Spotlight On: Owen – A Hospice Hero at the ripe old age of, 11 #abseiling #fundraising #charity #events #wirral #wirralhospice #hospicehero

owen 1We love it when supporters of Wirral Hospice St John’s take on a challenge to raise funds for us.

Over the years, many thousands have undertaken a whole host of wonderful (sometimes weird!) activities and events. They’ve completed charity walks, run marathons, endured triathlons, sat in baths of beans, swum for miles, shorn their locks, climbed mountains, jumped out of aeroplanes and much, much more. The funds they raise help us to continue to provide our specialist care services, free of charge, for the people of Wirral.

People embark on these pursuits for all sorts of reasons. It might be that they witness the services we provide for their family members or friends, at first hand. They may know people who are staff and volunteers here or, perhaps they read about the essential services we provide on information leaflets, or on social media, and they just wanted to help.

Whatever the reason, we really appreciate them ONE AND ALL.

We’re always delighted to see young people taking part for us, sometimes joining their families on walks and a host of other activities.

So, when 11 year old Owen told his mum that he wanted to abseil down a tall building to raise money for the hospice, we were fascinated to find out, why? We wanted to know what motivates a young person to choose to raise money for our charity. Like any good story, a series of life events and circumstances combined to bring young Owen to his inspiring decision.

Owen was born in March 2007. His mum, Kate, had been pregnant at the same time as her good friend and neighbour, Karen. By happy coincidence they spent time on the maternity ward together, cementing their friendship. Karen’s little girl, Sadie, was born two days before Owen.

Karen and Kate remained strong friends in the following years and young Owen and Sadie, living close by in the same road, were like brother and sister. The birth of Owen’s brother Archie, two years later, added to this ‘extended family’ dynamic.

Life went on with its everyday joys and, with the children growing up and playing well together, all was well. That is, until four years later, Sadie’s mum Karen was diagnosed with lung cancer. Huge challenges lay ahead.

Intensive specialised treatment at Clatterbridge followed, enabling periods of relief, remission and respite. The love and support of her many friends, most significantly Kate’s family at that time, enabled Karen to live as full a life as possible with Sadie.

Karen was supported here at Wirral Hospice St John’s. She experienced life affirming activities within our Wellbeing Centre (then known as Day Therapy). She was later admitted to our inpatients ward, once her condition began causing the kind of pain and discomfort our specialist treatment is designed to stabilise.

In August 2016, after five years of living with her illness, Karen died.

In the times when her mum was ill, young Sadie had spent many hours with mum’s friend Kate, her partner Derek and sons Owen and Archie. As life continued, as it has to, Sadie’s Auntie Veronica (Ronnie) took on guardianship and now Sadie is settled with her family.

Karen’s friend Kate is our Kate. She works here at the hospice as one of our lottery administrators having been a hospice volunteer before that, working with the education team, at the time of Karen’s illness. When the chance of a job in the lottery team came up she applied successfully and has been here ever since. She loves her role at the hospice and, inevitably, the work of the hospice features in many family discussions. Young Owen and, increasingly, Archie know of the activities people undertake to raise funds for us.

Owen came to the hospice one day during the school holidays with his mum (already a young ‘volunteer’ his mum had him stuffing some envelopes for the lottery team!). It was just after his school trip to The Conway Outdoor Arts and Education Centre in Anglesey (you know the kind of place: character-forming, outdoors, sailing, hiking and, particularly captivating for Owen, abseiling).

If you’ve seen our ‘Take on a Challenge display banner, sometimes on the roadway here, you may have noticed the silhouette on the side showing a person descending a steep precipice. On the way into the hospice Owen saw the banner and told Kate, “I can do that mum.”

With that small phrase, another ‘Hospice Hero’ was developing.

The ideal place for the task presented itself while the family were walking the Wirral Way near Moreton, Leasowe Lighthouse! A quick Google search confirmed that the lighthouse hosted regular abseiling events with qualified instructors and, even though just 11, Owen was ready to take on his first challenge for the hospice.

So, with fundraising plans in place and sponsorship forms drawn up, family, friends and neighbours rallied around to support Owen. Mum and dad encouraged their pals to dig deep. People were very happy to help raise and contribute funds for the hospice in memory of Karen.

The day arrived and alongside other people (all adults) Owen, safety equipment secured, climbed over the supporting rail and began his descent down 110 feet of lighthouse.

owen 2Five minutes later, after a couple of pauses to catch a breath and with mum Kate’s heart in her mouth, Owen completed his abseil challenge. Lots of whooping, cheering and hugging ensued.
Then it was time to count up the donations!

In this one challenge Owen had raised a fantastic £756 for the hospice. He’d also, demonstrated his support for Sadie, honoured the memory of Karen, made his mum, dad and younger brother swell with pride and, gained the respect of many more of his family, friends and neighbours.

Well done our Owen, everybody at Wirral Hospice St John’s is truly honoured by your efforts!

