Steven Booth has been a dedicated volunteer at Blythe House’s Buxton shop for over a decade. Alongside his volunteer role, Steven has become a Saturday supervisor in a paid position at the shop, supporting the store manager to oversee the day-to-day tasks of running the busy and popular shop on Eagle Parade.

Steven, who was born and bred in Buxton, explains: ‘I left school at 16 and immediately joined the family business W Booth and Sons, a local butcher’s shop. In 1979, aged 18, I developed testicular cancer. In those days, people didn’t talk much about such things and as a result my diagnosis was quite late. After my operation, the staff nurse told me I had to go to The Christie hospital, for further procedures and investigations. I was terrified; there were no counsellors or anyone to answer my questions. I stayed in The Christie for four weeks and had further chemotherapy, which lasted for 18 months.

‘I continued to work alongside my family as much as possible and enjoyed going to the football, cricket and the speedway, and eventually I was given the all clear. In 2002, a blister developed in my mouth; except it was not a blister, it was cancer once more. Three months later the surgeons removed two thirds of my tongue and I endured another course of radiotherapy. I could not work anymore; problems with saliva caused issues working with food at the butcher’s shop. I had trouble eating, and had to have speech therapy to help me communicate. I still have to attend regular check-ups at The Christie today and I am truly grateful for all the help they have given me.

‘Some time later, as I started to recover a little, a lady called Joan who was a regular customer at the butcher’s shop suggested I help out in the Blythe House shop on Buxton marketplace. So I did! That was 10 years ago and I have become very much a part of the shop. I know the names of most of my customers and they know mine. I have customers who visit regularly from Derby and Oldham, plus the numerous tourists who visit throughout the season.

‘I have good friends within the team and it was them who encouraged me to apply for the role of Saturday supervisor. I have never been well enough to work in a fulltime position so at the age of 61 it felt quite daunting at first, but the retail skills I learnt as a young man have served me well within the environment of a charity shop. I understand from my own experiences the importance of the help that Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust gives to the community and I enjoy making money to pay for the services it provides.’

Find out more about volunteer roles at our hospice charity shops in Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

The streets of Buxton were glowing as over 100 people got together to raise over £6,000 for local hospice care.

The Glow Twilight Walk returned to the town on Saturday 14th May, following a two year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hospice supporters wore neon tutus, glow sticks and light up headbands to set the night alight on the 10k circular walk taking in the town centre, the market place, Harpur Hill and Burbage.

Buxton resident, Lisa, was taking part alongside her friends, who had nicknamed themselves the ‘Walkie Talkies.’ She said: ‘We are so excited to be here for a good Saturday night out, helping to raise money for a great local cause.’

Lucy’s dad, Gary, is currently receiving care and support from the hospice following his diagnosis of early on-set dementia.

Lucy, who is also from Buxton, explained: ‘Dad has amazing support including physio and complementary therapies, and one-to-one sessions where he can chat about his diagnosis, talk about his worries, and get advice. My mum and I have also benefited from services at the hospice. It’s a cause close to our hearts and we wanted to do something together as a family to support it.’

Rachael Gee, fundraising and events coordinator at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, organised the event. She said: ‘I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the Glow Twilight Walk in any way – including amazing volunteers, local businesses and of course, the participants. We hope you had a fantastic night – it was so good to all be together again, and we were able to raise an incredible amount of money to support hospice care across our local communities.’

The money raised will support people across the High Peak, Hope Valley, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire who are affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement.

Next year’s Glow Twilight Walk is confirmed to take place on Saturday 10th June. Super early bird registration is now open, where you can sign up for just £5.

Sign up before before Saturday 28th May 2022 to pay just £5.

‘Without the hospice, I would not have survived. They helped me to keep my Dad in his own home; where he wanted to be, and that was the best thing I could have wished for.

‘I am so proud to plant a sunflower in memory of my beloved dad and step-mum – to honour their memories and to support the invaluable work of Blythe House and Helen’s Trust.’

