Uncategorised Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

A loving Hospice story

Retired nurse Janet Dean has a powerful personal story about how East Cheshire Hospice has helped her family over the years.

Her late mother and late husband were cared for by the charity, which is now asking others to also share their own experiences.

The request is part of Dying Matters Week (May 2-6), a national campaign run by Hospice UK to encourage people to talk about death and grief more openly.

Janet Dean who has attended more than 850 sessions of an exercise class to help cope following the loss of her husband Peter.

The Hospice want to hear from current users of its services, plus friends and relatives of former patients. The aim is to make families feel comfortable with Hospice care.

Like Janet, whose mum Florence Hooley (70) died in 1994 and husband Peter (66) in 2019, both at  East Cheshire Hospice.

Janet said: “Obviously a patient would prefer not to become part of the family there, but whether as a relative, patient, staff, or volunteer, it’s like being part of a big family. The Hospice gathers you in and embraces you.

“The Hospice motto is ‘where people come to live’ which was the case for my mother and husband and other relatives I’ve lost there.

“Mum’s first stay was for symptom management. I remember her saying to me ‘It’s like a five-star hotel. They even ask you what you want for your meals.’

“I worked in the NHS for many years. I’d pop in after work, and as a Ward Sister on an acute medical ward at the time, it was always so peaceful at the Hospice. The care the staff were giving I could only dream of on my busiest day.”

“The care is not just about doctors and nurses. It’s holistic. Focusing on emotional and spiritual care as well as practical needs. Peter especially gained peace from Reflexology. This surprised me, as he wouldn’t even let me cut his toenails, he was so ticklish!”

Peter Dean after catching supper on a holiday in New Zealand in 2013.

The couple donated to the Hospice to support its opening in 1988, the start of a long-standing fundraising association. Janet has now volunteered as a ward clerk and receptionist for five years.

Beth England, Individual Giving Fundraiser, said: “Sharing your experience can help so many future families who may feel worried, or unsure, about hospice care.

“If you’ve experienced the care and support of East Cheshire Hospice, either first-hand, or as a family member or friend, we’d love to hear your story.”

* Visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/support/tell-us-your-hospice-story/ or email stories@echospice.org.uk or call 01625 433477.

Find out more about Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Serenity Garden Makeover 2022

A courtyard at East Cheshire Hospice is set to be transformed into a floral wonderland for patients and their families.

Garden and landscape professionals are joining forces with volunteers to create a horticultural haven called Serenity Garden.

The eco-friendly project, co-ordinated by garden designer and maker Ben Darlington, is already under way and will be well advanced within weeks.

The open patio space at the rear of the Hospice was enclosed once the new Proseal Wing was built last year.

The two in-patient wards back on to the courtyard inspiring Ben, owner of The Wild Gardener, to create a year-round retreat for patients and visitors.

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

Ben said: “I found out the average length of stay on a ward is two weeks, so felt we’ve needed a garden where there’s something going on every single week of the year.

“That gave me the idea of perpetual renewal to create a sense of optimism. An outside area for patients and somewhere families coming to see loved ones can reflect.

“Every month if you came out and looked at the garden you’ll find something coming into bud, so it’ll be like life surging through.

“Once it’s finished we’re going to do some calendars for the wards showing not just what’s out this month, but what to look for.

“It’s that optimism that even in the bleaker months of the year you can come out and see things just beginning to push through.

“The summer as a garden designer is quite easy, but in the winter months we’ve got fragrant shrubs, and shrubs and trees with red and white bark.”

The design is also part of the Hospice’s green initiative. Ben said: “Plants are by definition a renewable resource – compared to so many landscaping materials like paving from another country.

“The emphasis is on sustainability and with a deep layer of moist compost, it won’t need watering nearly as much.

“The paving uses recycled materials from the old patio, so we didn’t have to bring in any more stone.

“Much of the garden is herbaceous grasses and plants. It’ll be lovely from day one with a wow factor this summer, but will get even better and in five years will really feel mature.