Author: Billy Howard

 

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April is #MakeAWill Month – do you have an up-to-date Will?

Julia“Hello, I’m Julia Evans, one of Wirral Hospice St John’s Fundraising Managers. I have worked at the Hospice for 16 years and look after our supporters who wish to make donations to our charity. It’s such a special place and a real privilege to be part of somewhere that plays such a crucial caring role in our local community.”

Making a legally valid Will is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer around to look out for them.

Many people do not want to consider making a Will yet or think that they will get to it another time.

It can usually cost in the region of £150+ for a single Will and £250+ for a double Will. More complex estates, for example those involving several properties, savings accounts or business assets can take much longer to work on and can be more expensive.

Wills are legally-binding documents and although you can make wills online cheaply and even for free, it is advisable to get professional support because even small errors could cause big problems for the future.

Wirral Hospice St John’s has formed partnerships with a number of local solicitors who are all willing to draw up Wills at their own expense throughout April. Click here to see a list of this year’s participants.

However, the solicitors are requesting that individuals make a fair donation to the Hospice in return for this service, which is a suggested minimum donation of £80 for a single Will and £150 for a double Will.

Appointments need to be booked in advance with each of the participating solicitors. Slots will fill up very quickly; early booking is advised so as not to be disappointed!

In this country, if your wishes are not drawn up officially then legally your assets are at the mercy of the government, which could leave behind big problems for your loved ones that could take many years to sort out.

If you are a homeowner and have children it is even more important to have a Will in place. The law does not recognise unmarried couples either so if one of you dies suddenly without a Will, your partner could be left without anything.

Of course, you may already have a Will in place but if major changes have happened in your life, such as marriage, having children, divorce, death of a loved one, then it can make aspects or all of a current Will invalid.

Wirral Hospice St John’s provides specialist care and support to patients, their carers and families across Wirral. The Hospice’s care is free to our patients but costs more than £3.5million a year to run.

Legacies are a vital part of our fundraising and ensure that we can continue to be here to provide the best care for our patients and their loved ones at their time of most need.

It really varies what people have left us in their Wills and we are always so grateful for whatever people choose to donate to us however small they might think that gift is.

Please note that if you use one of the legal firms supporting our Make A Will Month there is absolutely no obligation at all to leave a gift in your Will to the Hospice in addition to making a donation towards the cost of the Will-writing service.

If you choose to do so though, it is at your discretion and the solicitor is not allowed to inform the Hospice or any other charity you might wish to support after your lifetime.

Please do not delay something as important as this; pick up the phone, make that appointment and know that you will be making a donation to your local Hospice in doing so.

To find out more information, please get in touch with Julia: 0151 343 0778 / juliae@wirralhospice.org or visit www.wirralhospice.org

Author: Julia Evans

Meet #fundraiser Julia and learn more about the most recent campaign @wirralhospice

julia pond barrow summer memoriesWhat is your role at Wirral Hospice St John’s?
My day to day role includes looking after all donations that come through to Wirral Hospice St John’s Fundraising Office. I also look after the fundraising database, gifts in wills and liaise with solicitors.

I am responsible for our different giving campaigns; we promote about three big campaigns a year, which includes Light up a Life, Make a Will month and Summer Memories.

Another aspect of my role is to apply for charitable trust funding to secure grants towards important pieces of equipment for the hospice or support for our essential day-to-day patient care costs, which are in the region of £3.6million a year.

Why did you choose to work/volunteer at Wirral Hospice St John’s?
I began my career at Wirral Hospice in 2002 when I applied for a Fundraising Administrator role advertised in the local paper. I chose to apply as it was a local charity and my father-in-law was working here so I already knew how fantastic it was in supporting the local community.

I have worked here for more than 15 years and progressed in experience and responsibility to my current role as a Fundraising Development Manager.

My days in the fundraising office are always different and I love the variety my role brings!

What is the most rewarding part of your role?
I feel a great sense of achievement when I apply for funding for Wirral Hospice and we are successful, as I know the donations we are receiving are going towards the Hospice and will be extremely beneficial for our patients and their loved ones.

I also find it rewarding when a campaign I have been working on for months is successful and the response we get back from our supporters is positive. From personally getting to know the patients and families it always means to know that I am helping to make a difference to the care and support that they are able to receive from us.

What is the latest campaign you are working on?
I am currently in the middle of working on Summer Memories. This is our second year of running this particular campaign and it encourages supporters to sponsor a sunflower.

The sunflowers about 25cm high and made from a durable, high quality material which means they will last in our unpredictable British weather!

summer memories 2017 2 Saturated

What is the main aim of the campaign?
The main aim is for supporters to be able to have a thoughtful keepsake, which can be kept inside or even out in the garden or perhaps at the grave of a loved one.

Donations, no matter how small someone may think a gift might be, really can help our charity to keep delivering outstanding care for our patients, their families and carers.