Sandra

Sandra, who is a district nurse with the Bakewell and Baslow Team for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, regularly refers her own patients to our Hospice at Home service, for palliative and end of life care in their own homes.

The service has now been able to support Sandra’s own family, after supporting her step mother, Lillian to die peacefully at home in February 2021, and then to Sandra’s dad, John, before he sadly died in October.

Sandra, who’s from Youlgreave, said: ‘Lillian’s illness progressed very quickly – she became symptomatic in October 2020, and was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lillian was a healthcare assistant during her career, so she knew what was coming; things really started to escalate from Christmas and she was in and out of hospital.

‘Prior to her illness, Lillian was Dad’s full-time support and they had been married for 23 years. As well as heart failure, Dad has also been diagnosed with kidney failure and he too, has had cancer in the past. Dad was very independent and could do a lot of things for himself, but Lillian would help him to dress and get him ready for bed. Sometimes during the night, Dad would wake up disorientated and Lillian was always there to say “go back to sleep, John.”

‘My husband and I moved in to support them both when Lillian became too unwell. Her illness was a huge shock to everyone as she was fiercely independent. During the last week of her life, I called upon Blythe House and Helen’s Trust to see if they could step in to provide night-time sits. The sits supported my husband and I to go back home and have a change of scenery, get a good nights’ rest and to enable me to cope with the day-time care for them both.

‘Lillian did have, what I would call, a “perfect death.” I am a big believer in having a good death, in my role as a district nurse. She looked beautiful; she wasn’t agitated or in pain. It was the best it could have been.

John and Lillian

‘After Lillian died, Blythe House and Helen’s Trust started to provide respite night-time care for Dad. The night-time sits provided by the hospice helped me to have much-needed time out, go home, have a change of scenery and a full night’s sleep. The hospice team was so flexible; they always accommodated my working pattern and spaced out the sits depending on my shifts, so that I was not exhausted.

‘The continuity of care for Dad was just fantastic; all the healthcare assistants developed a therapeutic relationship with Dad and he enjoyed the rapport and their company. We also had support from a hospice community volunteer called Charlie. He visited to chat to Dad, or read to him. The visits gave me chance to go out and do shopping, walk Dad’s dog, Patch, or catch up with jobs at home; knowing Dad was in very safe hands.

‘In July, we went to Norfolk on a big family holiday – it was fantastic, and I will always treasure the measures. In September, Dad could no longer stand and I knew it was the beginning of the end for him. The whole family railed to support him. My sister and daughter, who are both nurses, and my stepsister, Marion (Lillian’s daughter), provided lots of support.

‘On the 1st of October, the Hospice at Home healthcare assistant, Kevin, called me at 6am and said that Dad’s breathing had changed. The whole family went to his bedside, where we chatted, reminisced and laughed. Later on, I said “come on Dad, go to sleep now.” He died peacefully in his own bed, surrounded by his family later that afternoon. I feel I did everything I could for him and I can live with myself that Dad had a good death.

‘Afterwards, we had a collection for Blythe House and Helen’s Trust at Dad’s funeral, and much of his home furniture and clothes went to the hospice’s charity shops. Without the hospice, I would not have survived. They helped me to keep my Dad in his own home; where he wanted to be, and that was the best thing I could have wished for.’

Find out more about our Hospice at Home service and how it could support your family.

Learn more about supporting the hospice including donating to our local shops and organising a funeral collection in aid of Blythe House and Helen’s Trust.

Make a donation to celebrate the life of someone that you love and miss, and help to support local hospice care.

For a minimum donation of just £10, you can dedicate a virtual sunflower in our online hospice garden, and add photographs and a message of remembrance. A sunflower plaque bearing your loved one’s name will also be planted in our hospice garden on Eccles Fold in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

You will be warmly invited to our Celebration of Life event on Saturday 2nd July. The event will be held at the hospice, to give you the opportunity to recall fond memories of the person that you miss, and find their sunflower plaque in our garden. You will also be able to enjoy live music, a sunflower pebble-painting workshop and refreshments.