“The shade does make the garden more of a challenge. The gardens are managed by a fantastic volunteer team, but not adding too much to their to-do list has been key.”

The garden before the makeover team got to work.

A big community effort is behind creating Serenity Garden in the grounds of East Cheshire Hospice.

Corporate supporters are joining volunteers from the charity’s regular gardening team and Bollington families to put 1,000 plants into the ground.

Mark Marshall’s team from Lawn Stripes and Hedges, of Macclesfield, has already undertaken preparatory landscape work, his poodle Button never far away.

Mark’s eco-friendly landscaping company has raised funds and also supports the Hospice by loaning vans for Christmas tree collections.

Landscapers Roco Fregapane (left) and Aaran Manton remove the old patio. 

He said: “It’s a local project involving design, landscaping and planting. Cheshire Demolition donated skips and Pivotal Plant Hire gave a big discount on diggers.”

Retired practice nurse Deborah Roberts has been a volunteer gardener at East Cheshire for 14 years.

She said: “We’re all excited by the whole project of learning and seeing a new garden emerge. This oasis will be lovely to see from the wards and it’s wonderful working with our designer Ben Darlington who’s so knowledgeable.

A tight fit…Rob Shem from Pivotal Plant Hire squeezes a digger into the courtyard watched by Zak and Jake.   

“He’s keen to have nature here all year round and this space is going to be fantastic. We can keep labour costs down by working alongside Ben.”

The Hospice is always looking for volunteer gardeners who meet on Wednesday mornings. For more details contact volunteer co-ordinator Helena Smith hsmith@echospice.org.uk.

Ben said:  “The new garden is 120 square metres of herbaceous border, so we needed a design manageable for them.  I’ve taken a low maintenance approach, so they don’t have to worry about watering it in the summer, or staking, pruning and feeding.”


To find out more about our green initiatives including our solar panel campaign, go to www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/green

New solar panels at East Cheshire Hospice

East Cheshire Hospice has launched a fundraising campaign to buy solar panels as it faces rising cost and care challenges.

The Hospice is appealing to the public to help fund roof panels for its Millbank Drive site as part of a new environmental initiative.

A temporary logo highlighting East Cheshire Hospice’s green campaign, including an appeal for help buying solar panels.  

Each panel costs £562.50 and any surplus donations will be put towards the Hospice’s general running costs. To donate visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/solar-panel-campaign.

Solar panels will cut the charity’s energy costs, so an even greater percentage of future donations can go directly towards patients care.

The appeal comes as hospice care faces more pressures than ever before, both on an economic and health care front.

Fuel costs are rising sharply, while demand for East Cheshire’s services is also expected to increase rapidly in the next few years due to more complexity at end-of-life.

Individual Giving Fundraiser Beth England said: “Installing solar panels is part of a pro-active and long-term solution to the increasing costs and care demands faced by the Hospice, as well as helping protect our environment.

Beth England, Individual Giving Fundraiser at East Cheshire Hospice.

“Using a renewable energy source means we’ll reduce our carbon emissions, which is fast becoming a priority here at the Hospice.

“We aim to be a sustainable healthcare system that respects and protects the environment, while continuing to improve the quality of life and care for those in our community with life-limiting illnesses.

“The Hospice has been protecting our community for over 34 years. The past and present support from our community has ensured our culture of continuous improvement.

“By making a donation today, you’ll be protecting the future of our care and helping us extend our reach as far as we can, and should.”

The number of people dying in the UK with multiple and complex conditions is projected to increase by 42 per cent by 2040.

Beth added:  “As anyone who’s received support from the Hospice will know, the wrap-around holistic care we provide is only possible because our nurses have the time and resources to make every moment count.

“Solar panels are low maintenance and this sustainable energy source will enable us to accommodate and plan for the growing complexities of end-of-life care, allowing us to continue giving those in our community the dignity, respect and compassion they deserve.”

A Hospice letter to supporters also highlights current eco-friendly practices in its kitchen, shops and garden which is undergoing an environmental makeover, using plants requiring less water.

