Hundreds of High Peak people are set to raise more than £16,300 for Blythe House Hospicecare, after taking part in a night-time walk around Buxton.

Blythe House hosted its first ever Glow Twilight Walk on Saturday 20th July. The 10k route started and finished at the Silverlands football ground, taking in Harpur Hill, Soloman’s Temple, Burbage and the town centre.

Almost 300 walkers participated in the event, with support coming from more than 30 local volunteers who helped with tasks including registration, providing medical cover, marshalling the route and handing out refreshments.

Ann Hampson, a former Blythe House patient from Chapel-en-le-Frith who had breast cancer, did the honours of officially starting the walk.

The event was made possible thanks to support and sponsorship from local businesses and organisations including High Peak Marquees, Brimstone Band, Buxton Football Club, High Peak Signs, CrossFit in Buxton, Dutch Maid, Whaley Bridge’s Tesco, Swizzels Matlow, Tomson wholesalers and MVIS.

Karen Heathcote from Wormhill signed up three days before the event alongside three friends. She explained: ‘My husband died two and a half weeks ago, and we had some really fantastic help from Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service so he spent his last week at home. Without the carers, I don’t know how we’d have got through it to be honest; although it was only a short time, their help was just invaluable, it was amazing.’

Sue Gillies, Karen’s friend from Peak Dale, added: ‘Hospice at Home provided night-time sits for my mum in October 2017. She had dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and she wanted to die at home.’

Wendy Taylor took part with a group of friends in memory of their close companion and colleague, Karen who died in May 2019 after her sarcoma cancer diagnosis. Wendy, from Harpur Hill, explained: ‘Karen had a lot of support from Dr Sarah Parnacott [Consultant in Palliative Medicine] from Blythe House. Particularly in her last few weeks, she’d come at whatever time of day Karen needed help. She helped get the family support equipment including a stair lift and a hospital bed and it meant that Karen didn’t have to leave home. It’d be about 8pm, and Dr Parnacott would ring and say “I haven’t forgotten about you, I’m on my way, I’m just with another patient.” That lady cared so much and went to the nth degree.’

Margaret Fell’s mother-in-law accessed Blythe House services before she died in January 2019. Dove Holes resident Margaret said: ‘It’s such a good cause; it’s a great place, and I’d like to give back to people who need it.’

Georgia Clarke from Marple Bridge was joined for the walk by four friends: ‘Each of us have lost someone close to us, and my friend’s dad is living with cancer. The walk gives us chance to get together and have a good laugh.’

Sharon George from Buxton took part alongside five friends in memory of several people, including her dad: ‘We all decided as a group that we’d like to raise some money for charity and so we thought we’d do this! We’ve raised over £400 between us.’

Super early bird entry for next year’s walk on Saturday 18th July 2020 is now open! Register online before Saturday 27th July 2019 for just £5.

Visit Facebook to see a full gallery of Glow Walk photos taken by volunteer photographer, Iain Klieve.

Gerard started volunteering in the Blythe House kitchen in 2014, before becoming a befriender in our Living Well service where he is able to provide practical and emotional support to patients, as well as have a jolly good chuckle with them too!

Gerard says: ‘When I started volunteering in the kitchen here, my wife thought it was absolutely hilarious! I have always helped with the housework at home, with cleaning and dusting, but I’ve never cooked!

‘After around three and a half years in the kitchen, I became a befriender which sees me welcoming patients to the Living Well service and helping them to settle in and feel comfortable. I help to provide practical and emotional support to patients, as well as serve refreshments, and just generally help to facilitate the smooth running of the service.

‘I have always believed in giving something back, especially to people who are going through difficult times; they need support and a place to share their concerns. Most of all they need to be listened to; very often people hear what you say but they don’t actually listen, so it’s very important to do so.

‘Around two years ago, I directed a staff and volunteer Christmas pantomime for patients. After being involved in the arts and drama for much of my life, it was great to feel that we were putting on such a fun and enjoyable show for them to enjoy. Wow, we had fun – it was hilarious! The following year, I read an abbreviated version of the Christmas Carol tale; complete with smoking jacket and glass of sherry!

‘I am now shadowing members of the spiritual care volunteer team, to learn more about its role in the organisation and how it supports patients. Spiritual care is not about religion or imposing your own beliefs, it’s about being there and above all, as I’ve said before: listening.

