Sam will turn on 10,000 #LightupaLife lights in memory of his dad

DSC_0024-2This December ten thousand beautiful lights will be switched on in memory of loved ones at Wirral Hospice St John’s.  This special event is an opportunity for our local community to come together to sponsor a light and remember their loved ones.

This year the lights will be switched on by eight-year-old Sam Bryson whose dad died at Wirral Hospice St John’s in 2015.  Sam was six and his sister Florence was just two when their dad Roger died from bowel cancer aged 48.

The children spent a lot of time visiting their dad at the hospice and were always made to feel welcome and cared for; their father was an in-patient for almost three months.  Periods of stability meant he was able to live at the family home in Hoylake for a few weeks at a time.  Roger was a news journalist who worked for the BBC in Liverpool, and was a former news editor of The Liverpool Daily Post.

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Roger & Julia Bryson and their children Sam & Florence

Roger was hospitalised in May 2013 with essential thrombocythemia – a blood disorder that caused a series of blood clots, resulting in complications and emergency bowel surgery.  He returned to work nearly 18 months later, but developed further problems and was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in April 2015. He moved to Wirral Hospice St John’s days later.

Julia Bryson writes a blog called Rainbeaubelle and documents their journey online. Writing about her husband’s cancer diagnosis, his move to the hospice and eventually his death helped her to get through the experience and connect with others in a similar position. It has also served to give people an insight into life at a hospice and how the hospice can benefit not only the patient but also the whole family.

A news journalist like her husband, Julia works at the BBC in Leeds and in her spare time writes about how the family has moved forward through grief.

The family have since moved from Wirral to Julia’s hometown in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, but visit Hoylake often.  Roger’s family – his mum was 91 this year and lives in Moreton with his sister Jehane, and his brother Pete and sister-in-law Glenys live in Irby.

Sam said: “I feel really proud to have been asked to switch on the lights and can’t wait to see them shining in the trees.  Last year we won the raffle and took home a huge teddy bear called Frosty, it was really fun!”

Lual Star xmassy on dark backgroundThe switch-on will take place in the Hospice gardens on Sunday 3rd December from 4.30pm.  The names of those remembered will feature in the books of honour on display in the hospice chapel.  Each name sponsored will receive a Light up a Life card and there is an opportunity to buy a Light up a Life star as a keepsake tree decoration.

Last year’s campaign helped to raise almost £90,000 towards running costs and patient care. To sponsor a light call 0151 343 0778 or visit www.wirralhospice.org

Author: Julia Evans

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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.

Would your family like to help us with #LightUpALife #LUAL this year?

DSC_0423-2Wirral Hospice St John’s Light Up A Life is quite a few months away yet but we are inviting families to come forward if they might like to help us with this year’s campaign. We know how special our lights are to so many of our supporters in remembering and celebrating loved ones, and we are very grateful for the incredible support we get at this time of year.

If you would be happy to share why you take part in Light Up A Life, we think that it would be lovely for other supporters to read about your stories if we were able to share them on our facebook page and on twitter in the months leading up to when the lights are officially switched on (this year’s switch-on will be at 5.30pm on Sunday 6 December).

Our local newspaper, the Wirral Globe, is very supportive of Light Up A Life so it would be lovely to also share some of your stories with them too if you’d be happy for us to do that.

We appreciate that Light Up A Life can be a very emotional time so this is to reassure people that we are not looking to exploit people’s grief; we only want to share stories where people are happy for that to be the case and where they feel strong enough to do so.

If you would like to help us in some way or find out what information may be needed before you decide if you’d like to help, please can you contact Teresa Nightingale on 0151 343 0778 (Fundraising office is open Mon to Fri 9am-5pm) or email teresan@wirralhospice.org with your contact details and a good day/time to be called. We look forward to hearing from some of you and learning more about why Light Up A Life means so much to you and your family.

Sarah Marshall’s very moving story about why she supports Wirral Hospice #lightupalife

ron_marshallIt was Thursday 2 January 2014, when our family’s lives changed forever. My dad, Ron, a fit and healthy 69 year old retired motor mechanic was rushed to Arrowe Park Hospital with a suspected stroke. Our world stopped.