Volunteers serve teas again this summer

Volunteers from East Cheshire Hospice will again be serving up tea and delicious home-made cakes at Adlington Hall this summer.

All proceeds will go to East Cheshire Hospice which has again accepted an invitation from the Hall to use its traditional tea room in the main building for a fundraising initiative.

The volunteers will be there every Sunday between 2 pm and 5 pm from June 5 until August 28 (apart from July 24).

The tea and cakes were so popular last August that the initiative has been extended this year.

Guests do not need to book teas and, if they wish, can also pay to walk through the hall and picturesque gardens at one of England’s finest country homes.

Hospice Community Fundraiser Carley Macey said: “We want to thank Adlington Hall for inviting us to use their tea room which allows us to raise vital funds and spread awareness about our services.

“We hope everyone who attends enjoys the amazing home-made cakes, lovingly prepared by our volunteers.  By going along, it’s a great way to support your local hospice.”

Adlington Hall is available all year for pre-booked group tours of 20 people minimum. For details visit adlingtonhall.com

Highlights include The Great Hall which houses The Great Organ, arguably one of the country’s most important 17th century musical instruments.

January Rug Sale

A massive rug sale is under way thanks to a generous gift to East Cheshire Hospice.

East Cheshire Hospice are selling new rugs of all shapes and sizes at its three shops at Thornton Square and in Handforth and Poynton.

Some 1400 rugs which were surplus stock were donated to the Hospice, with all proceeds going directly to fund patient care.

Hospice shop manager Pete Gorton and furniture co-ordinator Michele Slack with just a few of the rugs.  

The Hospice has also arranged a special sale at Macclesfield community centre – formerly Macclesfield senior citizens hall – on Duke Street.

The centre will be open for the rug sales from 10 am until 4 pm on three successive Saturdays, starting from January 8.

Commercial manager Louise Delany said: “It’s first come, first served basically at our three shops but because we’ve got so many we haven’t enough room to display as many as we’d like.

“Therefore, we’ve set up an opportunity for potential buyers to view them at our sales days at the community centre.

“There’s already been a big demand, but we’ve got hundreds of high quality rugs for sale, mostly for less than half the retail price.

“There’s a huge assortment of sizes, colours, patterns and prices.

“If people want to grab a great bargain then I suggest they visit our shops quickly, or come along on one of the three Saturdays.”

Review of the year at East Cheshire Hospice

Staff at East Cheshire Hospice once again hit extraordinary heights in 2021.

Not just caring for patients, but with a daring wing walk.

Health care assistant Jo Helm and husband  David Helm before their wing walk.

The magnificent seven on their flying machine – a classic 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane – were health care assistants Jo Helm, Jill Harding, Caroline Allen and Pam Webster, complementary therapist Gill Black, staff nurse Laura Parker and fundraiser Bethan Wade.

Jo and husband David are now planning their next adventure – a Sahara trek in November

Many supporters went to incredible lengths in aid of the Hospice.

Lucy Coppack, from Langley, hiked up 88 hills in the Peak District, defying a dislocated knee to raise more than £8,000.

The trek across trig points, in memory of her mum Lynne who died at the Hospice 25 years ago, had a poignant ending at Shutlingsloe.

Family and friends meet Lucy Coppack at the top of Shutlingsloe. 

Lynne, a landscape architect, designed the route to the summit and her dad, a council ranger, partly built the path.

Bollington teenager Finley Foote has barely stopped running since the first lockdown and is aiming to raise £10,000 from his exercise regime.

Runner Finley Foote who is well on his way towards raising £10,000.

Another non-stop fundraiser is accordion player John Jones MBE who reached a £100,000 fundraising milestone for the Hospice.

He has also raised a six-figure sum for  the intensive care unit at Macclesfield and District General Hospital which cared for his late wife June.

The vaccine roll-out saw Andrews Pharmacy, on Kennedy Avenue, become one of the first community pharmacies to begin inoculations almost a year ago.

