People across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales are invited to ‘get their glow on’ to support local hospice care.

Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust are hosting their second annual Glow Twilight Walk on Saturday 15th May – and this time, it’s virtual!

People can sign up to take on their own 10k night-time walk, and help to raise vital funds for palliative and end of life care across the community.

Blythe House and Helen’s Trust provides free care and support to people across the High Peak, Hope Valley, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire who are affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement.

The Hospice at Home service has provided over 17,000 hours of care to more than 180 local patients in the comfort of their own home since the start of the first national COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

The Virtual Glow Twilight Walk follows the incredibly popular inaugural event back in 2019.

Sue Boulton (second from left), from Buxton, took part alongside work colleagues in memory of a friend and co-worker. She said: ‘It was about taking part in something that would make a difference to Blythe House. To help raise that much needed funding, enabling them to give support, advice and care to everyone in our community that needs it.

‘It’s all about fun, dressing up and most importantly being part of an event that paid tribute to those we have lost. I joined my old work pals to remember our dear friend and colleague, Karen Byrne.

‘We can’t all be together for 2021 twilight walk, but we can all join together in spirit. Whichever way you decide to walk, virtually with friends, with your partner or family bubble. It’s all about having fun, raising money and remembering those loved ones fighting their own battle or for those that are no longer with us.’

Becca Gregory, fundraising and events coordinator at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, added: ‘We are so excited to be lighting up the night once again in aid of local hospice care. This time, due to COVID restrictions, participants can get involved with their household or support bubble – and see how many other Glow Twilight walkers they can spot along the way! We hope people will get involved across our community – even much further afield – to support the important work undertaken by our amazing hospice clinical teams and volunteers every single day.’

Registration is just £10 and includes a T-shirt, glow sticks and face paint – sign up online before Tuesday 11th May.

Jackie’s husband Rob was first introduced to Blythe House in 2019 after finding out the previous year that advanced prostate cancer had sadly spread to his bones. Rob gained one-to-one advice and support at first, but as his health deteriorated, he began receiving care in the comfort of his own home.

His wife, Jackie, explains more: ‘After struggling on with severe back pain for some time, seeing a GP and a physiotherapist, Rob was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in spring 2018. Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasised and spread into his bones.

‘I persuaded him to go to Blythe House, where he had face-to-face meetings with Karen Clayton [hospice nurse], who he had a huge amount of respect for. He also attended the hospice’s monthly coffee mornings where he’d chat to Karen and receive valuable advice. On two different occasions, I found myself struggling or at the end of my tether and I just walked round to Blythe House and ended up speaking to Karen, and Louise Furmston, [community engagement lead], who were both fantastic. Blythe House is not just for people who are ill; carers and family members needn’t be afraid of reaching out for support.

‘Rob did really well throughout 2018, but around Christmastime, he became really ill; started getting pains in his shoulder and had episodes when he was unable to move. During 2019, he was in and out of hospital and in April 2020, at the height of the first national COVID-19 lockdown, he had a very severe episode and our doctor recommended Hospice at Home support from Blythe House.

‘The team sorted us out completely because we just couldn’t cope physically. They arranged to visit us twice a day in the mornings and evenings, to help wash and dress Rob or get him ready for bed. He recovered a little bit and we decided that we didn’t need the evening sits anymore, but healthcare assistants still came every morning.

‘It is a very lonely feeling seeing the person who you’ve lived with for more than 50 years deteriorate so quickly and become so frail. Rob was a very active and independent man – he did decorating, plastering, plumbing, electrics, DIY. He found the limitations caused by his illness very frustrating and upsetting. It was lovely to have different people come into our home, and for Rob to have someone, other than me, who he could chat to, as we were unable to see friends and family because of COVID. It was also great for me because it gave me much-needed time out as a full-time carer, and different people to talk to about worries or concerns.

‘I can’t begin to imagine how we’d have coped without Hospice at Home. I am quite tough-skinned but I sat and cried privately on many occasions because I just didn’t know how we’d have managed. It was just wonderful to know someone was there. Dr Sarah Parnacott [consultant in palliative medicine], was amazing. I text her one morning with a query regarding Rob’s medication; she replied straight away, and an hour later she was on my doorstep.

