Blythe House Bulletin is now available to read online, featuring news and info about the hospice’s care and services, and our upcoming events.
Blythe House Bulletin is now available to read online, featuring news and info about the hospice’s care and services, and our upcoming events.
The reception, porch and a bathroom area at Blythe House Hospicecare are set to undergo a major transformation to ensure the building is accessible to all visitors.
The hospice is delighted to be working alongside CRASH, a national charity that is supporting the project by drawing on the professional skills, materials and financial generosity of the construction industry.
CRASH has also very kindly donated £30,000 towards the revamp, with the remaining costs coming from trusts and grants applied for by the hospice’s fundraising team.
Ongoing, fundamental support is also coming from local industry professionals including quantity surveyor, Gavin Garner of WCP Associates; Claire Wilde and Jemma Slater from SlaterWilde Architects and Designers; and Terry Ward, formerly of WMA Developments.
Janet Dunphy, CEO, said: ‘Blythe House celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019 and the hospice has come a very long way in those three decades. As our services have grown and developed, what was once an adequate, welcoming space is now unfortunately not fit-for-purpose to meet the growing needs of our local community.
‘As a small hospice we need to ensure that all of our space is being used to its full potential and we have recognised that at present, there are a number of changes needed to ensure we are running effectively, meeting the demand of services and supporting our patients.
‘As you can imagine, at busy times and periods, the reception area can be very crowded and does not offer easy access to our Living Well service, or any kind of privacy for patients and visitors. The revamp will ensure it is made fully accessible to all patients, and will allow for privacy when visitors are waiting for appointments or meetings.
‘We are incredibly proud to be working alongside exceedingly talented, knowledgeable and dedicated representatives from CRASH and our local community – and we can’t wait to see the amazing revamped area later this year!’
Construction is set to get underway in mid-February 2020, continuing until around March. The hospice is working hard to ensure that disruption to services is kept to a minimum.
As mentioned previously, popular monthly coffee mornings will not take place throughout the refurb process due to access issues. Our next coffee morning is set to take place from 10am to 1pm on Friday 17th January at Alderbrook Day Centre, Buxton Road, Chinley, SK23 6ES.
Further updates about the refurbishment will be available in the coming weeks, so please stay up to date via our website and social media channels.
If you are thinking of giving your time to a good cause this year, then look no further than supporting your local hospice.
Blythe House Hospicecare is on the lookout for volunteers from all walks of life, to help provide care and services to local patients who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, COPD, heart failure, and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease, as well as their family members and carers.
Anyone over the age of 16 can volunteer at Blythe House, supporting the hospice in three key areas: patient services, retail and fundraising. Roles include befriending, catering assistant, fundraising and events support, gardener, reception cover, retail assistant, counsellor and driver.
Alistair Rogerson, Volunteer and Support Services Manager, said: ‘Without our dedicated team of over 270 volunteers, Blythe House simply could not open its doors every day. We are incredibly grateful to the friendly and committed bunch, who collectively give almost 600 hours of their time to the hospice every single week. Support from our volunteers means that we can spend the maximum amount of money directly on care and services for local patients and their families.’
To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Blythe House, you can:
Blythe House’s reception area is set to undergo a refurbishment very soon and so our monthly coffee mornings will not take place at the hospice as usual, due to access issues.
Our next coffee morning is set to take place from 10am to 1pm on Friday 17th January at Alderbrook Day Centre, Buxton Road, Chinley, SK23 6ES.
Please spread the word and find out more.
More than 400 people have pledged to raise over £11,000 for local hospice patients after the ‘amazing’ Jingle Bell Jog in Buxton.
Blythe House Hospicecare’s second annual event saw over 370 adults and 70 children don fancy dress and headwear to jingle around the Pavilion Gardens on Sunday 1st December – a fantastic sight for dozens of well-wishing onlookers.
Money from online donations has already come in totalling more than £4,180, but with the addition of cash sponsorship and registration fees, the event is set to raise over £11,000 for hospice care. Participants have until the 10th January to collect all their sponsorship money, before the grand total is revealed.
Sophie Hopkin from Whaley Bridge took part alongside two friends in memory of her mum, Allison. She said: ‘My mum wanted to go to Blythe House but sadly she didn’t get chance as she died within three weeks of her lung cancer diagnosis. The hospice has supported me with counselling since she died in April, so I just wanted to give something back.’
