Clinical Services Archives - Page 2 of 3 - East Cheshire Hospice

Cuddly Grief Bears

Cuddly Grief Bears are bringing comfort to children coping with bereavement.

Many of the woollen bears are knitted by East Cheshire Hospice volunteer Betty Malkin.

The Hospice supports bereaved children, or those with a close relative with a life-limiting illness.

Children choose their favourite six-inch bear colour and a personal message which is sewn into the back.

One is kept by the child and the other goes to those in their thoughts.

Betty, a great grandmother, said: “I’ve been making the bears for about two years and started off making just a few but it’s snowballed, especially during the pandemic  when people couldn’t make Hospice visits.

“Making the bears gave me a sense of purpose during lockdown. I’ve been making crafts for the Hospice for five years and knit every day. Last winter I knitted Christmas puddings with Ferrero Rocher chocolate inside.”

Betty’s items are sold at Henry’s café, Prestbury, and Shine Hair and Beauty, Upton Priory, with proceeds going to the Hospice.

She is one of several craft volunteers, including Grief Bear makers, who generously give their time and skill to raise funds.

Volunteer Services Co-ordinator Helena Smith said: “Betty’s amazing work is an example of the dedication shown by our arts and crafts volunteers.

“We were inundated when we appealed for volunteers last summer when we thought it’d be a nice gift for people who were unable to visit the ward.”

Children’s counsellor Jane Burton said: “The bears are popular with families in grief therapy and demand has grown in both the inpatient and outpatient units. Children have adapted them to suit their own ideas for individual therapeutic needs.”

Betty Malkin with her latest delivery of Grief Bears for East Cheshire Hospice.

Barbara Horry

Harold Horry only spent 15 hours as a patient at East Cheshire Hospice but it was long enough to leave a lasting impression on his family.

They have never forgotten the care the former AstraZeneca employee received in those final precious hours before he died in 2012, aged 86.

So much so that wife Barbara has donated proceeds from a book of family memoirs to the Hospice as a thank you.

The hardback, entitled The Mad Midwife of Mobberley, was written by granddaughter Lydia, a keen writer.

It is an affectionate account of Barbara’s nursing experiences over almost 40 years and was Lydia’s present to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday in November.

Barbara Horry with her book of family memoirs.

The Mad Midwife of Mobberley, written by Barbara’s granddaughter Lydia.

Family and friends bought copies for £10, raising £350 for the Hospice where Barbara admits she would have liked to have worked.

Harold was a leading figure in the scouting movement, spending 20 years as Alderley’s district commissioner. Barbara has raised more than £200,000 for the scouts over five decades.

Harold worked in package design for ICI and later AZ, spending more than 50 years with the company, based at Alderley Park and then Macclesfield.

Barbara said: “Fortunately, the Hospice found a bed for Harold and we just managed to get him there from the hospital in Manchester in time. He arrived after lunchtime and died early the next morning.

“He was only there for 15 hours but we were so grateful for the care he received in that short time.

“The Hospice do a wonderful job and I admire the work they do there not only for patients, but also for the families who’re so well looked after as well.

“We were so grateful for the Hospice’s compassion and understanding during our time of grief and will never forget their kindness.

“Lydia enjoys books and writing and her book contains tales of funny incidents in my life, including my early experiences as a district nurse and midwife.

“It’s been popular with family and friends and we’re all glad to have raised money for the Hospice which will always be close to our hearts.”

Barbara celebrating her 90th birthday.

Clinical Director Sandra Wins Prestigious Award

Clinical Director Sandra Jones has received a prestigious award to mark her ground-breaking safeguarding work at East Cheshire Hospice.

Sandra, who has more than 40 years’ experience in adult nursing, has been given a Safeguarding and  Dignity Award from Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board.

Her role as Safeguarding Lead saw her help implement a corporate induction and training plan for  staff and volunteers and establish new practices so information is shared with healthcare professionals involved in patient care.

