Clinical Services Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

A host of happy memories on Trek Camino

Walker Lorna Barratt was left with wet boots and blisters and a host of happy memories from her Spanish pilgrimage.

She was part of an 18-strong party from East Cheshire Hospice which raised more than £70,000 from a five-day trek along the famous Camino Trail.

Every step was made in heavy rain with flooding near the finish in Santiago de Compostela, but it did not deter the plucky fundraisers.

Lorna, from Macclesfield, has close links with the Hospice, having spent more than four years there as a palliative care social worker.

After retiring last year, she now volunteers at the monthly MND Wellbeing Days.

Lorna said: “I loved the social work role and only stopped because my own mum Elizabeth was poorly and needed end-of-life care herself. I worked with the multi-disciplinary team identifying families who needed support.”

She volunteered for the trip after seeing an advert in the Hospice reception.

* Lorna Barrett on the Camino Trail.

She said: “Everyone was walking in memory of someone the Hospice had cared for and our group formed a supportive and close bond.

“It was very wet with torrential rain on the last day and the flooding was all over the news.

“We all had to dig deep walking an average of 15 miles a day, but it was a special trip and quite spiritual for many of us.

“We picked up donations along the way, including airport check-in staff and the lady exchanging currency. The outpouring of support for the Hospice is incredible and so heartening.”

Lorna’s walk was in memory of fireman Barry Axon, a close friend who was cared for in the Hospice.

She said: “Barry was well cared for, as were his family. The Hospice put its arms around the family as it does for all families in their care.

Walkers on their trek through northern Spain.

“Barry was a big walker and this was something he’d have done. He also had great faith, a pilgrimage in memory of Barry was a privilege.

“The MND group which meets on the fourth Friday of the month were also in my thoughts and indeed many contributed to my fundraising. Despite the sadness of a diagnosis of MND, there’s a lot of joy within that day.

“It’s like a one-stop shop of support and information with outside speakers offering advice. Patients and carers also get a lot of support from each other.”

* To donate to the Camino fund visit

Hospice @Home nurse, Sarah Mills

Nurse, art teacher, volunteer and grandmother of 12 – life is never dull for Sarah Mills.

That is just how she likes it, juggling her many commitments.

Sarah has just completed 20 years as a bank nurse at East Cheshire Hospice, working an average of a shift a week on the Hospice @Home team.

Sarah Mills with six of her grandchildren.

Sarah, from Bollington, said: “Being a bank nurse means I’m like an extra, but I love it. It’s a brilliant job and allows me to manage my other commitments.

“I can control when I work. It sounds very privileged, but I’m able do lots of other voluntary things as well.

“I’ve been with the Hospice @Home team for about five years. It’s such a privileged job visiting people who want to be at home in their final days and who wouldn’t have had that opportunity before.

“We provide care and support for a family who may never have experienced an end-of-life situation. We can explain what to expect and hopefully, reassure and encourage them.

“We see the person in their entirety, surrounded by loved ones, as well as personal and familiar objects which provide comfort for them.

Sarah Mills enjoying the outdoors with her family.

“I’ve been a bank nurse all my career, including in the NHS. But the Hospice has such a different atmosphere with the time and opportunity to provide more sensitive and emotional care than is possible in the NHS.

“The Hospice has specialists in all areas and regular training provides a good base for all staff.”

Sarah is a member of the church council at St Barnabas and also keeps busy by supporting friends with needs.

She admits she is a better nurse than art teacher, a role she does to help daughter Katy who home educates her six children, the eldest of whom is 14.

“The children come round and we do drawing and painting, art appreciation, sewing and other creative media and have lots of fun. That takes up quite a bit of my time, but I thoroughly enjoy being the art teacher!”

Sarah and husband Cliff, a lawyer with the Co-operative movement, have three sons and two daughters.

East Cheshire Hospice has been short-listed in four categories at the North Cheshire Business Awards

East Cheshire Hospice has been short-listed in four categories at the North Cheshire Business Awards.

The Hospice will learn the results at a ceremony at De Vere Cranage Estate later this month.

The Hospice is in the running for Best Organisation to Work For; Excellence in Customer Service; Charity of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.

Director of Quality and Innovation Sarah Dale BEM said: “We’re convinced we have a compelling case in each category.

“We’ve cared for hundreds of patients with life-limiting illnesses during the 18 years I’ve worked here, something I highlighted in our submission.

“That excellent care is delivered by a dedicated team which includes doctors, nurses and other health care professionals such as therapists, psychological support staff and dementia specialists, plus all our business support and fundraising teams.

“We work in partnership with acute hospitals, community providers and other local organisations to deliver care unique to each person.”