‘On the morning that Rob died, Julie, one of the healthcare assistants, had been round to shower and care for him. After she left, I went outside to hang some washing when I heard an almighty crash. I found him in a heap at the bottom of the stairs and called an ambulance straight away. I wasn’t allowed to go in the ambulance with Rob to hospital due to COVID-19, but after advice from Dr Parnacott, we had completed a ReSPECT [Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment] form and this was passed to the paramedics. Soon after, I received a call from a team member at Stepping Hill who informed me that Rob had become unconscious in the ambulance; he asked me to get there as soon as I could.

‘When I arrived at hospital, I had a chat with the consultant who told me that Rob had multiple catastrophic injuries and we decided not to lift his sedation. He quietly slipped away on the 30th August 2020. As tragic as his death was, I knew that it was the best thing. He was so miserable and frightened about what would happen to him over the coming weeks.

‘We have always been very healthy people – we didn’t do doctors, surgeries or help – so it hadn’t occurred to us to seek help from Blythe House. If it wasn’t for our doctor, and the hospice team saying “you can do this/ you can have this,” we wouldn’t have known. It would not have occurred to us to say “help!” without someone prodding us. What I’d say to other people who may be in a similar situation to ours, is just to be aware of the amazing services on offer at Blythe House; don’t hold back from asking for help. It’s not just the palliative and end of life care, but genuine advice and support too.

‘I’d like to say huge thank yous all round; we could not have managed without Blythe House; there was always someone to talk to, and to provide such important care and support.’

Find out more about our hospice services.

Catherine Madge started volunteering at Blythe House’s Whaley Bridge department store in 2014, after her father received care and support from the hospice during the final months of his life. She’s learnt cash handling and visual merchandising skills, and says the camaraderie with fellow volunteers and customers is one of her favourite things about giving her time to support the shop.

The Whaley Bridge resident explains more: ‘I was mainly working at the till, providing general support with displays, both upstairs and downstairs. Initially I worked two mornings a week, then when I began working in the week full-time, I started Saturday afternoon shifts, then filling in for holidays. I also did a stint at a stall in Buxton. I enjoyed bag packs and other fundraising through work with my previous employer.

‘I decided to support the hospice as a retail volunteer to give something back, after my dad, Gordon was helped so much at the end of his life, especially consultations with Dr Sarah Parnacott [consultant in palliative medicine]. This was before the Hospice at Home service, and I realise how much of a difference it would have made to his last days. My stepdad, David also had lots of help from Blythe House too recently, in his final months.

‘When I am not working full-time, I help when I can, and when I was furloughed last year, I contacted Blythe House when the shop was about to re-open, to help out where I could until more permanent volunteers were able to return.

‘My favourite things about volunteering for the shop are the camaraderie that everyone has, all working for the same thing, meeting regular customers and answering queries, you never know what you will be asked!

‘I learnt the till and cash handling (before the pandemic came along), along with developing visual merchandise skills, and, yes really, doing a little dance when something you have displayed sells! There are always little treasures to be found amongst the donations and I have researched some vintage craft items such as knitting and sewing patterns to help them sell in the shop and on eBay.

‘Blythe House takes care of its volunteers, the managers are terrific, and you always know you are making such a difference to this charity, and always giving something back to your community. The volunteers take care of each other, keeping in touch when they can, and you meet so many there is usually time for a quick chat and catch up.

‘When you can find something for a customer, a little treasure, or it is something they have been looking for, for ages, and can’t find elsewhere, it is a real joy. I remember a customer had left some family photos in a book he had donated. Fortunately, I was able to locate the book and return the photos – he was really chuffed! Christmas is always a special time; lots of decorations and presents are bought, and far too many chocolatey things around!

‘Something I really enjoy is talking with people, helping them out, saying hello to regular customers and volunteers. So many people said they were really pleased when the shop was able to re-open again last year, let’s hope it’s not too long before it opens again in 2021!

‘I would say when thinking about volunteering for Blythe House, you actually get a lot more back than you put in; a real feeling of doing something for your community, whatever it is, and I just wish I had more time now, but hopefully that will come. In the meantime, I donate what I can, and enjoy keeping in touch with this hub of the community.

‘Finally, Blythe House really helped me get back into work and back into the community after going through bereavement and, given the chance, I would love to do more.’

