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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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!

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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.

 

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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Meet our models #4: Teresa Moss #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_teresa_kate_mossOur fourth Hospice Supermodel to share her thoughts about Friday’s fashion show is Teresa Nightingale – Head of Fundraising who can’t wait to get out there onto the catwalk.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

I’m really looking forward to falling over in front of all those people… it’s going to be amazing… really.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

No idea, the descriptions I have heard have already terrified me

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

If I’m honest, all of them, they are all at least 3 ½ feet taller than me.

What are you most nervous about?

I’m really nervous about not walking in time to the music, it will be so cringy if I am out of sync.

How are you preparing for the night?

I will be staying up until 3am the night before, just like all real supermodels do.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

I don’t know about what I hope they’ll play – it just better not be ‘Nelly the Elephant’!

What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Nando’s and some hunky male models – how else am I supposed to get ready?

Have you perfected your autograph yet? You are going to need it!

Of course I have, can’t be signing peoples t-shirts, autograph books etc. with a rubbish signature!

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Kate Moss?

I taught her all I know and that’s all I’m saying on the matter.


If you want to see Teresa and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

 

 

 

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