Meanwhile, the Hospice is advertising for clinical staff as part of expansion which will see further community engagement in Knutsford. It needs health care assistants (band 3) and nurses (band 6).

Sarah said: “Recruitment has been difficult across the whole health care sector since the pandemic and because of well-known pay review issues within the NHS.

“It’s different working here than in the NHS because of what we provide, but there are so many jobs available that people can pick and choose. Hopefully, they choose to come and work with us.”

* For Hospice vacancies visit

The first subscriber to the Memory Tree

The first subscriber to the Memory Tree scheme was Susan Washburn who was happy to support East Cheshire Hospice.

Susan will never forget how the charity helped her mum Mae Crandle who died in January, aged 89.

Susan said: “Mum was an inpatient for more than two weeks. She would have liked to have come home from hospital, but it would have been too difficult to look after her.

“Hospital was great, but the Hospice was a big change and staff could spend more time with mum.

“Mum loved looking out into the courtyard here and I think the Memory Tree is a brilliant idea. The gardens are so nice.”

Susan stayed in an adjoining room, supported by daughters Flora and Katie and family friend Nathan Azubuike.

Susan Washburn and daughter Katie by the Memory Tree.

Mae, from Glasgow, worked on the computer help desk at the National Nuclear Corporation in Knutsford.

Susan said: “I could hear nurses talking to her and it was just like she was their mum. It was just incredible and so perfect.

“But it wasn’t just the nursing staff. Everyone was so helpful, including volunteers and cleaners.

“You can take home your leaf after a year, but we’ll keep it on the tree forever.”

Daughter Katie said: “I wasn’t sure I’d want to come back here because it was where my gran died, but I’ve lots of good memories because of how kind the nurses were.

“They got to know her and us and really cared about her. It’s nice to be back.”

Memory Tree official opening

The first names have been engraved on leaves on a Memory Tree in the gardens of East Cheshire Hospice.

Each leaf is dedicated to the memory of someone special, even if they have no link to the charity.

The metal sculpture was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by families who have joined the scheme.

It was held beside the Memory Tree which is located in a discreet peaceful setting and easily accessible without entering the building.

The Hospice is hoping others will follow suit by dedicating leaves to lost loved ones. The subscription cost is £10 a month, or £120 a year.

A total of 400 leaves are available with the name of a loved one engraved along with a message if desired.

Representatives from AstraZeneca, whose employees gifted the new memorial, attended the unveiling.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “The Memory Tree is a personal triumph for me. I’ve been with the Hospice for 10 years and when I first came I thought it was something we should have.

AstraZeneca employee representative Katie Morelli cuts the ribbon to open the Memory Tree watched by colleague Guy Camm (left) and Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston and Chair of the Trustee Board Will Spinks.

“I want to thank those who’ve bought inaugural leaves and hopefully their kind gesture will encourage others to do the same to raise vital funds for the Hospice.

“I want to thank the gardeners who’ve created such a special place. We found during Covid that people needed a space to come and enjoy the quiet.

“We couldn’t have a more supportive partner than AstraZeneca who’ve been synonymous with the Hospice since before we existed when we were just a plot of land.”

Guy Camm, AZ’s Macclesfield Campus FM Development Manager, said: “The Memory Tree represents a fantastic long-lasting way to remember those no longer here and we’re privileged to be involved in this project.

“Our relationship with the Hospice goes back many years and there’s a special bond between AZ employees and the charity.

“As charity partners, the Hospice work with integrity and they innovate – the level of care they provide to the local community is unbelievable and we thank you for everything that you do.”

Hospice Chaplain Marion Tugwood said: “Today we dedicate this tree to the memory of those we have loved and lost and we give thanks for those who have facilitated its place here. We rejoice in the memory that our loved ones are still with us.”

* To sign up to the Memory Tree visit

For queries, contact or call 01625 665688.

East Cheshire Hospice honoured team members at its long-service staff awards

East Cheshire Hospice honoured team members at its first long-service staff awards since Covid.

Lady Alexis Redmond MBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, presented certificates to staff at the celebration event at The Tytherington Club.

Hospice Trustee Board members, including Chair Will Spinks, attended the ceremony, along with Chief Executive Karyn Johnston.

Lady Redmond congratulated staff on their commitment to palliative care, while Will recognised that collectively they had amassed 175 years of service to patients and families.

Sarah Mills, a nurse for more than 20 years and now part of the Hospice @Home bank team, was among recipients.

Sarah Mills (centre) receives her long service award from Lady Redmond MBE, Lord- Lieutenant of Cheshire, and Will Spinks, Chair of the Hospice Trustee Board.

Staff celebrate at the long service awards at Tytherington.

Sunflower Centre nurse Joan-Marie Williams and Loretta Eason, an assistant there after starting as a nurse on the inpatient unit, were recognised for 15 years of service.