Find out more about how you could volunteer your time to support your local hospice.

A new shop to help raise funds for local hospice care in set to open in Bakewell.

The Helen’s Trust retail outlet is located at 1 Royal Oak Place on Matlock Street, next door to Rural Threads.

Helen’s Trust and Blythe House came together last year to offer hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

The new store joins Blythe House’s other very successful shops in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge, which collectively turned over in excess of £405,000 to support local hospice services during 2018/19.

Alistair Rogerson, business development manager at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, said: ‘We are really excited to be opening up a new shop premises in beautiful Bakewell. Helen’s Trust is the local charity in Bakewell and the money generated from the shop will help to fund end of life hospice services delivered in the community, where they are needed most.

‘Charity shops in general receive such bad press but our four current shops really are a treasure trove of high-quality items very kindly donated by local people; sorted and displayed by dedicated volunteers, who all wish to support their local hospice charity. It is clear how well-loved they are, by how much money they bring in to support our services. This is so important as we need to raise £1.5 million annually to fund local hospice care.

‘The decision to take on a new shop during the ongoing pandemic was not taken lightly. We had to weigh up the pros and cons very seriously, and our committed volunteer board members were confident and excited about the prospect of receiving such great support from our Dales communities.

‘We are eagerly awaiting updates from the government about when we may be able to re-open all of our shops, and we very much look forward to safely welcoming Derbyshire Dales shoppers to the new store as soon as possible.’

In the meantime, the shop will be open for COVID-secure donation drop offs from 10.30am to 2.30pm every Wednesday – starting Wednesday 3rd February. If you have good quality, pre-loved items that you’d like to donate to help raise funds for local end of life care, please take them along to the shop between these times if you are undertaking an essential journey. Find out more.

Helen’s Trust and Blythe House are on the lookout for volunteers to help operate the new Bakewell shop when it opens. Find out more about getting involved and apply online now.

 

Updated 21.01.2021: After the success of the first event in January, another COVID-secure eBay donation session is set to take place at our New Mills shop (3 Union Road) from 9.30am to 12noon on Thursday 4th February 

If you would like to donate quality or specialist items for eBay, please bring them along! MASKS, GLOVES AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ESSENTIAL.

We have a team of experts on hand to make sure we can get the best possible price for any valuable or high-quality pieces donated to us, to go towards supporting our essential work in these challenging times.

Please note that this is NOT an opportunity for you to donate general items. Please visit our Bakewell or Chapel-en-le-Frith drop and donate sessions to donate general items. Find out more.

This drop and donate session is solely for specialist items that you’d like to donate for sale on our eBay site including designer wear and vintage items, collectibles, homeware, and luxury goods.

Email for further information.

Visit our eBay site to see the types of items on offer.

John Mountain started to attend Blythe House’s monthly prostate cancer support group in 2018, after he was diagnosed with the condition. Alongside other health issues, the Chapel-en-le-Frith resident has sought support from the hospice’s community volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, John explains more:

‘My Partner and I knew about Blythe House from its early planning stages back in the 1980s, but I started to get support and information approximately three years ago after I had been diagnosed with low grade, early stage prostate cancer, and began attending the support group meetings.

‘After discussions with other group members I decided on a treatment called brachytherapy (a form of radiation therapy), where small radioactive pellets approximately the size of grains of rice are implanted directly into the prostate, under a general anaesthetic. The surgery was successful and I was allowed home after an overnight stay. It was really helpful to discuss matters with people who had wide-ranging knowledge of the condition and had undergone the same treatment, which I would recommend to anyone who was suitable.

‘Prior to the prostate cancer diagnosis, I had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease approximately six to seven years ago, which is being controlled reasonably well with medication.

‘I was also suffering mobility issues with spinal disc problems. I was seen at Salford Royal Hospital, and put on the list for some injections but with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, everything was put on hold. The spinal issues got worse, affecting my mobility and I decided to pay for surgery, which was carried out in September and my mobility is slowly improving.

‘I sought support from Blythe House’s community volunteers during my recovery phase. All volunteers I have spoken to have been great; very helpful and friendly, and I know I can always rely on the service. Things would have been very different without their help in getting prescriptions collected from the pharmacy and delivered to my home.

