Spotlight On: Mr Richard Hughes, a patient in our Wellbeing Centre #wirralhospice #wellbeing #inspiration #therapy #patientcare #nursing #wirral #hospicehero #thankyou

Richard HughesRichard Hughes loves the atmosphere in the Wellbeing Centre at Wirral Hospice St John’s. He’s well up for a laugh and a joke. He’s got loads of great stories, which he’s more than happy to share with us.

He has the most infectious chuckle too, which makes it a real pleasure, as well as a privilege, to spend some time with him finding out about his ‘real life.’

He was born in 1940 in Paignton, Devon. His dad, Frank, was a waiter on, what is now fondly called, The English Riviera. Sadly, Richard’s mum died when he was only 15 months old. When his dad met and married a new lady, “a wonderful woman who brought me up, Marguerite”, he had no real recollection of his birth Mum, Eva.

In later life, Richard and his family have traced Eva’s resting place to the picturesque village of Collaton St Mary, in South Devon. They’ve had a memorial plaque sited there in her honour and revisit the spot as often as possible.

Richard spent most of his childhood growing up in Liverpool. (His dad had moved to work for Napier’s, later English Electric (now BAE), which manufactured aeroplane engines and motor cars but also made ammunition for WWII). Richard’s a keen sportsman loving football, cricket and also, notably, basketball. In 1954, Richard was in the Prince Rupert school team which won the All Liverpool school’s championship.

Richard met his wife, Pamela, by a massive coincidence, in Torquay, near, you guessed itPaignton in Devon! Richard was on a holiday with his cousin revisiting the area where he was born and Pamela was living with her family in this most beautiful part of England.

Richard and PamelaThey were soon courting and married in 1966, at St John the Baptist Church in Tuebrook, Liverpool. Now, more than fifty-two years later, Richard simply says of Pamela, “I just love her to bits”. (Here’s Richard and Pamela pictured on the right).

They’ve got three daughters, Maria, Julie and Jennifer, and seven wonderful grandchildren, “The Magnificent Seven,” Richard warmly exclaims.

In his early career Richard, who left school at 15, worked as a cocktail bar tender at the old Strand Hotel in Liverpool. He tells a story about the time he prepared the punch for a very wealthy Liverpool family’s wedding. Mixing a cocktail of red wine, white wine, gin, other spirits and lots of fruit juice. The punch was literally flowing! So much so that he was asked by the family for his recipe. Richard laughs, “Blowed if I could remember what I put in it! If they’re still using the recipe I gave them, it definitely isn’t the one I used!”

The growing family moved out to North Wales, first to Queensferry and then onto Colwyn Bay  (it had been recommended that they move nearer to the sea for middle daughter, Julie, who had severe asthma). They spent 30 happy, very busy, years there. The house in Colwyn Bay had eight bedrooms and, for six of those years, they ran a popular B&B. It must have been brilliant as Richard tells me of the Irish people who came to stay for one night and ended up staying for 3 weeks!

Richard would prepare breakfast, then go to work in the local supermarket, back to serve dinner and then off to work in the evenings in a local pub. Now, that’s a full schedule!!!

They all became entwined in life in North Wales. Richard is proud to have been invited, with Pamela, to the 25th anniversary of the investiture of Prince Charles, as Prince of Wales, in Caernarvon in 1994.

A back problem, leading to spinal fusion for Richard, saw a change in direction, workwise, for the family. Pamela went to teach at Llandrillo College and Richard returned to college to study! After achieving his British National Diploma (BND) in public services. He joined the North Wales police service as a civilian officer. He worked in traffic and then in the crime statistics department. As a steward in NALGO (now UNISON) he endeavoured to improve the lives of all the support staff.

Richard loved the camaraderie of the workplace. Organising various trips, with theatre visits, days out to other parts of Wales, stately homes in England, London excursions and even a vacation in New York. All in all, another twenty three happy years.

Richard H 5Richard and Pamela enjoyed rambling. (Richard is captured here in his full walking accoutrements). There are some beautiful places in North Wales, and around Wirral, where such passion for striding out can be indulged. It was while in the North Wales police that Richard organised a walk to celebrate the millennium. People from all the police forces in the UK were invited to take part and eventually, 275 hardy souls set off on the, circa, 25 miles from Clwyd Gate, near Ruthin, to the coastal town of Prestatyn.

It’s more than a challenging distance and ‘undulating’ to say the least. There were check points all along the way for food (tons of scones and Bara Brith), loads of crisps, first aid posts (with blisters at a premium) and gallons of water. Richard giggles when he recalls the phone call he received on the Monday following this first walk, “which idiot organised that?” and then, after a short pause, Richard answered “I did, and we’ll be doing it all again, every other year!”

He gives great credit to Pamela for all the organisation and support. “She’s the greatest administrator, EVER!” He says proudly.

With the first one under their belt subsequent years became more popular, with the £10 entry fee going to the British Red Cross. Other people would also raise money for their own charities. Rock and Roll nights added to the fun, following the walk, which became, ‘The Walk you’ve been waiting for, from Mountain to the Sea’.

After moving to Irby in Wirral in 2006, Richard and Pamela continued with their love of walking. He became Walks Secretary of the Heswall Midweek Ramblers and they’ve completed many charity walks, including Hadrian’s Wall and a Metropolitan Police organised event in Windsor Great Park.