Julie Reilly from Chesterfield added: ‘We are doing this for a colleague that we used to work with who accesses services at Blythe House, so we’ve come to support her. I’ve seen from Facebook posts what a big support the hospice is to her and I’ve seen how it’s helped other people too.’
David Fearn from Burbage took part in last year’s event with his wife, Lynn and they turned out again for the second annual jog. He explained: ‘My wife goes to Blythe House every Wednesday; she has suffered from cancer in the past and has got other illnesses. The staff and everyone there are fantastic, so this is just our little way of saying thank you and helping the cause. The weather’s nice and there’s lots of people who have turned out, so let’s hope we have a good day and raise plenty of money!’
Liam Browne got involved alongside work colleagues. The Buxton resident said: ‘We’ve got a bit of a running group going where we work, there’s about six of us, and we just thought we’d get involved with this to support a good cause and get in the Christmas spirit.’
Blythe House provides care and support to local patients who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, COPD, heart failure and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease. The Hospice at Home service has provided over 37,000 hours of care to local people at the end of their lives since it began in 2016.
Jennifer Godwin, Fundraising and Events Coordinator at Blythe House, said: ‘I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in the Jingle Bell Jog in any capacity, for ensuring it was such a huge success.
‘From volunteers who supported the event by setting up, marshalling, clearing away and everything in-between; local companies that provided sponsorship or gifts in kind; and of course, everyone who took part! It really was an amazing day and I hope everyone is bursting with pride for playing their part in helping to raise such an amazing amount of money for hospice care in the High Peak.’
Plans are already in place for next year’s Jingle Bell Jog, which is set to take place on Sunday 6th December 2020. Sign up to take part before midday on Sunday 8th December 2019 for a super early bird offer of just £5: www.jinglebelljog.org.uk.
To see the online gallery of photos, kindly taken by volunteer photographer, Iain Klieve, find Blythe House Hospicecare on Facebook.
A mum from Dove Holes is urging local people to support their local hospice this Christmas, to help keep families like hers together over the festive period.
A few weeks before Christmas last year, Rebecca Tollerton’s husband, Mark discovered that his lung cancer had spread to his brain and that there was no cure.
The family sought help from Blythe House Hospicecare; including accessing its 24/7 Hospice at Home service where dedicated healthcare assistants provided day and night-time ‘sits’ to fit around life with children, Amelia, 8, and George, 6.
Rebecca explained: ‘Although we knew his lung cancer was advanced, nothing could have prepared us for such news. Up until that point, we had tried to keep life as normal as possible, for the sake of Amelia and George. At that moment, I felt very alone and extremely overwhelmed. It was at that point, in my absolute hour of need that Blythe House came into our lives.’
Alongside hospice care in the comfort of the family home, Blythe House was also able to provide volunteer support with shopping and gardening, as well as counselling services to help Rebecca and the children to come to terms with Mark’s prognosis.
Rebecca added: ‘Perhaps most importantly for the children, Blythe House gave us one last Christmas at home, as a family of four. Thanks to the care and support they provided, Mark was able to stay at home with us and that meant we could spend a very special Christmas together, creating important memories. That is something that my children will never forget – and I know it meant the absolute world to Mark too.
‘Mark died on 30th June this year and the loss we feel is immeasurable. But I am comforted to know that Mark received the best care, and his last Christmas was in his own home, surrounded by the people he adored.’
Since Hospice at Home started in 2016, the service has enabled over 450 people to die at home with their families and friends by their side. Providing over 33,000 hours of home care throughout the day and night across the High Peak and Hope Valley, is more than double what was originally planned because the demand for the service is so great.
Your donation this Christmas will make a huge difference to families in your local area. A donation of £50 could pay for a qualified healthcare professional from Blythe House Hospice to visit a patient at home for three hours, providing specialist medical care.
Keith was on the trip of a lifetime with his wife of 44 years Margaret, when she started to feel unwell. The couple from Glossop were travelling over a five-week period in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia, before meeting up with their South African friends in Pretoria.
They realised something was not quite right after they arrived in South Africa, when Margaret’s food fell off the side of her plate and she did not notice; she had lost her vision on the left side. There was further worry the next morning when Margaret, usually an early riser, did not want to get out of bed. They took her to a hospital in Durban, where Margaret underwent tests and scans, before their worst fears were confirmed when the doctor advised that Margaret had a lesion on her brain. Following a transfer that night to another hospital with a specialist neurological unit, and surgery a few days later, it was confirmed that Margaret had a very aggressive, terminal brain tumour.