Awards for 10 years went to Clinical Co-ordinator Gill Tomlinson; Finance Director Shelley Seabourne and Supporter Care and Lottery Manager Carol Frain.

Reaching five years’ service were:

* Helen Singleton, from the Hospice @Home Rapid Response Service.

* Helena Smith, Voluntary Services and Community Befriending Lead.

* Susan Robinson, Healthcare Assistant.

* Amanda Stell, Finance Officer.

* Hannah George, Hospice @Home Sister.

* Helen Wilkinson, Adult Bereavement Services Lead.

* Jackie Harding, Supporter Care Assistant, Income Generation.

* Caroline Allen, Skills Support HCA.

* Conor Stubbs, Head of IT.

* Lisa Powell, Clinical Co-ordinator.

* April Green, Key Relationships Manager.

* Sharon Hurley, Sunflower Centre development.

* Louise Gorton, Handforth Shop Manager.

Accordionist John Jones was also recognised for fundraising over more than 30 years.

Hospice Fundraising Assistant Nik Kalka

Nik Kalka admits he often struggled with answers at quizzes in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

He was too busy serving drinks from the bar, but he knew instantly what answer to give when offered a job as a fundraiser at the charity earlier this year.

His enthusiastic reply was an emphatic Yes to a cause which is close to his heart for so many reasons.

The best reason of all was remembering how well the Hospice cared for his close friend Sam Burt.

Sam Burt who was cared for by East Cheshire Hospice.

Sam, who grew up in Sutton, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour 10 years earlier. The IT technician at Fallibroome Academy died in 2017, aged 27.

Nik said: “Sam was involved with the quizzes for four years until he passed away in 2017 after helping raise more than £16,000 for the Hospice.

“Ironically, that was about the amount it costs to pay for the care for the three days and two nights he spent at the Hospice.

“He was determined to make the best out of life despite his diagnosis. The odd seizure slowed him down, but he still threw himself into everything.

“Sam had time for everyone and was a genuinely kind and friendly guy.

“He got lots of support accessing the Hospice services. It’s a special place, something I already knew before I came here.

“But once I joined and understood more about the Hospice, its different services, the staff and how they treat patients and each other, it’s even more special than I imagined.

“It’s quite unique and universally loved within our region.

“Once someone has experienced our services, they invariably become a lifelong supporter.”

The regular quiz nights at Marlborough Primary School were not Nik’s first introduction to East Cheshire Hospice.

Nik Kalka taking the strain during a fundraising event for East Cheshire Hospice by carrying fellow supporter Rob Gorton.

He said: “I knew the quiz answers, but they weren’t necessarily the right ones!

“I first came to the Hospice in 2003 as a teenager in the army cadets when I helped at fetes.

“Then I got involved with the quiz nights through Sam Baker, from Olympus Trophies, a long-standing supporter of the Hospice.

“A quiz support group run by Alison Brammer, Paul Morrissey and Mark Watson was set up in 2013 and these events are still hugely popular, raising vast sums for the Hospice.

“Marlborough Primary School have been incredibly helpful, as have Storm Brewing.

“It’s a privilege to work at the Hospice which means so much to me.”

24-mile walk in memory of a loved one

A soggy end failed to dampen spirits on a special family day out climbing the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

Claire Crimes and family members took on the 24-mile walk in memory of her mother-in-law Iris, from Macclesfield.

 Iris Crimes was cared for by East Cheshire Hospice.

The group have raised more than £2,300 for East Cheshire Hospice where Iris was looked after last November.

The total was match funded by AstraZeneca where Claire works, as the Hospice is one of their chosen charities.

Claire said: “The weather was perfect for most of the day, but the heavens opened as we descended the last mountain.

From left, Craig Bracegirdle, Claire Crimes, Wayne Smith, Ben Crimes, Nat Hall and Ellie Crimes.

“It was a bit dodgy getting down with a small stream running down the rocks, so I ended up sliding down on my bottom. I finished the walk with muddy knickers and squelchy boots!”

Son Ben, daughter Ellie and her boyfriend Nat Hall, along with two of Iris’ other grandsons Wayne Smith and Craig Bracegirdle, also undertook the challenge.

Claire said: “We all wore yellow Hospice t-shirts which was fabulous as we could see each other clearly as we broke apart walking up the mountains.

“We stayed together as a group even though the younger ones would have completed it in a faster time, and they waited for me at the top of each peak.”

“We all looked after each other and completed the walk within the 12-hour time limit which was marvellous.

“We wanted to give something back for the way the Hospice cared for Iris. They were so lovely with her and all the family and it was our way of saying thank you.