Richard and Lesley

Richard is open about his illness. He’s been living with prostate cancer and has received various hospice services. He’s spent time in Inpatients for pain relief. He’s laughing as he says, “it was the best B&B and hotel I’ve ever stayed in, well, after mine and Pam’s in North Wales that is!”

His weekly visit to the Wellbeing Centre sees him enjoying, often instigating, the banter while taking part in all the other activities he likes. (Richard’s pictured on the right here with our Wellbeing nurse, Lesley.) From jigsaws, other pastimes, group and individual discussions, quizzes and ‘play your cards right’, to physio and other helpful strategies and therapies to help with managing his condition.

Outside of the hospice he loves visiting his “favourite city”, Liverpool. Trips to the Walker Art Gallery and the Museum of Liverpool Life, (where son in law, Simon, helped install the IT systems) are especially enjoyable.

Richard’s feeling for the hospice staff and volunteers goes beyond admiration, he has a genuine fondness for them. He looks forward to his weekly visit to the Wellbeing Centre, “They’re all, simply, brilliant”, he says. When I check with all those who see him every Tuesday, I can assure Richard that they all say… the feeling is mutual!

It really is, Richard, it really is!

Clwyd GateView from Clwyd Gate (Thanks to Sue Warwick for photo)

Author: Billy Howard

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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.

Make A Will Month – April 2015 #futureplanning #family #charity

wirral_hospice_extension_square_july_2014Making a legally valid will is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer around to look out for them.

Many people do not want to consider making a will yet or think that they will get to it another time, or they may even be worried about the cost of it.

Unfortunately in this country, if your wishes are not drawn up officially then legally your assets are at the mercy of the government, which could leave behind big problems for your loved ones that could take many years to sort out.

If you have assets of any kind and loved ones you would like to look after, it’s crucial that you have a will. The law does not recognise unmarried couples either so if one of you dies suddenly without a will, your partner could be left without anything.

Wills are legally-binding documents and although you can make wills online cheaply and even for free, it is advisable to get professional support because even small errors could cause big problems for the future.

It can usually cost in the region of £150+ for a single will and £250+ for a double will. More complex estates, for example those involving several properties, savings accounts or business assets can take much longer to work on and are understandably more expensive.

Wirral Hospice St John’s has formed partnerships with a number of local solicitors who are all willing to draw up wills at their own expense throughout April.

However, the solicitors are requesting that individuals make a fair donation to the Hospice in return for this service, which is a suggested minimum donation of £80 for a single will and £150 for a double will.

Appointments need to be booked in advance with each of the participating solicitors. Slots will fill up very quickly; early booking is advised so as not to be disappointed!

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Judi Ebbrell, new clinical leader joins Wirral Hospice from @CCCNHS

wirral_hospice_judi_ebbrellJudi Ebbrell has joined Wirral Hospice St John’s in the newly created role of Head of Clinical Services.

Tasked with contributing to the development and implementation of new strategies for end of life care which will reach out beyond the physical constraints of the Hospice site, Judi describes her role as ‘smoothing boundaries and working in partnership’ with other services.

Judi began her career as a care assistant, quickly progressing on to professional nurse training. In fact, continually pushing her own boundaries characterises her life: she became a district nurse in Wallasey, then qualified as an Advance Nurse Practitioner at Salford Royal Hospital, finally joining Wirral Hospice St John’s from Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, where she was Head of Nursing. She is currently studying for her Masters in Healthcare Leadership on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson leadership programme.

“I understood very early on that undertaking holistic care in a Hospice setting was a unique thing: it is my perfect job,” she said. “The right leadership is crucially important in ensuring the patient is at the heart of everything we do.”

Author: Liz Rice, Wirral Hospice Volunteer

Texting ‘WHSJ88’ £5 to 70070 can make a huge difference to our patients and their loved ones #familiesmatter #hospicecare

teresa_nightingale_photo“Looking after our patients and their families is central to everything we do at Wirral Hospice St John’s. It’s the reason we are here and the reason we have grown and evolved our care so much over the last 30 years. Support from the Wirral community has helped us to do that. YOU have helped us to do that. Thank you!”

Teresa Nightingale, the Hospice’s Head of Fundraising knows it’s not as simple as just asking people for money. “Everyone has personal pressures on what they can spend their money on: mortgage or rent, bills, food, clothing, family trips, school trips, presents. We understand that, which is why we offer people options on how they might wish to support us.

Anything from taking part in a running event, where they are asking lots of people to sponsor smaller amounts towards a bigger pot, or organising their own event such as a coffee morning or afternoon tea, where again other people can contribute smaller amounts to raise a larger amount of money.

Even texting ‘WHSJ88’ £5 to 70070 can make a huge difference to our patients and their loved ones. Or you can donate online via our JustGiving Appeal page.

We are also asking local companies to get involved, they can pick us as a Charity of the Year or organise a one-off employee event to support us. People can join our weekly lottery or buy something from one of our charity shops or gift shop. Or have a collection box in their home to catch loose change – and this is only a few suggestions of how people can help!

We also appreciate that other charities ask and need support, so we are one of several deserving organisations that people may be approached by.”

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