Dedicate a sunflower today.

Your kind Sunflower Memories donation will go a long way in supporting people across our communities who wish to remain in the safe and recognisable surroundings of their own home as they near the end of their lives.

Sarah Della Cioppa’s beloved father, Paul McKenna, who had multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer), was cared for by our Hospice at Home team before he very sadly died in March 2020.

Sarah, from Buxton, said: ‘We cared for my Dad at home during his final weeks. This meant that he got to spend more time with his immediate family, and stay out of hospital where no visitors were allowed due to Covid.

‘The hospice supported my family by offering healthcare assistants to sit with my dad overnight. Knowing that he was in safe hands allowed my family to get some much-needed rest.

‘I am so happy to support the Sunflower Memories appeal – to plant a sunflower in memory of my dear Dad, and to help Blythe House and Helen’s Trust to continue its incredible work to support other families in the way that it did mine.’

 

 

After a nursing career spanning more than 40 years, Janet Dunphy, Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust CEO, is retiring.

Janet has been at the helm here at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust since 2015, after dedicating her working life to nursing, with 34 of those years in palliative and end of life care.

In her seven years here at the hospice, Janet has overseen a number of prominent and exciting changes to local hospice services.

Janet directed the inception of our hugely successful Hospice at Home service, which has provided over 76,000 hours of care since it began in 2016. The service sees healthcare assistants provide day and night-time care across the local community to patients who wish to die in the comfort of their own home.

Complementing Hospice at Home is the award-winning Community Volunteer programme, which Janet spearheaded from the start, seeing volunteers support patients and their families with tasks including  shopping, running errands, gardening, dog walking, or simply ‘being there’ so a family member can rest.

In recent years, Janet has managed the revamp of hospice services to ensure as many local people as possible are able to access care and support when they need it; the renovation of our hospice building to make it more accessible to patients and visitors; and the thriving partnership with fellow end of life care charity, Helen’s Trust.

Janet said: ‘I want to say a huge and sincere thank you to everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with here at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust. It is an honour and a privilege to look back on my time here, and to see everything that we have been able to achieve together. I am so very grateful to have ended my long and fulfilling career at a place where everyone cares so much, and is working towards the same, shared goal.

‘I want to acknowledge Tim Mourne, chairman of the board of trustees, and all the trustees who govern this ship. It is no easy task; it takes lots of time, wisdom, skill and compassion. Nothing would happen without them and we certainly would not be as safe as we are in these difficult times. It is a massive responsibility, and they work tirelessly.

‘To our volunteers, I want to say that whatever your role, without you we would not have achieved what we have during my tenure, indeed we wouldn’t even be here at all.  You were my reassurance throughout. You chose to build and maintain your local hospice, you know how much it is needed, and I know you will carry on making sure that it continues as the safe place in your community, for anyone diagnosed with, or affected by, life-limiting illness.’

Shane O’Reilly will become the hospice’s new CEO on Monday 2nd May. Shane joined the hospice in 2020 as clinical services manager, after spending more than 18 years as a senior NHS physiotherapist with special interests in motor neurone disease and respiratory conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Shane said: ‘I am delighted to be appointed to the chief executive role and I am looking forward to building upon the hospice’s commendable history, and its outstanding reputation both locally and nationally.

‘Within the last year, we have seen a huge rise in the demand for our services, and we are proud to have met and exceeded those challenges. In the future, I am looking forward to continuing this incredible work alongside dedicated staff and volunteers, delivering the care that we know is so very needed in our rural communities.

‘My sincere thanks to everyone who volunteers for the hospice or supports us in any way. We would not be here without you and I am personally so very grateful for your time, commitment and support.’

Janet concluded: ‘I leave Blythe House and Helen’s Trust in a very good place, clinically and financially and in very safe hands as Shane O’Reilly takes over. I’m proud to hand over to him, I know how much he cares and how talented he is. I have every confidence that Shane’s knowledge, passion, strength and commitment will take you into yet another exciting phase of success.’