Hospice nurses helped out while their own Sunflower Centre was closed during the pandemic, with the charity compensated for loaning staff.

A Drive-In Cinema and Firewalk signalled the gradual return of fundraising events organised by the Hospice.

Meanwhile, volunteer Elspeth Julian retired after 33 years with the charity.

Elspeth, from Prestbury, had been an adult bereavement counsellor almost since the day the Hospice opened its doors in 1988.

Elspeth Julian who retired after 33 years as a volunteer at East Cheshire Hospice.

Another farewell saw postman Robin Emery, from Hurdsfield, make his final delivery before retirement – a cheque of more than £2,000 for the Hospice.

Robin Emery who retired after 28 years as a postman. Picture courtesy of Paul Woods.

Robin’s final round was Gawsworth where he even held a farewell party to thank villagers for their friendship and support.

In September, the Hospice opened a new Proseal Wing, named after the company which generously donated funds so the extension could be built at the charity’s site on Millbank Drive.

What Women Want latest

The staggering sum of £54,000 raised for East Cheshire Hospice from a glitzy ball shows the love for the charity from within the community.

That is the view of the What Women Want group who announced their post-lockdown return to major fundraising events in spectacular style.

Their Cranage Hall bash raised £27,000 on the night – a total generously match-funded by a close friend and benefactor.

The group will buy a second new car for the charity’s Hospice @Home service, having also funded a first car. Proceeds will also decorate a lounge for patients and families.

 What Women Want members (from left) Jayne Carter, Jo Millward, Julie Barnes, Jill Harding and Elaine Burgess.

Group chair Jayne Carter said: “It was good to be back and we had a brilliant evening. The overriding impression from the night was just how much love there is out there for the Hospice, everyone was so generous.

“It’s an amazing amount raised and we can’t thank all of our sponsors enough along with everyone who attended the event and made it such a special occasion.

“It’s been a difficult couple of years for everyone and we’re so thrilled to have raised so much money.” A diamond pendant from P R Jones Jeweller was also raffled off.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “Yet again the What Women Want have shown what marvellous supporters they are of the Hospice. We can’t thank them enough for their long-standing dedication and hard work.”

The other members of WWW are Julie Barnes, Jo Millward, Jill Harding and Elaine Burgess.


Festive sparkle with Jingle Bell Jog

A Jingle Bell Jog brought festive sparkle to the smiling faces of children across Macclesfield. Almost 10,000 youngsters took part in a sponsored run or walk to raise much-needed funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

Some 48 organisations, mostly schools, joined in the fun despite bad weather and wore festive headwear. Nurseries and beaver groups also tackled their own routes. All Hallows Catholic College has raised more than £12,000 for the Hospice from the event over the years.

Its year 7 students were out in force again, with 200 pupils braving wind and rain for a bracing jog around the school playing fields.

Year 7 pupils at All Hallows Catholic College prepare for the Jingle Bell Jog.

Sophie Thomason, assistant faculty leader of PE, said: “We’ve done this event every year for the last 10 years or so. It’s important to support a charity like the Hospice, especially as it’s so close to home.

“Like many other charities, the Hospice income has been affected by Covid.  Pupils entered into the spirit of the occasion and we thank them for their enthusiasm, and parents and families for sponsoring them.”

The Jog was emotional for nursery practitioner Teigan Caldwell.

Nursery worker Teigan Caldwell with children at Kids Planet.

She took toddlers from Kids Planet where she works around West Park, only a few days after losing a close friend.

Tiegan said: “The care provided by the Hospice for her was amazing. I was dreading doing the Jog, but it was something I needed to do and it was poignant for me.

“Our children who took part are three or four years old and I’d like to praise them for their efforts and those who sponsored them.”

Hospice community fundraising assistant Claire Gorton said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from schools and groups who’ve been inspired to raise money for a great local cause.

“Participants range in age from nursery level to college students and they come from Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Kettleshulme and Congleton. The fact 10,000 children have been involved is fantastic.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who’s taking part, or has helped by sponsoring someone who’s participating.

