It may seem early in the year to mention the C word but with just 15 Fridays left until Christmas; we really need to get our festive skates on and start discussing this year’s Christmas knitting appeal!

After last year’s appeal raised an amazing £1,200 for Blythe House care and services, we are feeling confident that we’ll be able to beat that total in 2019.

You can pick up copies of our popular knitting patterns in the main hospice reception, as well as our four shops across the High Peak in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

To make life a little easier though, and if you have access to a printer, please download the patterns here.

If you, or someone you know, cannot knit but would like to get involved, you can do so by donating Christmas chocolates including chocolate oranges and Ferrero Rocher – we can never have enough!

The little knitted luxuries – which make amazing stocking fillers or Christmas Day table treats – are sold during the festive period to raise vital funds for the hospice to continue to provide free care and services to local patients, their families and carers.

Finally, don’t forget to visit Facebook for knitting tips, tricks and ideas by finding the Blythe House Hospice Nifty Knitters group.

A local hospice service hailed by current patients as ‘wonderful’ is recruiting volunteers to support people in the High Peak who have life-limiting illnesses.

Blythe House Hospicecare’s community volunteer programme provides practical and emotional support in the homes of local patients dealing with illnesses including cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

Prospective community volunteers attend a comprehensive training programme to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence to provide the best service. The next training opportunity begins on Monday 30th September.

Community volunteers are available to provide support including companionship, transportation and respite breaks for patients, family members and carers. A myriad of tasks have been carried out since the programme began in 2018 including mowing the lawn, clearing a room to receive a hospital bed, and simply just ‘being there’ so a carer could get some rest.

Local patients who have benefited from using the service commented:

  • ‘After three and a half years in my house I was desperate to get out and my volunteer is simply wonderful. We go out to Buxton in the car and have a walk in the park. Sometimes we will go out in the car for coffee somewhere in Chapel. It is freedom and a real treat – it is so lovely to get out!’
  • ‘All of the support I get from Blythe House is wonderful – nothing is too much trouble for them. Without my volunteer I would not be able to get out which I would hate.’

Community volunteers during training (L-R) Helen Wallis, Rachel Dennett, Margaret Charlton

Rachel Dennett has been a community volunteer since February. The Glossop resident explained: ‘My father died last year. In his last few days he was cared for by his local Hospice at Home team. I saw what a massive difference these carers made to both him and the rest of the family. Their support made an awful situation more bearable.

‘I was in a position where my children needed me less, giving me some spare time. I wanted to give something back to the community.’ Consequently, Rachel got in touch with Blythe House.

‘I’ve been involved with one patient so far. My brief was originally to provide some respite for their carer and companionship for the patient. However, in the last month or so this has changed to providing support for the carer while the patient is in hospital. I support them in a number of practical ways such as ironing, changing beds, shopping, cooking meals, along with being someone to talk to. It is a really satisfying and interesting role and I’d thoroughly recommend it. The training sessions were really helpful and often entertaining too!’

To find out more about the community volunteer programme and training – starting on Monday 30th September:

Local residents and members of the public are warmly welcome to attend our next fundraising coffee morning to help celebrate 30 years of hospice care in the High Peak.

The event will take place at Blythe House on Friday 20th September will see hot drinks and homemade cakes served, alongside a tombola and gift stall. A unique commemorative wall hanging will also be on display, as well as a special 30th anniversary video.

Reverend Betty Packham founded the hospice in 1989 after she received a £1,000 legacy from Fairfield man, Stan Blythe. Betty nursed Stan in the final weeks of his life in the comfort of her home.

To commemorate the 30-year anniversary, past and present Blythe House patients have created an intricate wall hanging displaying symbols, words and quotes, overseen by volunteer and local textile artist, Anne Humberstone.

Anne (left) said: ‘Everyone agreed that it should be a cheerful piece but at the same time expressing the journey that they have been on and the great support that they received along the way. The design was born incorporating everybody’s ideas and skills.

‘It soon became apparent what a great deal of talent and enthusiasm there was, and it was great to see the excitement and the sense of achievement as the work developed. I am proud to have been involved with this lovely group of people and to have been a part of this celebration of 30 years of this fabulous place.’

The coffee morning is taking place from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Friday 20th September and the hospice is fully accessible for all members of the public to attend.