Following tests we were given the heart-breaking news that my dad had a brain tumour. We couldn’t comprehend the information and were left numb. Days later we were told that my dad was being transferred to the Walton Centre to undergo a biopsy of the brain tumour. We remained hopeful, but feared the worst. The news we got could not have been any worse; it was confirmed as a grade 4 brain tumour, inoperable and untreatable. We couldn’t understand how this could have happened to my lovely dad, a good kind and gentle man, who helped everyone, loved his family and had so much to live for.

My dad was told he could come home, where my mum and I cared for him, something that he really didn’t like, as he was very independent and an extremely strong man. It was at this time that our district nurse, Andrew, introduced us to Wirral Hospice St John’s.

From the moment we arrived at the Hospice, the staff and volunteers were just amazing. We felt like we were among friends, safe, secure and protected. My dad was given the medication he needed for his discomfort and my mum and I were supported practically and emotionally. We soon learnt that the Hospice cares about each patient and their families as individuals. Kind, understanding words, hugs, endless hot drinks, smiles and someone to listen are all part of everyday life.

My dad was comfortable, surrounded by his family and friends, and cared for in the best way possible.  It was dad’s request he was where he wanted to be. Thanks to the support of the lovely nursing staff I had the courage and the opportunity to say the things I needed to say to my dad.

On Friday 14 March at 1.30am my wonderful dad sadly died with me and my mum, his wife of 45 years, holding him. My dad’s death was the saddest day of my life but I’m happy to be able to say he died peacefully, pain free and most of all with dignity.

When we left Wirral Hospice on that cold, foggy morning, we felt scared to leave the sanctuary of the place that had become our home for the past two weeks and scared to leave the protection and kindness that we had come to rely upon.

The Hospice continues to support my family. I attend regular counselling there, which helps me to deal with the many milestones that present themselves and my mum is helping out with fundraising events and projects.

??????????We decided that we would hold a coffee morning in my dad’s memory in September. The generosity of everyone towards the Hospice and the memory of my dad blew us away. We are thrilled to have raised £2,400 for the Hospice and we get great comfort in the fact, that this will help future families in Wirral going through a similar experience that we have been through.

 

I will also be taking part in Wirral Hospice’s Light Up A Life this year, making a donation in memory of my lovely dad to help care and support future patients at the Hospice. To me they are not just lights, they are all stars; stars that shine across Wirral in memory of the people we love.

Sarah Marshall, Wirral Hospice supporter

#Chocolate #Cake & #Craft Wirral Hospice Hobby Fair

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Volunteer Sandra Fairclough at our delicious craft fair chocolate tombola 2012

It’s that time of year again; the leaves are falling (horizontally), it’s getting colder and our volunteers are feverishly putting the final finishes on their wonderful creations for this year’s Hobby & Craft Fair– the perfect event for a blustery October Saturday with its cosy crafty atmosphere, abundance of cakes and, of course, our winner chocolate tombola.

This year we have forty five stalls with sellers from all across Wirral, filled with beautiful handmade goods including; handbags, jewellery, wooden crafts, Christmas gifts, cards, jams, cakes, toys, art and much, much more.  Look out for Ruth & Olwen’s stall, covered with handmade Christmas gifts and decorations, including those notorious reindeer! Another of our fundraising volunteers, Sandra Fairclough (pictured), will be selling her famous cards at the fair; she gets orders for these from far and wide and makes each card with love by hand – they are bound to be a treat.

As usual we will have our own Wirral Hospice St John’s craft stall filled with beautiful handmade donations from our supporters from all across Wirral.  Our stall will be showcasing Christmas gifts and decorations; handmade woollen blankets; baby clothes; hats scarves & gloves; and toys to name but a few with all funds raised going towards the wonderful work the hospice does. Along with the Hospice Craft Stall we will be selling our new goods, gifts and cards straight from the Hospice Gift Shop.

Our extremely popular chocolate tombola will be back, along with refreshments including tea, cakes & bacon butties.  This year, for the first time, there will also be the facility to make your Light up a Life donation at the event and find out our other upcoming events from our information table.

Craft fair co-ordinator, Kerry Threadgill, says “I can’t wait; it’s one of the highlights of the year, with some of our volunteers holding their own stalls for the first time, its going to be lovely to see what they come up with”

The fair will be held at Heswall Hall, Saturday 25th October 10am – 4pm with entry at just £1.00.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Author: Jacinta Warwick

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