‘For anyone who has difficulties and needs some help, I would recommend they get in touch with Blythe House where they will find all the help and advice they need.’

Find out more about how Blythe House could support you or your family.

More than 400 Jingle Bell Joggers across the High Peak and beyond have raised over £21,000 for local hospice care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blythe House Hospicecare’s third annual Jingle Bell Jog was reimagined for the current times, and saw local runners take on 5km routes in their own communities on Sunday 6th December, instead of coming together at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens as in previous years.

Hundreds of people donned Santa fancy dress to jog and jingle locally across New Mills, Whaley Bridge, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton – with participants also taking part further afield including in Leeds, Denton and even Vienna!

Money from online donations, cash sponsorship and registration fees totals £21,366; raising over £2,000 more than last year’s event. All the money will go towards supporting local patients who are affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement, as well as their carers and families.

Feedback about the event on the hospice’s Facebook page has been fantastic. Clubbercise & Zumba with Accidental Fitness Buxton commented: ‘Ah we had an awesome time! It was great to see so many Santa’s out and about!’

Ruth George said: ‘Had a great day – fab to see so many Santa’s between Whaley and Chinley. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us.’

Sonn Webb posted a photographed (right) and captioned it: ‘This one’s for you Dad and for everyone supported by the amazing Blythe House Hospicecare.’

Becca Gregory, fundraising and events coordinator at Blythe House, said: ‘This year has been a rollercoaster for everyone, including the hospice as our fundraising events have been cancelled and our local shops closed. When we launched the Jingle Bell Jog Reimagined, we did not know what to expect. We are beyond grateful and thrilled that hundreds of local people turned out to the support Blythe House – especially during the pandemic. It was a very different event to usual, but we are all very used to this “new normal” now, and it was a huge success!

‘I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in the Jingle Bell Jog Reimaged in any capacity; including volunteers; local companies that provided sponsorship or gifts in kind; and of course, everyone who took part! It really provided a welcome boost to our community during the current situation, and I hope everyone is delighted to have jingled their way to raise such an amazing amount of money for local hospice care.’

See a collage of photographs from the event, visit the Blythe House Hospicecare Facebook page.

Next year’s Jingle Bell Jog is set to take place on Sunday 5th December. Sign up to take part before midnight on Sunday 20th December 2020, for a super early bird offer of just £5: www.jinglebelljog.org.uk.

Well, the sun will shine, eventually! We will be out in our gardens again, we will be immunised and Blythe House will continue to be alongside you.

None of us could have imagined what would happen in 2020, or how we would change and cope. To me, it hasn’t been social distancing it’s been physical distancing. We have found ways to connect and stay connected.

Without you we couldn’t have done anything; our retail, fundraisers, volunteers and donors make sure we can be here for the future. We have never needed each other more!

As you know, we didn’t do an urgent appeal for money when COVID hit; we felt our community needed us to be there with them and help at that time. And we have faith in each other to keep our resilience in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

Working with Helen’s Trust has meant that we have rescued so many more people; got the care out into many more homes, to keep patients with their families.

We have changed shape and made sure we are COVID secure. You will see lots of hospices and clinical services doing this. Fortunately we had started the process pre-COVID, so at Blythe House we are ‘ready to roll’: we are modernised, safe and will be so excited to see you all again. And we will, because it’s you that’s brings the spirit to Blythe House!

Thank you sincerely for always being with us. Keep being kind to yourselves and walk towards the sunshine and freedoms that will come. Happy New Year everyone!

Janet Dunphy
CEO

Blythe House Hospicecare is continuing to provide the highest levels of care and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illness, bereavement and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We are here to help and here to stay throughout the duration of the national lockdown and beyond. The hospice, based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, is providing services across the local community.

From July to September, the expert and compassionate team delivered over 3,100 hours of palliative and end of life care in the comfort of patient’s homes – with 98% of people dying in the place of their choice at home with their loved ones.

Usually face-to-face support groups for carers, people who are bereaved and those who are affected by prostate and breast cancers, have been taking place monthly via online platform, Zoom with an average of 12 attendees per session.

During quarter three, the counselling and bereavement team delivered over 120 support sessions for local adults and children, including 42 Covid-19-secure face-to-face meetings. Hospice staff also provided over 670 telephone or online support sessions.

