‘Christmas Lights’. Friendly rivalry in Templemore Road inspires our Wirral Christmas Lights Trail

#Christmas #fun #fundraising #hospicecare #community

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so the lyrics of the famous yuletide song go and, in this year of all years, we can all do with some seasonal cheer.

Ian, up the ladder, with son, Jordan, fitting their Christmas lights

So, we were delighted at Wirral Hospice St John’s when neighbours at Templemore Road in Oxton decided to add support to our Wirral Christmas Lights Trail, while showcasing the extra special effort they’ve been putting into decorating the outside of their homes for a number of years now.

We spoke to Ian and Nina from Templemore about the road’s annual lights fest and their, in effect, open-air Grottoes which have been attracting sightseers from all over Wirral this year.

“As a family, Christmas has always been a pretty big deal for us and we’ve always gone a bit OTT with the Christmas lights.

Our friends of over 30 years, Dave and Alison, who live a couple of doors away, and our, now grown up, children really look forward to the Christmas ‘lights-off’. (Well, ‘lights-on’ actually!) 

Ian and Dave are especially competitive so it has become a bit of a thing about who can outshine the other. They’re like big kids at this time of year but we know it’s just a bit of fun at the end of the day. Over the years many other neighbours have also shown their support and are becoming more and more involved.

As Ian is an engineer by trade, he thoroughly enjoys designing and making his own creations. Dave, in turn, acquires every Christmas inflatable he can find, including massive Santa’s, polar bears, penguins, reindeer, bells, Christmas trees,  snow scenes and thousands of twinkling lights!

Another ‘Big Kid’ checks out the Christmas lights

Stuck between the competing families are neighbours, Will and family, who have been caught in the crossfire and now just think, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’.

So now, and for the past seven years since we moved into Templemore, the number of neighbours joining in has steadily grown.

During this year’s lockdowns, the road formed a supportive and friendly WhatsApp group and the ‘chat’ since summertime was about going all out for Christmas to bring a bit of cheer to the whole neighbourhood after this challenging year.

Then, in November we spotted that Wirral Hospice St Johns were promoting a Wirral Christmas Lights Trail and the whole group agreed that many people in the area have personally experienced the care and support of our hospice and that it was the ideal charity for us all to get behind. 

Now, with the story having been picked up by the Wirral Globe and with social media support from the hospice, and many others, we have hordes of families, every single evening walking up and down the road.

Cars form queues at busy times. But everyone keeps a social-distance and it is wonderful for us to see so many happy, smiling faces. (Although sincere apologies to those having to pack their toddlers back into the car, crying because they want to stay longer!)

It has really lifted the spirits. The roads adjoining ours are also getting in on the act and we know many more around Wirral are too, which is so heartwarming to see. With people also making their kind donations to Wirral Hospice St Johns it makes it all the more worthwhile.”

Lovely sentiments from Nina and Ian, all their friends and neighbours, and now, of course, all the other people who are joining in these festive celebrations.

At the hospice we are truly grateful to everyone in our whole Wirral ‘family’ as we say to them, sincerely,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good ‘light’!

NB: In a year when many events have been cancelled it’s heartening to know our Wirral community are finding many innovative ways to help their local hospice.

With the impetus from our friends at Templemore Road the Wirral Christmas Lights Trail has really taken off with over 50 different households all around Wirral now taking part in the festive celebration.

You can find out more about the trail here www.wirralhospice.org/lightstrail And, if you can, please make your kind donations to the campaign here www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wirralchristmaslights

The Night’s Watch: Steve Roberts supports the hospice, both night and day #hospicehero #volunteering #patientcare #fundraising #community

Often you will turn around at Wirral Hospice St John’s and Steve Roberts, often for reasons not always immediately obvious, will be in your line of vision.

He’s an ‘Every-Person’. He might be jet-washing a patio area, fixing a light, cutting grass, checking the CCTV, touching up some paintwork, pat-testing the defibrillators, picking up or starting some laundry or just smiling, ready for a chat, when he picks up the internal or external post.

Employed as a ‘bank’ worker in our night ‘security’ team, he’s available (nearly) all hours of the night when called upon. However, throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond, we’ve also seen him adding hours, which he’s volunteered for, during the day!