“They’re all angels at the Hospice and made everything as comfortable as possible. We wanted to do something in Iris’ memory.”

A week later Ben also undertook a tandem sky dive to raise funds.

Daring Ben Crimes parachuted from 15,000 feet.  

Claire said: “It was his first parachute jump and he was the only one in his group who jumped from 15,000 feet.

“He said if he’s going to do it he may as well do it full-on from three miles up. He said it was amazing and if ever anyone had thought about doing it – do it!”

“We’d like to thank family and friends for the very kind donations and also the people we met along the way who also donated.”

To donate to their fundraising visit

Kevin Sinfield OBE has backed East Cheshire Hospice’s latest venture

Prolific fundraiser Kevin Sinfield OBE has backed East Cheshire Hospice’s latest venture.

The former Rugby League star sent a goodwill video message to fundraisers at an inaugural event to raise awareness of motor neurone disease.

The special MND day at Macclesfield Rugby Club raised almost £4,000, with proceeds shared between the MND Association and the Hospice.

Walkers take part in a wheel challenge

Supporters completed laps of the car park on wheels, an idea inspired by carer Jan Gates and implemented by Hospice senior physiotherapist Natalie Nye who organised the pilot event along with colleague Jill Harding.

Jan, whose husband Mike has MND, attends popular monthly support meetings which have been at the Hospice since 2017 and are led by a team of health professionals from there.

Jill, a health care assistant, said: “Considering the progressive  nature of the disease, those who attend our MND Wellbeing Days are the most upbeat positive people you could ever wish to meet and they’ll usually find a reason to laugh about something during the session.

“They’re a unique group of people and I can’t pay them a big enough compliment.”

Patients and carers are invited to attend the monthly Wellbeing sessions where a topic is discussed each time.

Subjects range from managing fatigue, advice about sleep and relaxation, advanced care planning, aids to communication and travel help.

The inaugural motor neurone day was a huge success.

Carers access peer support in a separate room and both patients and their carer can enjoy a relaxing complementary therapy during the sessions which are supported by volunteers including trained visitors from the MND Association.

Jill said: “It was about raising awareness of MND in collaboration with the Hospice. We couldn’t hold it there because of ongoing refurbishment work at the Sunflower Wellbeing Centre and Jan had the idea of patients and relatives doing laps using wheels as a mode of transport.

“We had wheelchairs, wheelbarrows, scooters and bikes and everyone joined in the spirit of the occasion for two great causes. The rugby club were brilliant hosts and we plan to make it an even bigger event next year.”

Natalie and Jill dressed as sunflowers to represent the Hospice emblem and volunteered for an ice bucket challenge in lieu of a minimum £50 charity donation. Prizes were donated and cake sales boosted the fundraising total.

New member in the Hospice @Home team

Mum Cheryl McDonald is one of the newest recruits at East Cheshire Hospice.

As a part-time health care assistant, she visits patients in their own homes as part of the Hospice @Home unit.

Cheryl has vast experience, having spent her entire career caring for people of all ages.

Yet she admits joining the Hospice in May was one of her best moves.

Cheryl said: “I’m still finding my feet, but already realise what a lovely place it is to work. I’d recommend it.

Health care assistant Cheryl McDonald with four-year-old son Nate.

“It’s a nice environment and as you walk down the corridors everyone is so friendly and everywhere so clean.”

Cheryl is still part of the bank team at Macclesfield and District General Hospital where she spent seven years, including spells in the same day emergency care unit and A and E.

She said: “I’m trained to take bloods so it keeps those skills. I work there a few hours each month. You have to do your bit to support the NHS don’t you?

“There are different pressures in a hospital where you can look after between 40 to 50 patients, whereas Hospice @Home means visiting one patient at a time.

“You concentrate on them and get to know the family and more about the patient.

“It’s so rewarding. You’re helping the person and their family and sometimes you’re the only person a patient may see in a day.

“You can signpost them to where they may need further help. It’s nice to know you can help those choosing to die at home.

“Not everyone wants to die in hospital, while the Hospice is also available if they choose to become an inpatient.”

Cheryl spent 10 years helping disabled children as Cheshire East co-ordinator at Carers Trust4all, having trained as a nursery nurse after leaving school.

Cheryl said: “Hospitals can be clinical and if someone passes away with a cardiac arrest you haven’t got to know that patient. Then it’s on to the next patient and that’s how it works.

“With Hospice @Home you’re able to build up a rapport, sitting with a patient and holding their hand and providing the comfort they need.

“There’s no pressure and you can sit with them for an hour if they wish. Nothing’s rushed.

“At hospital, we’ve sat with patients in their final hours too. They’re comfortable and no one is ever left alone.”

* To apply for a staff nurse vacancy visit