Database changes also mean the Hospice can audit safeguarding conversations, concerns and processes to meet Care Quality Commission requirements and these practices can be adapted.

Sandra  joined the Hospice as a ward sister nearly seven years ago, having worked as a bank nurse on the inpatient unit and Sunflower Centre  previously.

She has an extensive background in acute medicine, coronary care and cardiothoracics, general intensive care and clinical research.

Sandra set up the first admission unit at Macclesfield District General Hospital and was also ward manager, igniting her passion for palliative care.

She worked with AstraZeneca as a research nurse working mainly with new oncological compounds and was a senior research nurse at The Christie.

Sandra said: “I’m passionate about delivering high quality care to our patients, in the Hospice and in the community. I’m proud of our clinical team and it’s a privilege to work at the Hospice.”

Award winner Sandra Jones, Clinical Director of East Cheshire Hospice.

Corporate Challenge to Fund Bereavement Services

Bereavement services run by East Cheshire Hospice will benefit from the next Corporate Challenge in May.

Firms and other organisations are being urged to sign up for the fun competition in which entrants  raise as much as possible from a £100 start-up loan.

All proceeds will go towards the expansion of the Hospice’s bereavement services for which demand has increased because of Covid-19.

East Cheshire Hospice’s Bereavement Services Lead Helen Wilkinson said: “People are more isolated and their grief compounded by restrictions, meaning they can’t hug, meet a friend, or catch up like they did.

“Some people try to squash their emotions, or keep busy, before realising there’s a problem and they can’t cope. We’re seeing that now and the delayed reaction means we’re likely to see it in the future as well.

“We encourage people to talk about it, be open and seek help. Everyone has different experiences and Covid and lockdown has heightened emotions.

“Those grieving shouldn’t wear a mask metaphorically and friends, relatives and society can help by  listening and offer empathy.  Bereavement is hard anyway.  Now more than ever, people are recognising the need for support.”

Helen Wilkinson, Bereavement Services Lead at East Cheshire Hospice.

Last year’s Corporate Challenge raised £12,226 and was won by Equilibrium Financial Planning which has also entered this time, along with Leap 29. All profit made by teams during May is donated to the Hospice.

* For more details go to

Warren Greveson’s Care

Vanessa Greveson has given an emotional account of how East Cheshire Hospice provided help when it was most needed.

Her talented musician husband Warren died of cancer in October 2019, spending his last three weeks as a Hospice inpatient. He was 63.

His health was declining when the couple moved to Macclesfield from Anglesey that summer.

Vanessa said: “He was pretty poorly by then. There comes a time in caring for someone when the drug regime needs frequent adjustment and you need instant advice from your medical team. However, you can’t always get hold of the right people just at the right moment.

“We came into the Hospice and that was brilliant. An enormous burden of responsibility had been lifted off my shoulders.

“I knew that someone else was going to know whether to up the syringe driver drugs, and manage any changes.

“I no longer had to relay anything to anyone. I could enjoy being with Warren, though sadly not for long enough.

“What neither of us had anticipated was the effect of the positive, supportive and very caring approach of everyone at the Hospice for us both. We were very happy in those last days together.”

Warren was a composer and producer, writing orchestral music electronically in his studio.

One of his most innovative works was a 2018 album inspired by the Voyager space missions. It was performed at festivals in Anglesey and Orlando. He died before his final work could be performed and released on CD.

Warren in his music studio.

Review of the Year – 2020

Face shields, fundraising and a special farewell marked a year that East Cheshire Hospice will never forget.

End-of-life care became much harder because of Covid-19 which prevented the Hospice from holding a single mass-participation event in 2020.

Nurses showed amazing character and spirit – their brave efforts honoured during the emotional  Clap for Carers tributes each Thursday.

The community came together during lockdown, raising much-needed funds with all ages showing incredible acts of kindness and dedication.

Tytherington School pupil Finley Foote raised an incredible £5,515 running near his Bollington home, while another youngster George Bailey climbed 108,000 steps.