How can people get a flower?
To sponsor a Summer Memories sunflower, please pop into the Fundraising Office (open 9am-5pm Mon to Fri), call 0151 343 0778 or visit www.wirralhospice.org.

To find out about other ways you can support Wirral Hospice St John’s, please visit our Get Involved section of our website or call 0151 343 0778 to speak with a member of the Fundraising Team.

Meet Jamie-Leigh #fundraiser and why she loves working for @wirralhospice

wirral_hospice_jamie_leigh_burgessWhat is your role at Wirral Hospice St John’s?

My main role as Fundraising Officer is to organise fundraising events from start to finish to ensure that they are organised successfully. This includes talking to local companies who could possibly help fund events we are hosting. I also give help and guidance to supporters who are organising new and exciting events for our charity.

Why did you choose to work/volunteer at the Hospice?

I have a personal connection with Wirral Hospice as my mum was cared for here six years ago. Therefore I know what an amazing job the hospice does and the care they offer to not only the patients but also their families too.

My family and I then began organising our own events once a year to raise money for the hospice. A job vacancy came up a couple of years ago and due to having experience of fundraising I felt I would be well suited for the role.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

I would say the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that I am part of helping to raise money for such a fantastic cause. Due to personally seeing the work they do I know exactly what the money I am helping raise is going to, which gives me a great sense of achievement. I’m very proud to be a Wirral Hospice fundraiser.

What events do you have coming up?    

The next upcoming event we have planned is It’s a Knockout which is an inflatable obstacle course based on the hit 70s TV show with 27 teams competing throughout the day. This is on Sunday 9th July in Birkenhead Park at 10:30 am onwards with food/bar, face painting, tombola, children’s fair rides and much more. It’s going to be an amazing family-friendly day of mayhem!

DSC_0003

Another event we have planned is a Ladies Lunch at an exclusive venue on Wed 19 July. This daytime event offers a two course meal and wine experience with a guest speaker and is a lovely opportunity for our volunteers and supporters to put on a pretty frock and have a lovely afternoon out.

How can people get involved?

People are welcome to come along to It’s a Knockout to offer support and spectate – there’ll be so much to see and do.

We also welcome volunteers at fundraising events to help out. Another big way of helping out with our Hospice fundraising events is by spreading the word to help us get as much publicity as possible, this can be done really easily by sharing Wirral Hospice’s Facebook and Twitter posts on social media.

If anyone is interested in upcoming Hospice events they can purchase tickets from our Fundraising Office by popping in or calling 0151 343 0778. A full Fundraising Calendar is here on our website.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Wirral Hospice volunteer, please contact Carole Snow, Volunteer Services Manager on 0151 334 2778.

Jobs & Volunteering opportunities are listed on our Hospice website and promoted on social media channels as they arise.

 

Why I’m walking for the Hospice #wirralcoastalwalk #wirral

annie johnson start lineFancy a bracing walk around the Wirral’s stunningly scenic coastline in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s? Avid walker Annie Johnson does!

Annie is no stranger to walking long distances, having an energetic dog, George, to look after. Annie can often be found walking along the beaches at Thurstaston, West Kirby, Hoylake and Meols.

Organised by the brilliant Rotary Club of North Wirral, this year’s Wirral Coastal Walk will take place on Sunday 18 June 2017. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get out together and get healthy with your friends, families, colleagues, four-legged friends and, at the same time, and help to make a difference to others on Wirral who need specialist care.

As a positive attitude to helping people support their charities, the organisers of the walk have made it possible for everybody to participate on accessible terrain. You can walk at your own pace and either walk for the full 15 miles from Seacombe to Thurstaston or there are completion points at 4 or 10 miles along the route. Canine companions are most welcome to take part free of charge!

As Annie explains, “I am a lifelong supporter of Wirral Hospice St John’s and, as well as being a Trustee for the last three years, I regularly volunteer at fundraising events and have participated in several long-distance challenges to help raise money for the charity, I even abseiled down the side of Wallasey Town Hall dressed as a jelly bean!!”

“My late father and two of my best friends received end of life care at the Hospice, another friend received pain relief and symptom control so I have witnessed first hand the outstanding care and comfort they give to patients, their families, carers and loved ones. It makes all the difference when you are at this incredibly difficult stage to have their support and care.  It is so important to keep the Hospice for the good of all the Wirral community.  I will be proudly be walking the distance for them on 18 June, and I will be using it as a training session for my 7th trekking holiday in Nepal this Autumn.”

Wirral Hospice St John’s needs £3.6 million each year to continue to look after patients with terminal or life-limiting illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, respiratory and neurological conditions.

To request a registration form, t-shirt and sponsor forms, please call Corinne McGinty on 0151 343 0778 or email fundraising@wirralhospice.org, thank you.

Please click here to make a donation to Wirral Hospice St John’s work or to set up a fundraising page to help us raise funds.

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