Steve is ‘Wirral’ through and through, starting school at Mersey Park in Tranmere and after leaving school he progressed to become a HGV fitter, then joining Unilever as a quality control technician. He then moved across to the security department where he spent 20 of his 39 happy years of service, latterly as security team leader.

In his home life he lives with partner, Jean, on the Eastham/Bromborough border! A keen DIY’er and ‘Man-Caver’ his name recently came up in dispatches, in a missive from the Cheshire Freemasons.

You see, Steve is an active freemason and his charitable works therein have not gone unnoticed. Down the years he’s been very active in both Cheshire and West Lancashire provinces. The Freemasons are renowned charitable givers across a range of charities and Steve also goes above and beyond in his duties.

As a visiting volunteer he helps to assess and administer financial assistance to freemasons and their families who, maybe through redundancy, ill health or even a death, become eligible for the special welfare awards the freemasons can deliver. Also when the government issued a call for citizens to apply to help with ‘community drop off’, Steve, stimulated by the calls to assist the community from within the Cheshire province, was quick to offer his services to the hospice..

Most recently, Steve was able to donate £120 (+ the 25% gift aid he was eligible to claim) to the hospice because a path he built, using 24 contemporary circular stepping stones to his ‘man-cave’ at home, didn’t work for him, after he‘d laid them.

His neighbour, seeing Steve start to take up his work, asked Steve if he could take them off his hands. So, for a discount off the retail price, at £5 per stone, Steve told his neighbour their joint endeavours would now benefit the hospice. CHEERS GENTLEMEN!

Steve’s since built the pathway he wanted – very nice indeed!

In normal times Steve also volunteers to help at various hospice events and special occasions. We see him at our annual Light up a Life lights switch on service* helping to marshal the crowds around the hospice gardens, also helping with the annual Christmas tree collection and he also lends a hand at our Summer ‘It’s a Knockout’ event.

He can’t speak highly enough of the care and compassion of the nurses he observes on his regular night shift. It is a quieter time than the rest of the day but, from time to time, Steve has been able to offer a visiting family member a drink, often tea but sometimes something a little stronger if they’re in any distress (and not driving).  

He loves the atmosphere at the hospice and has a very good rapport with the rest of the maintenance team too. He has a natural cheery disposition and when his night shift is over the last job he has to do before heading home is to feed the fish in our garden pond.

I imagine him spreading the feed, wishing the fish a great day then striding off ready for a well earned rest but also looking forward to the next bit of good work he can do.

Top Man, Steve.

Many Thanks for all you do!

Author: Billy Howard

*Sadly, due to the pandemic and the restrictions that have been put into place preventing crowds gathering, we have decided to cancel this year’s outdoor Light up a Life carol service. We will film a ‘Virtual Light up a Life service’ which will be on our website, this will be available to watch at 6pm on Sunday 6th December.

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

Launching our new #SummerMemories campaign

Hospice photoWe are very excited to announce our new Summer Memories campaign. You can sponsor one of our flowers.

These beautiful ornamental flowers will be displayed in bright yellow wheelbarrows around Wirral Hospice St John’s gardens until 31 August. After which, you will then be able to visit the Hospice in early September to pick up your flower, or we will post it out if that is what you have requested.Website Square

Each flower is locally sourced and is roughly 25cm high, 1cm thick and made out of a high quality resin that will not snap and should withstand all that the British summer has to throw at it. The flower will also come with a label attached on which you can write a dedication in memory of a loved one if you choose.

This campaign invites supporters to sponsor a flower and help us raise much-needed funds towards our special care and support of our patients and their families.

Local solicitors Kirwans, have very kindly sponsored this campaign, we are very grateful for their most generous support.

Flower original
Flower sponsorship starts at £5 per flower but you can donate more if you would like to.

You can sponsor a flower in the following ways:

Call the Fundraising Office on 0151 343 0778

Or, download our form here and return it to: Fundraising Office, Wirral Hospice St John’s, Mount Road, Higher Bebington, Wirral CH63 6JE.

For more information please call our Fundraising Office on 0151 343 0778.

#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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