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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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.

What does it mean to win #itsaknockout? Jeff Burgess tell us #winner

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With this year’s It’s A Knockout fast approaching (Sun 9 July 2017) we spoke with Jeff Burgess, team captain of last year’s winning team ‘Din’s Dynamos’, to get his thoughts on our ridiculously fun fundraising event!

Why did you choose to take part in It’s A Knockout 2016?
My wife Denise was cared for and passed away at Wirral Hospice St John’s so it will always be a special place to myself and my family. It’s A Knockout was the perfect event for us to all come together as a family and raise some money for the wonderful place and people that cared for Denise. The fun nature of It’s A Knockout is exactly what she was about and she would have been there in spirit laughing and cheering us on.

You all raised a brilliant £920, how did your team go about fundraising your sponsorship?
We made a team JustGiving page then shared it with all our friends and family through our social media accounts. We also received paper sponsor forms from the Hospice which we took in to our workplaces. We were overwhelmed at how supportive everyone was and had exceeded the minimum sponsorship in no time.

What was your favourite part of the day?
The highlight for me was the Jungle River, it was hysterical seeing people flying through the foam and scrambling to get up the slippery slope. Oh and winning, of course!

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How did it feel to be crowned winners?
Absolutely amazing! It was a real sense of achievement for us all knowing that we had come together as a family for Denise and won it for her. We were all a bit emotional to tell you the truth.

What would you say to other teams considering taking part this year?
Go for it! It’s brilliant fun and will have you laughing from start to finish, foam and bouncy inflatables – what’s not to love!! You don’t need to be super fit for this one, just willing to give it a go and a sense of humour is a must! It really is a great day and knowing you are raising money for such an excellent local cause whilst having fun at the same time means everyone is a winner!

To find out how you can sign up a team to this year’s It’s A Knockout competition, please call our fundraising office on 0151 343 0778 or email fundraising@wirralhospice.org with your contact details.

 

Annie, #Glowing for #WirralHospice

annie-jNow that our first Glow with the Flow walk is over, we wanted to speak to one of our walkers to see how they found this neon filled walk. Our first person accross the line, Annie, was more than happy to share her experience:

Annie, what made you sign up to this event?

It sounded like such a fun event to be part of, I signed up as soon as the Fundraising Team announced it! Some dear family and friends have been cared for by the Hospice which is why it’s so close to my heart.

Was the event what you expected?

It was even better! There was an amazing atmosphere from the moment I arrived. Excited and colourful women, young and old, everywhere you looked. People laughing and having their faces painted, it felt a bit like a carnival.

What was the highlight of the night for you?

I was very proud to have been asked to lead the walk so that everyone knew where to go. We had marshals in place too all along the route but it was a great feeling to know that I was marching 900 women and girls along. I got so into it waving my glow sticks about that when I turned around a couple of times my fellow walkers had lagged some way behind so I had to wait for them to catch up!

How much have you raised in sponsorship so far?

So far it’s £366 online and I have raised about £250 from good old-fashioned sponsor forms. People have been very generous so I would just like to say a really big thank you for your support. It means so much to me and I know it does to the Hospice too.

You can find Annie’s page here

What would you recommend people do to prepare for the event?

I’m a keen walker anyway and have two dogs that need a lot of exercise so it was easy for me to cope with that distance. Though I must say I don’t usually walk quite so fast or with glowing bunny ears on! It’s an event for people of all abilities and  five miles is an achievable distance that you only really need to put in some gentle training in the weeks leading up.

Would you take part in this event again?

Yes, I can’t wait until next year!

Thank you to Annie and everyone who took part in and supported ‘Glow with the Flow’. We had more than 900 walkers glowing as they walked from West Kirby to Hoylake and back for our five mile walk!

We are delighted by the support we received from local business and the council which enabled this event to be such a success and we hope to have raised over £20,000 from this amazing walk.

Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the night.

Author: Jacinta Warwick

#Fundraising News

 

DSC_0042 (3).jpgThere are lots of ways people can and do support our charity’s special work. Thank you to everyone who fundraises or supports local fundraising activities in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s, we are very grateful for your help.

Here are some upcoming activities you might be interested in:

Lottery Rollover stands at £7,000!!!
Our Hospice’s weekly lottery has a top weekly prize of £2,000 and the second prize of £500 can rollover up to £10,000! There are also 32 other guaranteed cash prizes to be won every week. For this week’s draw on Fri 24 June 2016, the Rollover currently stands at an amazing £7,000!!!

If you would like to become a weekly member, paying £1 a week, please call our lottery team on 0151 334 0348 or pop in to the fundraising office. You’ve got to be ‘in it to win it’! A chance to win…a way to care!

National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Open Garden: Wed 22 June 1.30-5pm
3 Earle Drive, Parkgate CH64 6RY
Beautiful garden, new to the NGS calendar this year. Admission £3 adults, free for children. Refreshments on sale in aid of our Hospice.

Band Night: Sat 25 June, 7.30pm til late
Village Hall, Thornton Hough
Entry fee: suggest donation of £10 to the Hospice
Bands: Absaloot, Survivors of Mild Peril and Mono LPS.
Organised by supporter Andy Barnes to mark his 50th birthday in support of the Hospice.
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Summer Strum: Sat 9 July 12-9pm & Sun 10 July, 12-6pm
Hoylake Rugby Club
Weekend of folk music organised by the Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, Summer Strum is in aid of our charity and MIND. Free entry, great family atmosphere. Camping spots even available if you don’t fancy travelling back and to. Should be a cracking weekend!
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London to Paris: 20-24 July
Our team of intrepid Hospice Heroes will be taking on the challenge of cycling from London to Paris. An amazing amount of money has been raised by the group so far and there are some incredibly moving stories as to why they are taking on these personal goals.

If you’d like to support any of our cyclists with a donation or are perhaps even keen to take on your own personal challenge, even if it isn’t quite as arduous as cycling 300miles, please contact Michelle, Sam or Jamie-Leigh on 0151 343 0778 about what runs and challenges we have coming up.
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It’s A Knockout: Sat 30 July
Wirral Rugby Club
Ever wanted to take part in hit TV show from yonder years? Now is your chance! £10 per person, teams of 6-10 and we can help make up teams. Please get in touch with Jamie-Leigh on 0151 343 0778 if you fancy a whirl or would like to volunteer at the event. It should be a fantastic laugh and great atmosphere for participants and spectators. Free entry for those coming along to watch and cheer on the teams, there will be food stalls and a bar, as well as children’s rides and entertainment too.
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sainsburys money boxPlease vote for us in the Sainsbury’s Local Charity Public Vote!
We’ve been shortlisted for both Sainsbury’s Upton and Sainsbury’s Neston it would be great to get selected to one of their partners and truly incredible if we end up partnering with both! Votes count, so please do it on work computers and any mobiles, laptops, tablets etc you have at home. Please encourage your friends and family to vote for us too. We only have until Sun 26 June to register votes so don’t put it off too long, please!

If you have any questions, suggestions or burning ideas to raise funds for Wirral Hospice’s special care and support of our patients and their loved ones, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me: Teresa Nightingale, Head of Fundraising 0151 343 0778  /  fundraising@wirralhospice.org, thank you.

Best wishes
Teresa x
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