Staff at Cooper Sons Hartley and Williams in Buxton have handed over a cheque worth £3,270 to Blythe House Hospicecare.

The Terrace Road firm hosted a Wills Month throughout June, providing a will writing service in return for fees being donated to the hospice.

As well as supporting Wills Month, Debbie Hall and Erica Bassett, who are both partners at the firm, regularly attend the hospice’s monthly coffee mornings to meet and chat to members of the public, offering advice and guidance on legal issues.

The firm’s support does not stop there though… another solicitor also took part in the hospice’s first-ever Glow Twilight Walk last month, and a member of the staff regularly volunteers their time for Blythe House.

Katie Holt, Fundraising and Communications Assistant at Blythe House commented: ‘The amount raised by Cooper Sons Hartley and Williams is truly amazing and is our best fundraising amount from one solicitor in a Wills Month.

‘We are so grateful to the firm; everyone who got their wills written or amended during the month, and for the team’s ongoing support in helping to raise vital funds for the hospice. All the money raised will go towards ensuring that care and services remain free to access for local people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.’

Andrew Cullimore, Senior Partner at Cooper Sons Hartley and Williams, said: ‘We are more than happy to help raise funds for Blythe House to enable them to offer members of our local community access to their much-valued services.’

Find out how you can support the hospice.

Patients, volunteers and staff from Blythe House Hospicecare got the opportunity to mingle with TV stars during a special day out provided free of charge by a local coach company.

Smiths of Marple offered the Chapel-en-le-Frith hospice free coach travel and entry to the first ever Countryfile Live event in Yorkshire on Thursday 15th August.

Leaflets and an email were distributed amongst patients, staff and volunteers to share the special opportunity, and spaces on the coach filled up within a day!

BBC Countryfile presenters including Matt Baker, John Craven and Ellie Harrison were big hits at the Castle Howard event, alongside outdoor activities including farming in action, rural crafts and the equine arena.

Volunteer, Alex Clark attended the event with her mum, Brenda Edge and auntie, Hilary Hadfield. The three women give their time to support Blythe House shops in Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton. Alex said: ‘It really was a wonderful day and we are so lucky to have had the opportunity to go; a huge thank you to Smiths of Marple.’

Anne Hibbs, Secretary at Blythe House, said: ‘A lovely day was had by all and we were very well looked after by our drivers, Tony and Paul. There was a myriad of interesting things to see and do, from maypole and Morris dancing to book signings. The Countryfile team was on top form and very entertaining. There was a great atmosphere and it was very well organised. Thank you so much to Smiths of Marple for such an amazing day.’

Ian Rigg, a volunteer driver, said: ‘My wife and I had a great time. Thankfully the weather was kind to us and there was plenty to occupy our time. A huge thanks for organising it and definitely to Tony for his generosity, as well as to him and Paul for driving!’

Angie Vernon, Managing Directing at Smiths of Marple, commented: ‘We were very pleased to be able to offer our support to Blythe House as it’s a charity close to all our hearts in the High Peak. We hope the hard working volunteers, staff and patients enjoyed their well earnt day out!’

We are so sad to announce that our outdoor cinema event due to take place tonight has been CANCELLED due to severe weather conditions.

The Greatest Showman was set to be shown tonight (Friday 16th August) at Buxton Cricket Club.

This special event raises vital funds for the hospice so having to cancel it is devastating. The safety of our supporters, staff, volunteers and suppliers is our first priority, and this decision has been made due to the severe weather and concern about ground conditions at the venue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If you have booked for the event tonight and would like your donation to be refunded, please contact the Blythe House Hospicecare Fundraising Team on 01298 875089, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. If you have any further questions, please contact: events@blythehouse.co.uk.

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.

A special book of literary works by High Peak patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses has raised over £380 for local hospice care.

Life is a Mish Mash is compiled of short stories, poems and limericks, written by a writing group here at Blythe House Hospicecare.

Dawn Haines, Sam Osborne, Sarah Whiteley, Sue Walmsley and Yvonne Reynolds, started their writing course in September last year, working together over 18 weeks to create a book of their work to raise funds for the hospice.

The book was sold at Blythe House reception and retail outlets across the borough – raising a fantastic £384 for patient care and services.