Louise Furmston, community engagement lead at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘There has been huge concern and anxiety with patients who have experienced “multiple losses” as a result of both living with a life-limiting illness but also the limitations that the pandemic has enforced.

‘The impact of not being able to have human contact with family or friends, and not being able to access usual avenues of support, including visiting us at Blythe House, has been huge. Other worries include the uncertainty of when the situation might improve; the ever-changing guidelines; difficulties accessing healthcare services, or treatments being cancelled or delayed; as well as issues with managing symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue and breathlessness.

‘At Blythe House, whilst government rules have stopped us from undertaking our usual events and services, they would never stop us from providing the highest quality care, advice and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, COPD, heart failure and motor neurone disease.’

Alongside the staff team, the hospice’s dedicated volunteers have continued to go above and beyond to support local people affected by Covid-19.

Vicci Wild, community volunteer programme manager, said: ‘Our amazing volunteers continued to fulfil every request for support throughout July to September; 63 socially-distanced garden visits took place providing companionship to patients and support for carers. The team worked with people who were no longer required to isolate, by helping them regain their confidence to go out to run their own errands. As restrictions were tightened again, the team assured the community that the support from Blythe House will remain available.’

Janet Dunphy, hospice CEO, added: ‘As Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the hospice movement, once said “We cannot take away the whole hard thing that is happening, but we can help to bring the burden into manageable proportions.” That is exactly what we are striving to do here at Blythe House.

‘We are part of a community that is prepared to help; there is a strong culture of self-reliance in the High Peak, and the nurturing element of what Blythe House does is a direct reflection of the community that supports us. Together with district nurses, GPs and other local healthcare providers, we are able to wrap around those who need us. We know that to stay relevant, solvent and keep to our mission, we must stay together, work in partnership with others and embrace social change.  We are stronger together, clear of purpose and very proud to be part of the High Peak community.’

To access support during the ongoing lockdown, please:

Referrals for hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire have surged by more than 160% since Blythe House joined forces with Helen’s Trust.

Blythe House Hospicecare, based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Helen’s Trust in Bakewell announced their formal partnership in September, but have been working together officially since April.

The charities provide 24/7 palliative and end of life care in the homes of patients with life-limiting illnesses including cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and neurological conditions like motor neurone disease.

Referrals are made to the team for a variety of reasons including respite sits so that a carer can get some much-needed rest or to run errands; to get a patient home from hospital; crisis avoidance, where a family is in need of support quickly to help with a potentially distressing or emotional situation; and for end of life care when a patient is in the final weeks or days of life.

Hospice at Home healthcare assistants have provided this care across the Dales and North East Derbyshire, including in Alfreton, Bakewell, Birchover, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Clowne, Dronfield, Eckington, Hathersage, Matlock and Shirebrook.

Dr Louise Jordan, founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, said: ‘What is so exciting about working with Blythe House, is the joint aim to provide our own highly skilled carers to give care in the comfort of patient’s homes. Helen’s Trust has always relied on contracting with agencies. This has largely been successful but gives no guarantee of the quality of care we aim for, and often can be unreliable and very expensive.

‘Lockdown fast tracked our collaboration very effectively and very efficiently. The demand for care has been massive since our collaboration and referrals have gone up by 167%. More healthcare assistants have been recruited and trained, and we are looking to expand this number further very quickly.

‘As a founding trustee, Helen’s Trust is very precious to me and I want to assure you that the board and I have every confidence that the merger of Helen’s Trust and Blythe House will enable us to help more people; to support individuals to stay and die in their own home and have a good death. This is so important for the individual but also for their family and friends.’

Ruth Brown, Hospice at Home senior manager has coordinated the implementation of care across the region. She added: ‘Our community is at the heart of everything we do here, and our healthcare assistants have gone above and beyond, providing the good honest care we strive to deliver, even though our “normal” has changed forever and some of these new patterns of working will remain.

‘I am delighted to be a part of the work of our two charities, both of which hold a special place in my heart. As Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”’

Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service launched in 2016 and since then, has delivered over 50,000 hours of day and night-time care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak. Referrals can be made by:

  • Calling 01298 813007 or 01298 811770 for Blythe House
  • Calling 07780 331715 for Helen’s Trust

Find out more about the Hospice at Home service and if it might be useful for your family