We wish Janet all the very best for her retirement and thank her sincerely for her many years of devoted service to people affected by life-limiting illness.

It is with sadness and immense gratitude that we announce the resignation of Helen’s Trust Founder, Dr Louise Jordan, as Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees. We thank Louise for her enormous contribution to the end of life care services available to the people of North Derbyshire through her hard work and dedication to Helen’s Trust, and for the last 2 years, Blythe House Hospicecare. Dr Jordan has shared the following message on her resignation:

Dear friends and supporters.

I am so proud to be a founding trustee of Helen’s Trust.

Back in 2001 a few friends gathered to remember Helen Louse Lyon who, due to exceptional circumstances, was able to stay in her own home and have a peaceful and dignified death. Being able to stay and die in your own home was not so easy then, so the simple goal was to set up a charity in her memory to enable other’s to have the same choice that Helen had. Fortunately, the national picture has changed over the last two decades and the importance of being able to die at home has now been recognised. Not only is it, in the majority of patients, what the individual wishes for but also it allows friends and family to have a  far healthier bereavement. The benefits of being able to die at home make sense to the individual, the family, the community and the financial purse.

Initially we all met around a coffee table and as the charity grew were gifted use of a room and then rented some larger rooms. The charity went from helping people just at Baslow Health Centre to helping anyone in the north of the county of Derbyshire.

Our aspiration was to employ our own trained carers but found too many barriers to doing this for our size. Blythe House started to develop a similar service in 2016 with the benefits of training their own carers, under the watchful eyes of Janet Dunphy and Ruth Brown. It became increasingly obvious that working together we would be stronger, more efficient and be able to help more and more people. This has been an incredibly successful partnership entered into in 2020.

Deciding to resign from the board of trustees has been one of the most difficult things I have had to do. Unfortunately, I have a neurological condition that significantly impacts on my ability to speak. My voice has always been strong, passionate, and loud at events, presentations, and board meetings…maybe too loud I hear some of you say! Despite the patience of my fellow trustees and the kindness of the employed staff at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust I find I can no longer contribute in a meaningful way.

I will always support Helen’s Trust and feel very confident that, in partnership with Blythe House, it is on a very sound footing and in very capable hands.

With all best wishes

Dr Louise Jordan

Chair of Helen’s Trust 2001 – 2020

Deputy Chair of Blythe House Hospicecare & Helen’s Trust 2020 to 2022

Today marks one year since we cut the ribbon to our new charity shop in Bakewell located on Matlock Street and with that we have opened the doors to enthusiastic volunteers who support us in raising essential funds for our services.

The popular high street store, alongside our four other stores, are responsible for bringing in over a quarter of the money needed for the charity to provide free care and services to local patients and families.

With new volunteers come new stories and for Bakewell volunteers, Denise and Jane, they found a new friendship. These two lovely volunteers found kindred spirits in one another when they chose to volunteer soon after the shop opening.

Denise and Jane started volunteering together on a Wednesday morning in the shop. It soon became apparent that they had a lot in common. Both retired teachers and both looking for that much needed structure in their day to day lives which their professions had provided.

Denise commented: ‘I am very much a free spirit and have travelled all over the world teaching in multiple countries, but I was reaching a point in my life where I knew I needed to settle and take things a little easier. The pandemic hit and before I knew it my travels came to a grinding halt. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason and for me this was a chance to take stock and redirect my energy in a different way.

‘I had enquired to volunteer for Helen’s Trust a few years back, but I wasn’t too sure at the time what volunteering role I could commit to. When the Bakewell shop opened I saw it as a sign that I could try again, and this time I found a new passion. I have gained so many skills from working in the shop; from feeling empowered to be creative in my shop displays to learning how to research special donated items that we received in the shop to sell.

‘I thought when my travels stopped that the unique stories and interesting people I got to meet along the way would go amiss. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. My favourite part of volunteering is interacting with the customers. Each and every one of them has a story to tell, and I see the very best in humanity through them.