Keith said: ‘We had some really difficult discussions with our travel insurers, who were less than helpful [Keith made a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman on his return home]. Thankfully we managed to fly home after a two-week stay in hospital and were transferred straight to Salford Royal Hospital where Margaret underwent a further five hours of brain surgery. Her condition improved and we had an appointment with an oncologist at The Christie Hospital three days after the surgery to discuss treatment options, but over the three days Margaret’s condition deteriorated and she was too ill to start any further treatment. We were advised that the only option was palliative care at home.
‘The surgeon from Salford Royal Hospital, Mr D’Urso, got in touch the following day and offered to undertake further surgery but advised that it was high risk. He asked us all to think about it – the operation could leave Margaret in a worse condition, but it might also prolong her life. It took Margaret about twenty seconds to decide that she wanted to have the operation, a decision that both my daughter and I agreed with. She spent seven hours in surgery on the 23rd December 2017, and we had our Christmas lunch in the high-dependency unit at Salford Royal that year.
‘After the successful operation, Margaret started to undergo chemo and radiotherapy at the Christie Hospital, and was then transferred from Salford to Tameside Hospital before going home at the end of January 2018. We travelled from home to The Christie every day for three weeks for radio/chemotherapy. This was followed by three months of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the treatment was very injurious to Margaret’s health and she required blood and platelet transfusions after each round of chemotherapy.
‘It was in March 2018 that our social worker, Steve Gray at the hospital recommended Blythe House, and so Margaret and I came for a meeting with Karen [Clayton, Senior Nurse] to discuss how the hospice could support her. Margaret started to attend the Living Well day-care service every Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some mornings, she could not summon the energy to get dressed, but she always wanted to get up and dressed on Thursday mornings.
‘I am a keen cyclist, so on Thursdays, once I had dropped Margaret off at Blythe House and she was settled, my good friend Chris and I would head out on our bikes for the day. Cycling for me during Margaret’s illness was a great therapy and it was a massive relief to know that she was being so well looked after at the hospice; I had no worries or concerns for the whole day because I knew I had left her in such capable and competent hands. She would love the live music that volunteers came to perform weekly. She would also bring in photobooks of our travels around the world and with the help of Lorna [Barratt, Living Well Service Support Worker]; she would show fellow patients, staff and volunteers. She loved having her nails painted; it really was the little things that made her feel so special.
‘It was around the same time that we also started receiving support from Blythe House’s Hospice at Home team. Healthcare assistants would come to our house two days a week to provide personal care to Margaret and some respite breaks for me. I would be able to head out to Glossop to do some shopping or general daily tasks and even a short bike ride, safe in the knowledge that Margaret was being so well looked after at home. The team also stepped in to support us when I attended a wedding reception in Sheffield, so that they could get Margaret ready for bed and ensure she was safe. We became friends with all the healthcare assistants and had a very relaxed relationship with them; we both felt so comfortable having them in our home.
‘In October 2018, it was decided that Margaret should not undergo any further treatment, as it was just too injurious to her health. Margaret continued to attend Blythe House on Thursdays and we continued to receive support from the Hospice at Home team.
‘On the 28th January 2019, Helen, one of the Hospice at Home healthcare assistants suggested that I might want to sleep downstairs next to Margaret’s hospital bed, as she had started to show signs of Cheyne–Stokes breathing. My brother, Peter came round and we sat and chatted to Margaret. She died peacefully that evening.
‘These very valuable last 12 months Margaret spent at home would not have been possible without Mr D’Urso, the surgeon at Salford Royal, to whom I will be forever grateful.
‘Life would have been very different during Margaret’s illness had we not had the care and services from Blythe House; it would have been incredibly tough. I am so thankful that we were able to access support for 10 months and that Margaret got to enjoy attending the Living Well day-care at the hospice, and that she was so well looked after at home by the Hospice at Home healthcare assistants. I will never forget the care and compassion of everyone from Blythe House; what a wonderful team of people.
‘The first Christmas without her is going to be tough for the whole family, but I am so proud to support the Light up a Life campaign and to dedicate a light in memory of my very dear wife.’
A gala ball to celebrate 30 years of hospice care in the High Peak has raised over £23,000 to support local families affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.
Hundreds of people including local businesses and volunteers attended the glitzy Blythe House event at the Octagon in Buxton on Friday 13th September.
A highlight of the night included an anonymous donation of £2,500 to sponsor a healthcare assistant to provide night-time support for two weeks in the home of a local patient at the end of their life.
