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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#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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81 Days ‘Till #LondontoParis!

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Left To Right: Jo & Chris

It’s getting ever closer to this year’s London to Paris Bike Ride, an awesome and epic cycle through 300 miles of rural towns and countryside from the 20th – 24th July, our twelve strong team are working hard to train and raise funds for the hospice in preparation for this adventure. One member of last year’s team, Chris, spoke to us recently about her experiences with last year’s London to Paris Cycle.

What made you take part in the event?

“As I was an employee of the Hospice observing how hard the staff work in order to support patients and their families, I felt a strong desire to help their efforts and to raise as much money as possible. Jo, who completed the cycle with me, has also worked as a nurse and was keen to be involved.”

How did you find the fundraising side? What was the best way of raising funds?

Fundraising was lots of fun and a great learning experience. We found the best method of fundraising is communication and involvement of family, friends and colleagues. There are many events which, in our case, proved financially beneficial towards our target e.g. coffee morning, fashion shows, pub quizzes, raffles, etc. all time consuming but great fun.”

What did you enjoy about the cycle ride?

“The cycle was awesome from start to finish. Beautiful English and French countryside with local residents and passers-by clapping and cheering encouraging all the cyclists. The finish cycling around the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful, wonderful memory. It is a lifetime experience not to be missed and we have no doubt one we hope to experience again. It surpasses my 7 global marathons and is an achievement we are both very proud.”

What advice can you give to this year’s riders?

“Enjoy the training and include a few hills!! It will be well worth it.”

Another one of last year’s riders, Frank, is doing it all over again this year, he shared with us why he wanted to do the challenge a second time.

IMAG0804 - Copy edit“I’m taking on the London to Paris ride for the second consecutive year. I think that tells you something in itself. It was such an inspirational trip for me. Not just in terms of the personal challenge and the wonderful countryside which the ride passes through between the two capitals. But the shared experience, friendship and support my fellow riders gave to each other was something very special. This July, it will be a privilege to ride again with others who are taking on this challenge for Wirral Hospice St John’s.”

Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe covering over 300 miles in 4 days. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill-climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, the finishing point, evokes a real sense of achievement. It is an inspirational and challenging experience to treasure forever.

If you would like to take part in the 2017 London to Paris challenge simply call Michelle on 0151 343 0778 or email michellet@wirralhospice.org for a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event.

Author: Jacinta Warwick

300 Miles for Mum

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Collette and son, Luca

Over the last couple of years our supporters have taken part in the London to Paris challenge event where they cycled through beautiful English villages into stunning rural France and then Paris and in that time they have raised an unbelievable £8000 for Wirral Hospice St John’s.

This year, hospice supporter, Collette Morris will be joining our fourteen strong team. She will be embarking on the London to Paris cycle in memory of her Mum, Sue Oxton following the care she received from Wirral Hospice during her last months.

“I’m doing this ride in memory of my beautiful and brave Mum, Sue Oxton, for Wirral Hospice St John’s because of the exceptional job they do. Wirral Hospice St John’s cared for my Mum during her last months. To try and express what the Hospice did for us all during such a difficult time is really hard, but in the simplest terms they gave us peace of mind knowing Mum was getting the best care she possibly could, and in a place where she felt safe and could have her loved ones around her. However, most importantly, the Hospice provided my Mum with a fantastic level of care, and dignity till the end, and sometimes that is all we can hope for.”

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This year’s Wirral Hospice London to Paris Team

We are very excited for Collette to join our 2016 team and her support along with that of all our London to Paris riders will go a long way to helping us raise the money

we need to keep the hospice going during 2016 and into the future. Collette hopes to raise an amazing £2000 from her cycle, you can add your support via her Just Giving page.

Our team will start with a long journey through rural Kent winding through picturesque British countryside, along the North Downs Way before reaching the white cliffs of Dover. After reaching Calais by ferry, the ride continues past historical landmarks and famous battlefields and through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France before ending in Paris amongst the buzz of the Tour De France as the atmosphere builds up for the Grand Finale.

Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe covering over 300 miles in 4 days. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill-climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, the finishing point, evokes a real sense of achievement. It is an inspirational and challenging experience to treasure forever.

If you would like to take part in the 2016 London to Paris challenge there are still a few spaces left so whether you are a novice cyclist or an experienced rider, simply call Michelle on 0151 343 0778 or email michellet@wirralhospice.org for a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event.

Author: Jacinta Warwick

‘Locked Up’ For Wirral Hospice #hospiceheroes

James-Morgan_0On Saturday 22nd August, Wirral Royal Mail employee James Morgan will be taking part in a unique fundraising event in Liverpool to raise funds for Wirral Hospice.

James shares, “Over the last couple of years I have been involved in a number of charity events, however this year I decided to get involved in something really different and unique”.

From 10am-5pm, James will be getting ‘locked up’ in an old police cell in St George’s Hall.

“It will make a lot of people laugh to see me ‘locked up’ in a cell – even if it is for only seven hours!”

James has made it clear that this event will be a one-off. “Not many places are open to the idea of ‘locking up’ a member of the public due to health and safety regulations, however St George’s Hall have allowed me to use an old cell beneath the old Assizes Court as a one-off, that won’t compromise any regulations. It’s a special event that won’t happen again. It’s exciting!”

James has chosen to take part in the challenge in memory of his Mum who sadly passed away four years ago from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“I’m taking on the challenge in memory of my lovely Mum, but also to support the work of Wirral Hospice St John’s. The staff at the Hospice do such an amazing and important job within our community – caring for patients with such kindness and supporting families during distressing times.

I want to help out in a small way so I will have a couple of collection buckets at St Georges Hall on Saturday for any donations passers by would like to make in support of Wirral Hospice”.

To show your support, stop by and say hello to James, who will be wearing a variety of different outfits throughout the day, including typical orange prison clothing and a straightjacket.

Read more about Stephen’s challenge via his online fundraising page –

http://www.sponsorme.co.uk/jamesmorgan/locked-up-in-memory-of-mum.aspx

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