‘I absolutely love working with Jane who has become a good friend since we started working together. We have so many laughs!’

Jane began her volunteering journey at a similar time to Denise and found that taking herself out of her comfort zone has given her a new purpose in her retirement.

Jane said ‘I’m originally from Liverpool and retired from teaching Spanish and French in July 2020. I live in Bradwell, Hope Valley, with my husband Andrew who retired as a lawyer in the first lockdown of 2020. I started volunteering in May last year. I love retirement, but I also love a little routine in my life. I started volunteering at Bakewell shop on a Wednesday morning, but Denise and I enjoyed working together so much that we decided to extend our day to a full day- we love meeting new people and getting to know our regulars so feel free to pop into the shop and say hello to us!

‘Advice for volunteering would be, go ahead and try it. It is such an enjoyable, worthwhile thing to do. You meet great people, and the rewarding feeling of supporting a local charity like Helen’s Trust can feel so impactful to your overall well-being.

‘I have been so impressed with how the shop and charity is regarded among the general public. They love the premises, and have great respect for the work that takes place. They support the charity with enthusiasm, and that rubs off on the people who work there, who I hope reflect that enthusiasm and commitment.

‘Denise and I have great fun on Wednesdays, we both look forward to it, and have forged a real friendship. It’s great to feel I’m helping in some way, it’s important to look out beyond yourself and what can easily become a “cosy” existence in retirement.’

Find out more about volunteering in our hospice shops in Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

The #GoBlueForBlytheHouse campaign is open to everyone including schoolchildren, students, work colleagues, and members of the public, who can choose any day throughout March 2022 to celebrate the local charity and fundraise for Blythe House and Helen’s Trust.

The local charity provides care for patients with a life-limiting illness across the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire. The hospice offers service such as counselling and bereavement support to family members of patients with a life-limiting illness who have used the hospice services.

Oscar, a boy who lives in the High Peak area, was referred to Blythe House children’s bereavement counselling services after his ‘Nan-nan’ used Blythe House and Helen’s Trust services. Oscar’s parents became concerned about how he may be dealing with his Nan’s death when he started having panic attacks and having fears of his own death.

Ray Leech, our Young Person’s Counsellor explains ‘For children, like Oscar, they don’t always show obvious signs of their grieving process. For Oscar his way of understanding his grief was to transfer his anxieties to something physical as he didn’t know how to express his worries.’

Oscar’s mum explains ‘We were honest with Oscar about how poorly his Nan-Nan was and he seemed like he was managing to understand the news. He seemed to be managing, but then he started to get chest pains. As a parent I took this very seriously and took him immediately to the doctors. He was checked over and the doctors gave him the all clear.’

‘A couple of days later he started having chest pains again and this time round he was convinced he was dying. It was so distressing for us as parents having our child convinced that they were going to die. I was desperate and I knew I needed help. My boy was not okay and it breaks your heart as a parent when you can’t fix it.’

‘I rang Blythe House and they referred me to the children’s counselling services. I couldn’t believe it, after one visit we saw a dramatic improvement and my boy was starting to be himself again. We went from five panic attacks a day to none. I don’t know what I would have done without the help of Blythe House and Helen’s Trust. As a parent you want to do the best you can for your children. It gives me so much reassurance to know that we have given Oscar the right support for him. You can either stay in grief or move forward. I know that Oscar’s future is protected and he’s no longer trapped in his grief.’

By joining by fundraising in the #GoBlue campaign as little as £25 it can pay for a child to have a memory box to keep treasured possessions safe of the person they are remembering or you could fundraise a little more than £360 to pay for a full 12-week course of counselling for a bereaved child to help them come to terms with their loss.

Put the ‘fun’ into fundraising and #GoBlue in any way imaginable. Local businesses and other organisations might like to get involved by dressing in blue, holding a blue prize raffle or decorating their shop windows or office space. People may also have bigger ideas to organise an event like a blue coffee morning or blue-themed party!