‘The whole volunteer team here at Blythe House are advocates of the organisation. It is a very happy to place to be and we have lots of fun. Volunteers are just ordinary people that care and want to help; to make a difference and to be a part of a team that is doing just that, is very fulfilling. I have made many wonderful friends here in the patients, staff and fellow volunteers; they are genuine friendships that mean something to me.’

Find out more about volunteering at Blythe House Hospicecare.

 

I spent 11 years fighting the Blythe House cause, helping to raise much-needed funds to continue to provide free care and services to those who really need them. I never thought that one day; I’d be on the other side of the fence, ringing the hospice to say “please help me.”

Vickie Wilson worked at Blythe House for over a decade, and remains a dedicated fundraising and events volunteer, as well as providing the most delicious cheesecakes to raise vital funds at our monthly coffee mornings.

Her Mum, Lynne, and Dad, Bill, were involved in the initial meeting to discuss fundraising for a High Peak hospice, back when Blythe House was founded in 1989. The family has continued to support Blythe House throughout its 30 years of service, by sponsoring newsletters, events and other fundraising initiatives.

Vickie never realised that one day, it might be her making the urgent phone call for help when Bill was diagnosed with heart failure, and Blythe House was able to provide specialist care when he needed it the most…

Vickie explained: ‘I started working at Blythe House in 2007 as a general secretary; helping with admin, care services and counselling. After a year I moved into the fundraising office, taking care of the banking, thank you notes to kind-hearted donors, community work, and events. My Dad was a prominent local businessman and would regularly donate money or gifts in kind to Blythe House including sponsorship of a carer’s day, and our monthly newsletters.

‘In 2015, Dad had a bad year; he collapsed and suffered a heart attack. He was in and out of hospital and had to have a TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) installed. The following year, Dad started to attend the Living Well service at Blythe House and enjoyed coming to weekly sessions where he met Foday Kamara, a spiritual care volunteer and Minister at Chinley Independent Chapel. The friendship he struck up with Foday turned out to be very special and profound.

‘Dad finished with the Living Well service but unfortunately in December 2018, I didn’t feel that he was getting the care and support that he deserved from outside sources, and so I made an appointment with Blythe House to see how the services might have been able to help him further. The team put a plan in place and Dad was visited at home by nursing staff, and Dr Sarah Parnacott, who runs a weekly palliative medicine clinic at Blythe House.

‘A few weeks later during one of her visits, Dr Parnacott told us that Dad’s health was deteriorating rapidly and some professional overnight care was quickly arranged with Blythe House’s Hospice at Home team. That night, Sheila [Darcey, Hospice at Home Healthcare Assistant] came at 10pm, and Foday also visited Dad to do Communion and have some quiet time. Dad died very peacefully at 10.50pm surrounded by his family.

‘Sheila asked my Mum and the family: “Would you like me to stay with you?” The answer was a resounding “yes.” We had a group hug and drank lots of tea and coffee. Sheila checked on Dad every half an hour or so; she was there with the doctor when the death was certified, and she oversaw everything with the funeral directors. Sheila has kept in contact since too, and came to Dad’s funeral.

‘I know that many people will have a story to tell about the amazing Hospice at Home service at Blythe House, and that most of those people will have their very own “Sheila” in their lives. She really was one in a million; she took the pain and anguish of losing Dad away, and was there to support us during the most difficult time; we couldn’t have coped without her.

‘I spent 11 years fighting the Blythe House cause, helping to raise much-needed funds to continue to provide free care and services to those who really need them. I never thought that one day; I’d be on the other side of the fence, ringing the hospice to say “please help me.”

‘I’d urge everyone in the local area to put their hand in their pockets and support Blythe House in whatever way they can. It may not be through cash donations but gifts in kind towards services or events, or volunteering your time to support its wonderful care; you really never know when you might need its services. For Dad, who had supported Blythe House throughout its history, it was there for him when he truly needed it and we will be forever grateful.’

Blythe House Hospicecare was founded in 1989 after local resident, Stan Blythe left a £1,000 legacy to Reverend Betty Packham.

We would love for you to help us celebrate 30 years of hospice care in the High Peak by hosting us a party!

It doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it or where you do it, it’s who you do it with that matters and the fact you are supporting your local hospice, Blythe House Hospicecare.

Please download our fundraising pack request form, fill it in and return it to Blythe House. We will then be able to send you your 30th birthday fundraising pack!

Download a request form

Read more about the history of Blythe House