The event also included silent and live auctions with special prizes including holidays, afternoon teas, meals out in the High Peak and sporting memorabilia, very kindly donated by local companies and organisations. The total amount raised is £23,015.
Becca Gregory, Fundraising and Events Coordinator, said: ‘Our first ever gala ball event was a huge success and it was fantastic to be able to celebrate the hospice’s very special pearl anniversary in this way.
‘On behalf of everyone at the hospice, I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who ensured the event was so great, including guests, donors and volunteers. We simply could not continue to provide the highest-quality care and services to local people affected by life-limiting illnesses without this unwavering support from our community.’
Reverend Betty Packham founded Blythe House in 1989, with a £1,000 legacy left to her by local parishioner, Stan Blythe.
The hospice needs to raise £3,600 every day to continue to provide free care and services to High Peak patients and their families. Find out more about how you could support the hospice.
Tom Craig has volunteered at Blythe House during his summer holidays from The University of Manchester, where he is studying a biomedical science degree.
The 22-year-old, who hails from Hayfield but lives in a shared house in Fallowfield, Manchester during term time, says it’s worth volunteering at Blythe House because ‘you can really feel like you are making a difference.’
Here, Tom explains more about his summer of volunteering…
‘I have finished my second year at university this summer, and in a couple of weeks I will start the third and final year of my degree. A lot of my degree involves learning about human biological processes, and how these processes can go wrong in various diseases. However, I have decided to apply to study Medicine as a graduate entry applicant, mainly because I really would like be able to have direct contact with patients, and hopefully be able to combine my interest for science and biology, in a role where being able to talk to and help people is so important.
‘As a volunteer at Blythe House, I have been talking to patients in the Living Well day-care service, in a befriending role; playing a part in trying to make sure that people feel welcome, and helping to serve refreshments. I have really enjoyed it, I have spoken to so many interesting people, and it has been an incredibly inspiring experience. I would definitely say that this was a highlight of my time in the hospice.
‘I have also had the opportunity to shadow the nurses in the hospice, which I am really grateful for. Because my degree at the moment is a science degree, instead of a healthcare, I have not been in a healthcare environment before, and it was really inspiring to be able to experience this. I have also been able to experience some of the complimentary therapies that are on offer in the hospice, and other components of the Living Well service, such as mindfulness and meditation, as well as art therapy, which is offered to patients.
‘I have also been able to spend some time in the information and support centre; there is such large a range of support on offer, and this was also really interesting and inspiring to be able to see the amount of dedication that is given to helping to improve people’s quality of life.
‘I would completely recommend Blythe House to anybody that is considering volunteering here. It has been a really good experience; if my university term was not starting soon I would have loved to stay for longer. It has made me realise that I definitely would like to work in healthcare in the future, but mainly it has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying to feel that you are hopefully making a small difference to somebody’s life. Just being somebody who a patient can talk to about some of the difficulties that they are facing, or simply a chat about a random topic, or helping to clean the teacups at the end of the day, it is worth volunteering here simply because you can really feel like you are making a difference.
‘I am really grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at the hospice, and hopefully I will be able to help out again at some point in the future. I can’t thank the staff and other volunteers enough for the opportunity.’
Local people are being invited to run, walk, dance, prance, jog and jingle to help raise funds for hospice care in the High Peak.
Our second annual Jingle Bell Jog is back by popular demand at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens on Sunday 1st December 2019.
The Jingle Bell Jog offers a 5k route around the idyllic grounds, alongside a 700m Children’s Fun Run for participants under 12 years of age.
Hundreds of people took part in last year’s triumphant event, donning Santa suits and hats to jog, walk and genuinely laugh their way around the park course.
Vicki Jordan attended Blythe House’s Living Well day-care service after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. The Disley resident said: ‘The Jingle Bell Jog last year was amazing. I was still recovering from treatment so it was not exactly a record-breaking time! However, the event was such a great thing to be a part of.
‘The support I received from Blythe House had helped enormously to get me through a horrible year, and I was very glad to be able to give a little bit back. I was so proud to raise almost £700, which was beyond my wildest expectations.’
The Jingle Bell Jog will help to raise vital funds to ensure that Blythe House can continue to provide free services to people across the High Peak who have illnesses including cancer, heart failure, COPD and motor neurone disease, as well as their families and carers.
Registration for the 2019 event opens on Tuesday 17th September, with a special early bird registration offer of just £10 for the 5k route with Santa suit and goody bag included, and £2 for the children’s fun run complete with Santa hat.