“It’s been another difficult year for everyone and East Cheshire Hospice and schools are no exception. The funds raised will make a big difference and thank you so much to everyone who’s contributing.”

Headwear for the Jingle Bell Jog represented Elf, Snowman, Reindeer and Santa. Last year it was known as the Reindeer Run and next year it will be the Elf Run.

Dementia Services Co-Ordinator

Sharon Hurley could easily have followed another career when she left school at 16 without the necessary qualifications to become a nurse.

Thankfully, she never gave up hope and kept trying by gaining experience in a health care environment and eventually fulfilled her dream.

That was a long time ago but her passion for nursing has never diminished.

Sharon is now an experienced staff nurse in the Sunflower Centre at East Cheshire Hospice where she also co-ordinates dementia services.


She said: “I always wanted to do nursing, but didn’t have enough O Levels to get into the profession.

“So I started doing care work and general auxiliary nursing and paid to go back to college for two years.

“Even then, I didn’t have enough O Levels to start the course, but they took me on because I’d showed I really wanted to pursue my nursing and they accepted me.

“If they hadn’t given me a chance, I’d never have done my nursing.

“The role of a nurse has changed over the years and at times can be challenging and emotional, but generally is a very rewarding job when you see you’ve made a difference to people’s lives.”

Sharon has been in health care for 33 years, including 15 years in district nursing and on the wards at Macclesfield District General Hospital.

She has vast experience of dementia care and life-limiting illness, so is ideally placed to oversee the Hospice’s dementia  services for patients and carers.

Activities include a monthly Singing Together class and Love to Move, a seated exercise class.

There is also an eight-week programme for patients and carers, plus a dementia companion service in which trained volunteers provide companionship for those with dementia, giving carers respite for two hours.

That service had to be suspended during Covid-19 when others went online. Understandably, safety  guidelines continue to be monitored closely.

Sharon said: “Face-to-face sessions mean carers speak to other carers and that peer support is appreciated. It was all taken from them during Covid which was a strain for them.

“We get a lot of positive feedback from those attending our carers programme. Some patients are in the very early stages of dementia and don’t know where to turn to.”

* To discuss dementia services contact Sharon on 01625 666990.

Welcome to the team!

After a career in catering, Michelle Brown is used to spinning a lot of plates.

Multi tasking is certainly required in her role as the new general services manager at East Cheshire Hospice.

Michelle is part of a strong team behind the scenes ensuring the Hospice runs smoothly. Their roles are just as important as the front-line nurses delivering care to patients.

Michelle Brown, the new General Services Manager at East Cheshire Hospice.

Catering, maintenance and housekeeping all fall under Michelle’s wide remit. So, too, compliance to meet changes in legislation relating to food hygiene, health and safety, or any other issues.

Michelle can call on the Hospice handy man, or any other service contractor, to fix anything from a broken light bulb, or faulty washing machine.

She said: “I don’t know how to physically fix everything in here, but it’s knowing how to get the right people to do it. My job is also about negotiating contracts and understanding who your suppliers are.”

Michelle’s background is contract catering. Her previous job was as operations manager for 17 schools and colleges, a link with the education sector which stretches back as many years.

However, the pandemic gave her food for thought.

She said: “When I sat back and reflected during lockdown, I realised I wanted to give something back and just had to apply.

“Our aim is to give people the best possible care, whether it’s nursing, food, surroundings, or facilities.

“Clearly, the Hospice has always set such high standards and I just want to be part of that and see what I can add to make a difference. It’s a lovely environment and people are happy and friendly.”

Michelle, who works closely with head chef Ray Hamilton, also has a catering background in restaurants, care homes and a hospital after she trained initially in hotel management.

Michelle said:  “As time goes on and you progress into management, you tend to go more into the operational side of things to expand your knowledge and skills.

“It has tended to be a male-dominated role, but we’ve moved on a little bit now and I think women are being more recognised for these roles.”