Julian Cohen, local poet and storyteller, heads up the writing group and said: ‘The group produced some fantastic and very moving poems and stories about their experiences of illness and their fears, but also about their hopes. Some tears were been shed but there was also a lot of laughter and a real determination to get the most out of life, and to help and support each other.

‘On behalf of the group, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s picked up a copy of the book and donated; every penny raised will go towards supporting ongoing patient care here at Blythe House.’

Since our writing groups began at Blythe House back in 2015, they have been incredibly popular with patients who have found that writing can help them to express their thoughts and feelings.

By reading out their work to each other in the group, patients have also shared their ideas. The writing groups have helped patients to stay positive, despite the difficulties they can face.

Find out more about Blythe House services.

A Buxton resident’s birthday barn dance has raised over £9,000 for local patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Julie Fletcher, who has secondary breast cancer, held a ‘Party in the Barn’ in Combs last month, to celebrate her 50th Birthday.

Julie’s been attending Blythe House Hospicecare in Chapel-en-Le-Frith since the beginning of 2019, accessing care and support including education for health and wellbeing, complementary therapies, counselling and physiotherapy.

Julie said: ‘I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013; unfortunately in 2017 it had spread to my liver; after surgery to remove the tumour it returned once again in 2018 to multiple sections of my liver and my bones. I have been undergoing different treatments, each one offering their challenges and currently I am on chemotherapy to shrink the numerous tumours in my liver.

‘I try to live a normal life as possible and recently Blythe House have helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. Blythe House is a safe environment to go and express yourself in any way you feel. I look forward to Wednesdays and have made many new friends in the process.’

‘I wanted to do something worthwhile to celebrate my big 5-0 and raise vital funds for a place very close to my heart and many in the community’.

The ‘Party in the Barn’ was a huge success supported by Julie’s friends and family, with local businesses providing products and services like refreshments and entertainment. Other organisations and guests gave money on the night and via Julie’s Facebook donations page.

Julie said; ‘We had a fantastic night, made even better by the fact so much money was raised for Blythe House. I’d like to thank everybody who helped to make a dream become reality.

‘Many people gave up their free time to help organise and prepare the barn for the night. I can’t thank them enough: Rosie and Sam Barrett for the use of the barn, Jason Hobson for all your hard work in sorting the lighting, Jonathan Smith for going over and above with prepping the barn and staying all night to serve the hog roast, and Mac Burnham Butchers for donating all the burgers and sausages; they were scrummy. Paul Hardy for supplying the biggest hog roast I’ve ever seen, Amy Longdon and Ben Hammer for supplying the very well stocked and organised bar, and to both Paul and Amy for donating all their profits to the event. Retronovas Band, DJ Chris Pearson and Middle of the Road duo for donating their time to play at the party.

‘Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make this remarkable night as memorable as possible by providing services and gifts in kind.’

To name just a few of the local organisations who supported the event:
A & S Bearings, Buxton
Biggin Hall, Biggin By Hartington
Buxton and High Peak Golf club
Buxton Opera House
Buxton Water
Care for Feet, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton
Cask and Kitchen, Glossop
Chapel-en-le-Frith Leisure Centre
Damian Currington Electrical
Decanta by Dowds, Glossop
Federal Mogul Friction Products
First Impressions
Harvey Leonards, Glossop
Hayloft Beauty, Glossop
Jack Massey fight tickets
Lasting Impressions, Buxton
Lounge 41, Buxton
Napoli Italian Restaurant, Glossop
Paper Mill Inn, Chinley
Staden Nursery, Buxton
The Italian, Glossop
The Oakwood, Glossop
The Queens Pub, Glossop
…And many, many more!

You can still donate to Julie’s fundraising via her Just Giving page.

Last year’s Mayor of the High Peak has visited Blythe House to hand over a cheque worth £530 for patient care and services.

Blythe House was one of Linda Grooby’s chosen charities whilst she was the mayor of the borough for 2018/19.

To raise money throughout the year, Linda asked for donations in lieu of Christmas cards, and held fundraising events including a civic ball with a raffle, and several civic meetings.

The funding will go directly towards influencing patient care here at Blythe House – £530 could pay for more than 30 hours of nighttime care for a local patient who wishes to remain in the comfort of his or her own home at the end of their life.

Pictured: Linda Grooby, Buxton North and East division and Cote Heath Ward Councillor, hands over the cheque to and Becka White, Blythe House Fundraising and Communications Assistant.