Many were inspired by fundraiser Carl Lamptey who received messages of support from musicians and sports stars.

Face shields flooded into the Hospice, along with other PPE equipment. Students and staff at Fallibroome Academy produced visors, while volunteer Shelagh Julian put her sewing skills to good use making masks.

Musician John Jones has spent more than 30 years cheering up patients playing his accordion. His performances have raised more than £300,000 for charity, including £89,000 for the Hospice.

John lost his wife June in March but was determined the show must go on in tribute to his biggest supporter.

The Hospice made two key appointments in 2020. Experienced BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson was appointed a Patron of the charity, which cared for his late father Robbie, while Edna Keefe became an Honorary Vice President.

The news came as she retired after 32 years’ service. Edna’s first job was to clean the Hospice before it even welcomed its first patient and she later worked in the laundry room.

The pandemic led to volunteers standing down temporarily, the Hospice hoping to welcome them all back in 2021.


Fallibroome Academy’s Catriona Beynon hard at work making visors.


Finley Foote and mum Sarah on one of their runs.


Edna Keefe (left) with former housekeeping colleague Christine Jenkins.


Nick Robinson who became a Hospice Patron in 2020.


Accordionist John Jones who has raised over £300,000 for charity.


Nurses taking part in the Clap for Carers.

A Challenging Year

East Cheshire Hospice is predicting a big financial loss because of Covid-19.

The Hospice has been unable to hold a mass-participation fundraising event for over a year and has been forced to make redundancies.

Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the community who’ve been incredibly generous.

“Like us, they were fearful and distracted by everything else in their own lives but they still took time out to support us and donate online, or do a fundraiser.

“Knowing that people are rooting for you like that kept us going and was the embodiment of the wind beneath our wings.

“Along with that extra goodwill, we had support from the government but we’ve been told that finishes on March 31 so we’re expecting a shortfall of almost £1m next year and have had to make some roles redundant.

“It’s a significant challenge to keep all our services going. It’s not like our service isn’t needed or we can cut back, because every single thing we do is around support for people facing incurable diseases.

“We’ve allowed visitors throughout the pandemic in a controlled and measured way and have done all we possibly can to make sure people are with loved ones right until the end.

“The PPE has been a physical barrier between the warmth, kindness and physical touch of someone who really cares for you.

“Our new Hospice @Home day time team started in April and that was absolutely needed.”

Staff members Jill Harding (left) and Tess Cleaver with the Hospice @Home car.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston (left) and Assistant Nurse Practitioner Clare Preston welcome PPE from China in April.

Preparations For A Third Covid Wave

East Cheshire Hospice is preparing for a third wave of Covid-19 piling further pressure on the charity’s stretched resources.

Chief Executive Karyn Johnston says exhausted staff face a challenging period before a vaccine hopefully ends the crisis.

Reflecting on the toughest year in the Hospice’s history, Karyn said: “There was no respite for us when the country started to open in July and August.

“We realised we had to use that time to prepare for wave two because a consequence of getting together was that the disease spread.

“Now we’ve opened up a spreadsheet called wave three because we know Christmas is going to bring many new challenges in January.

“So we’re preparing for that and you’re piling this on human beings exhausted from what they’ve been through and who’re emotionally and physically drained.

“January and February is always a stressful time for us anyway because there are usually respiratory illnesses around then.

“We expect it to be much worse this year but there’s hope that by the end of March our frontline staff will be vaccinated. That’d be a huge step forward for us and very re-assuring.”

The Hospice, which started an asymptomatic test programme with Cheshire East Council, had to stand down all 675 volunteers initially. Around 50 are back, including a newly-created family liaison role supporting visitors with PPE rules.

Karyn said: “Standing down volunteers left a huge hole in our ability to perform the way we normally  did. All roles are vital and not many companies could lose around 600-plus employees and expect to function in the same way.

