relies mostly on public money for funding.

“I’m always a bit bemused by that and can’t believe that it’s not properly funded.

“I felt it was more important to fundraise for the Hospice because I can’t imagine how it would have been in those last few days if we had not been able to go there.”

Will you take on Fire and Ice walk this November?

Are you brave enough to walk over fire and broken glass?

The challenge is issued by East Cheshire Hospice which has organised Fire and Ice Walk 2023.

The tea time event is on Thursday, November 9 at a location to be decided. Participants can do both challenges or just one.

The hot coals walk has been a fixture on the fundraising calendar, but now the glass element has been introduced.

Hot work … Jean Ham (left) and sister Denise Fraser-King at last year’s Firewalk.

Daredevils aged 16 and over can take part and experts will hold a full indoor safety briefing beforehand.

Hospice fundraiser Claire Gorton said: “Walking on burning embers has been a popular activity for Hospice fundraisers and now we’ve added the thrilling option to walk on glass.

“It’s the ultimate mind over matter challenge and for those scared by the prospect, this is the perfect chance to overcome nerves and defeat your fears.”

Participants will receive a t-shirt and certificate. The two walks are £50,  with a single entry £30.

Claire said: “The registration fee only covers the cost of the event so we urge supporters to raise additional sponsorship which will go directly towards caring for patients.

“It costs more than £7,500 to keep the Hospice running for one day, so every penny raised is important.

“You can be assured that the impact your support will have on local families who can benefit from Hospice services at one of the most difficult and emotional times will be huge and greatly appreciated.”

To sign up visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/fire-and-ice-walk/

A huge success at Fashion on the Edge

A colourful Fashion on the Edge show provided one of the highlights of the summer fundraising season for East Cheshire Hospice.

More than 260 guests raised a staggering £25,000 for the Hospice at the annual ladies lunch.

The centrepiece of the occasion was a fashion show by volunteer models wearing latest trends by local boutiques OutDazl and The Edit.

Guests at Fashion on the Edge. 

The event, inside a marquee at Alderley Edge Cricket Club, was sponsored by McAlister Family Law, with Pettengell Wealth Management sponsoring drinks.

They were in plentiful supply, as were beauty, home ware and clothing stalls. Floral arrangements courtesy of local companies added a further touch of glamour.

Hospice fundraiser Bethan Wade said: “We had a fantastic time and special thanks must go to the brilliant group of ladies who help organise the event each year.

Fun and fundraising for East Cheshire Hospice.

“Thanks also to our sponsors and everyone who enjoyed the afternoon and donated in so many ways.”

It was Bethan’s final event before she leaves the Hospice fundraising team for a new challenge.

She said: “I’ve had a wonderful time here. It’s been a real thrill to work with my colleagues and members of the community who’ve been so generous with their support.”

* The Hospice is on the lookout for a community and events fundraiser to join its team. The role involves cultivating relationships with individuals and groups, coordinating volunteers and organising events.

The closing date is July 9. To apply visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/our-current-vacancies.

MADS theatre performers from Australia!

Fundraisers for East Cheshire Hospice come from far and wide – but rarely from Australia!

Yet a theatre group have travelled from Melbourne to Macclesfield to appear at MADS Theatre tomorrow night (Thur July 6).

The 12-strong ensemble will perform The Pirate Code, a musical about two women pirates. The slightly saucy true tale is set in the Caribbean in the early 1700s.

The show starts at 7.30 pm and theatregoers can buy a ticket on the door, or via the Mads website (www.madstheatre.org)

John Chandler from MADS Theatre. 

Tickets are £15 and profits will go to the Hospice.

The Nuworks company are also performing at four other UK venues during a week-long tour funded by themselves.

Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society are proud to host their Aussie visitors and hope theatregoers turn out to support them.

MADS management member John Chandler said: “They’re an amateur theatre group like ourselves and it’s great they’re coming from the other side of the world to perform in Macclesfield.

“Please come along and support your local community and most importantly your local Hospice. MADS have always supported the Hospice and we’re proud to do so again.”

Nuworks actors performing The Pirate Code.

The request to appear in Macclesfield came out of the blue.

John, whose roles include theatre hire and building stage sets, said: “Nuworks asked if they could use our theatre and we agreed to underwrite the show.

“We’re members of the Little Theatre Guild and I think they’d heard good reports about our productions. The group are similar to ourselves and write and produce their own shows.”

John saw Nuworks at rehearsals for another show on a visit to Australia earlier this year. He was there to visit his daughter Kiri who works for a charity out there.

John said: “It was quite fortuitous really that I was going out there anyway so I asked to meet them. They’re a great bunch of actors and we’re really grateful they’ve chosen Macclesfield.

The Pirate Code in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

“It was their suggestion to donate ticket sales, once costs are met, to a local charity and there was only one choice really for us.

“Our theatre on Lord Street belongs to our members and can accommodate an audience of more than 190. It’s our 75th anniversary so this special visit helps us celebrate in style.”

* The next MADS production is The Cats Mother by Erica Murray, a black comedy which runs from September 11-16.