Do you fancy committing to a New Years’ Resolution that isn’t going to go straight out of the window by the 7th of January?

We’re looking for local people to support Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust by taking on a fitness challenge and helping to raise vital funds for our much-needed services.

Sarah Denwood raised an incredible £1,250 for local hospice care by running over 870 miles to complete the Lands’ End to John O’Groats Virtual Challenge throughout 2021.

The Chapel-en-le-Frith resident said: ‘I am very aware of the services that the hospice provides and know many people that have benefitted from them. I’ve never been a runner and always hated it; even hiding on the cross-country route at school so I didn’t have to do the whole run.

‘During lockdown I was challenged to do a 5km run for the NHS and from then on, I’ve enjoyed it. As the months have gone by I’ve done more running and have increased my pace and distance, so as a challenge for myself I signed up to do a virtual run from Lands’ End to John O’Groats to raise money for the hospice.’

Scott Beswick from Buxton smashed his fundraising target when he took on the London Marathon last year. He raised over £2,347 for hospice services that supported his mother-in-law, Julie when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

He previously explained: ‘Amidst the constant stream of appointments and intense treatment here, there and everywhere, Blythe House supported Julie and our family from her very first meeting; providing her with weekly day-care services including activities, complementary therapies, and opportunities to meet others who share similar experiences, as well as practical help and advice.

‘To thank Blythe House for everything they have done and continue to do for Julie, our family and other families similar to ours, I want to put myself out there and complete the biggest challenge of my life whilst raising vital funds for the charity.’

Remember! You don’t need to undertake a running challenge to support Blythe House and Helen’s Trust services – here are just a few ideas for other fitness initiatives you could take on in the name of hospice care:

  • Bike ride
  • Climb a mountain… or mountains with an event like the Three Peaks Challenge!
  • Dance competition
  • Muddy obstacle event e.g. Tough Mudder or X-Runner
  • Sponsored walk
  • Sporting tournament
  • Swimathon
  • Tri/ duathlon

Find out more about how you could support your local hospice with a fitness challenge to see in 2022 with all the very best intentions for both yourself and your local community, by visiting our website:  www.blythehousehospice.org.uk/support-us/individuals-and-groups

There, you can read a digital copy of our supporter pack, or request a printed copy by contacting the fundraising team on 01298 815 388 or by emailing: fundraising@blythehouse.co.uk

Teddy bears donated to Blythe House and Helen’s Trust are helping local children affected by grief and bereavement.

Derbyshire Freemasons kindly gave the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) to Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust, which supports children and young people with counselling and play therapy.

The TLC initiative was founded by the national Freemasons where millions of bears have been given to hospital A&E departments to help comfort children and teenagers.

Neil Tomlinson, Derbyshire Freemasons TLC coordinator (photographed alongside Angela Salisbury from the hospice team), recently visited the hospice to present the teddy bears.

The different coloured cuddly toys are now being used by counsellors at the hospice to support children who have experienced the death of a loved one.

Rachel Leech, children and young people’s counsellor at Blythe House, said: ‘In one instance, I asked a child to pick the colour that reminded them of their mummy, and with another child, the teddy bear was focused on what colour they needed. The bears are such a special addition to the range of resources I use during my sessions with children aged four to 18, who are finding it difficult to come to terms with the illness or loss of someone close to them.’

The teddy bears are set to be used at an upcoming family Christmas event, open to children who have experienced loss, and their families. There will be festive crafts and a chance to decorate a special memory candle holder.

Rachel explained: ‘The event will be an opportunity for local children to come together to make friends with others who are in a similar situation, and remember their loved ones at Christmas, which is usually a tough time of year for anyone who is bereaved.’

The family Christmas event is taking place at Blythe House Hospicecare on Eccles Fold, Chapel-en-le-Frith from 4 to 6pm on Friday 10th December. Any child in the local community who has experienced the death of someone they love is welcome to attend.

Find out more.