“Obviously the whole team pulled together and tried to fill those roles as best we could to keep the place going. We sorely miss our volunteers who amplify the humanity brought to our organisation in ways we didn’t fully understand until it wasn’t there.”

Caring for end-of-life patients has presented many challenges.

Karyn said: “We’re an organisation that operates in the extra mile zone so you can imagine how difficult it’s been for our front-line staff dealing with the present danger of spreading the disease but also turning to heartbroken family members and saying ‘no I’m sorry you can’t come in today.’

“That’s where the mental health of our team has been really challenged  – for a team that’s used to operating in the extra mile not being able to get there has been awful for them.”

Karyn Johnston, Chief Executive of East Cheshire Hospice.

Festive Afternoon Teas

Afternoon teas were delivered to homes as East Cheshire Hospice still made sure the festive season was celebrated in style.

The tasty treats were enjoyed by members of the Hospice’s friends and family support group at their virtual Christmas party.

Volunteer drivers took out the festive boxes prepared by the Hospice catering team in a doorstep delivery service which reflected the spirit of Christmas.

From left, staff nurse Joan Marie Williams, Denise Higginbotham from the catering team and volunteer drivers Peter Bedson and Richard Hayes.

The support group is for those looking after a family member or friend diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.

No link to the Hospice is required to be part of the group which meets on the first Tuesday of each month.

Sessions were at the Sunflower Centre until April and have been held via Zoom since the start of Covid-19.

Sunflower Centre Manager Helen Henshaw said: “For our December season  members would have been served a delicious Christmas lunch and enjoyed festive entertainment.

“So in keeping with our new technological skills we held a virtual Christmas lunchtime party which allowed everyone to enjoy the contents of the boxes and share amusing stories.

“This was a first for the Hospice and we were excited to be able to continue to offer this invaluable support.

“It also gave us the chance to wish goodbye to 2020 and pray for good health and better times in 2021.”

Anyone who provides care and support for an adult with a diagnosis of any life-limiting illness in Eastern Cheshire can access the self-referral friends and family service. For more information contact the unit on 01625 665685.

Helen said: “The group offer time to talk, share, relax and support others in a similar situation. It’s also worth stressing the group is also open to those who might not necessarily have a connection to the Hospice.

“Staff within the unit adapted quickly after Covid-19 and set themselves a challenge, initiating the use of Zoom to continue the monthly support sessions.

“These have continued during this unusual year and feedback from our service users has been extremely positive and a lifeline during lockdowns.

“We’d like to thank everyone who contributed towards making our virtual afternoon tea such a success, especially our volunteer drivers and our catering team.”

Staff nurse Joan Marie Williams and Carol Schofield from the Sunflower Centre.

Second Lockdown at the Hospice

Bedside visits to patients at East Cheshire Hospice are still being allowed during the new national lockdown.

There are already limited restrictions in place for visitors to the inpatient unit and these will continue over the four-week period.

The Hospice will also carry on with limited outpatient services at the Sunflower Centre, while the Hospice @Home service continues as normal.

Hospice shops at Thornton Square, Wilmslow and Poynton have closed until the lockdown ends on December 2, although online sales will continue via the shops’ Facebook pages.

Volunteers will continue to work on reception and staff will work from home where possible.

Meanwhile, the fundraising Firewalk event has been postponed from last Friday (Nov 6) to Friday 5th February 2021.

The Christmas tree collection will still go ahead on January 9/10 while complying to government restrictions.

Income Generation Director Rachel Allcock said: “We thank everyone for their patience and understanding during these difficult times.

“We will continue to deliver our services and will monitor the situation daily. If there is a change we will adapt accordingly to ensure we operate in a way that meets all Covid safety requirements. Our priority is the care of our patients in a safe and secure setting.”

The Hospice has not been able to hold a fundraising event since the last Christmas tree collection in January. A terrific community response has eased the financial strain and the hope is that the public will continue to support the Hospice during this latest lockdown.

Rachel Allcock, Income Generation Director at East Cheshire Hospice.