Blythe House patients, staff and volunteers are coming together to create a special wall hanging to commemorate the hospice’s 30th anniversary this year.

Around 17 people are taking part in hand stitching and sewing the unique artwork alongside local textile artist, Anne Humberstone.

Anne explained: ‘I applied to be a volunteer in the creative art area at Blythe House and a few weeks later, Catherine Serjeant [Creative Arts Coordinator] contacted me and said there was a project in the wings that she thought I’d be very interested in, so I have been managing the group since its inception.

‘We held an initial meeting in March to discuss ideas and get a plan together for the design. Once we had a plan in place, the group was divided up into three, working on different sections of the wall hanging. People then met at different group members’ homes whilst they got on with the work, and we’ve now started to come together again at Blythe House, to review progress and discuss what else needs to be done.’

Group participants have been really enjoying the project so far. The following five ladies have all been supported by Blythe House following breast cancer diagnoses:

Stephanie Lund said: ‘Many of the people that are helping with the project were all in the same Living Well service group and we’ve remained good friends. We used to do creative arts when we came; I made a few things I was really proud of and it helped to take your mind off things.’

Ros Edwards commented: ‘We all got together to discuss what we wanted on the wall hanging, including symbols like balloons, rainbow, sunshine and sunflowers. We also wanted words and quotes sewn into the different panels, and used the Blythe House logo colours.’

Tracey Furness added: ‘Blythe House gave us the opportunity to talk to others in similar situations and share our experiences.’

Shelia Rawcliffe said: ‘When I first walked in to Blythe House it was like an embrace; the staff and volunteers took me under their wing – it was a lifeline. It has been a real privilege to meet everyone.’

Maureen Brierley added: ‘I’d undergone a mastectomy and felt so very sad in hospital when a nurse came to see me. She said “you need some TLC!” and a while later came back with a leaflet for Blythe House. This place is so special, it is a haven – it was a day I could come and completely not worry about anything. I learnt skills I never knew I had, and thoroughly enjoyed the meditation and complimentary therapies. I continue to meet up with lifelong friends that I have made as a result of coming to Blythe House; we go out for meals together and that’s why I decided to get involved in this project too.’

Sue Hartley attends Blythe House after her metastasized papillary thyroid cancer diagnosis. She said: ‘I personally can’t thank Blythe House enough for what it has given me as a service user. It is a warm and welcoming place that can tailor its services to whatever you might need at the time. I got involved with this project as I wanted to have something here that I can say “yes I did that!” in the future.’

Sam Osborne said: ‘When I first came to Blythe House I was very nervous and felt so alone. As I walked through the doors to the main lounge I was welcomed by so many people. Many of the staff and volunteers came over to speak to me. A few months later I joined the writing group and got to know even more people. The writing group has now finished but we are still meeting up every fortnight. Without this my life would be so different. I have been able to use the confidence gained in my writing to write a poem for the wall hanging. This poem explains how many of us feel about Blythe House.’

The group hopes to have the wall hanging finished and in place in the main lounge at Blythe House by the early autumn, where an unveiling ceremony will take place.

Popping tips and loose change in collection pots at a Chapel-en-le-Frith garage has raised over £837 for local patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Rob Kenyon MOT and Servicing Centre on Bowden Hey Road has displayed yellow Blythe House collection pots in its reception area since July 2015.

During that time, the garage has raised an amazing amount of money to provide free care and services to local patients, their families and carers.

Rob Kenyon said: ‘We collect our tips, and if someone needs a new bulb or other small item for their vehicle, we give it to them for free but suggest that they put the equivalent amount as a donation in the collection pot. We’re really pleased to have raised a fantastic amount for a worthy local charity.’

To find out more about displaying a collection pot in your business or organisation, email: info@blythehouse.co.uk.

Photo (L-R): Blythe House’s Jessica McHale with Kurt Badura, Rob Kenyon and Rob Goodwin

A group of local artists is celebrating after hosting a successful open arts event, and raising £290 for Blythe House Hospicecare.

Peak Vision Arts is a new group of artists living and working around Chapel-en-le-Frith. Photographer, Lynne McPeake; 2D mixed media artist, Ingrid Katarina Karlsson; jeweller, Yuka Jourdain; ‘The Peak Potter,’ Louise Neilson; Julia Brownsword, a 3D mixed media artist, and illustrator, Elizabeth Challinor, make up the creative team.

They took part in the 13th annual Derbyshire Open Arts festival during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, showcasing and selling their work at the town’s Scout Hut.

With dedicated family and friends baking sweet treats and managing a small café during the weekend, the group raised almost £300 for Blythe House patients and carers.

Derbyshire Open Arts gives artists and crafts people the opportunity to open their studios to the public or exhibit with others in a combined venue such as a village hall or art gallery. It gives visitors an opportunity to see the breadth of art that is created in Derbyshire, to meet the creators and to purchase or commission works direct from the maker. This event showed the wealth of talent on our doorstep in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Last year, over 250 artists and craftspeople took part; selling and exhibiting work in many different venues countywide.

Find out more about Peak Vision Arts by visiting the group’s social media channels:

Photo L-R: Elizabeth, Louise, Lynne, Yuka, Ingrid and Julia with Jess McHale from Blythe House Hospicecare

The driving rain and freezing winds didn’t stop hardy golfers from enjoying a friendly competition in Buxton to raise funds for a local hospice.

Blythe House Hospicecare hosted a golf day at Buxton and High Peak Golf Club on Friday 7th June, raising £4,712. This fantastic amount will pay for 31 nights of home care for local patients at the end of their life, enabling them to stay in their comforting surroundings, with their loved ones close by.

Players came from across the High Peak including Buxton, New Mills and Chapel-en-le-Frith, alongside many who travelled further afield from Staffordshire and Yorkshire.

There were five prizes up for grabs, with competition winners James Bowm and Steve Clark from Unite the Union visiting from Stocksbridge.

Becca Gregory, events coordinator at Blythe House, said: ‘

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the local companies that sponsored golf tees, donated prizes and gave bottles for the tombola.

‘Special thanks also go to Buxton and High Peak Golf Club and its members who put so much time into making the day a success, and of course the players themselves. The weather was atrocious but that didn’t stop the resilient bunch enjoying their day, whilst helping to raise a brilliant amount of money for patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses in the High Peak and beyond.’

Find out how you can support Blythe House Hospicecare.

Feature photo: Winners James Bowm and Steve Clark accept their prize from Tim Mourne, Blythe House’s Chairman of Trustees.

A New Mills doctor is preparing for the trip of a lifetime alongside three other adventurous chaps, as they’re set to take on a 2,500 mile banger car rally across Europe.

Dr Mark Blackburn will join forces with John Gilbert, Anthony Britland and Steve Robinson to take on the amazing Rusty Rex Rallies challenge, driving across nine countries in just four days.

The men are hoping to raise £5,000 for patient care and services at Blythe House Hospicecare, and will be driving a 20-year-old ‘banger’ Hulk Mondeo which they have funded themselves, at a maximum cost of £500.

The adventure will see Mark the Medic, John ‘Chief Engineer,’ Ant ‘where the ‘ell are we?’ Navigator, and Steve ‘Driver Number One,’ start in Ostend, Belgium on Thursday 20th June.

They’ll then cross through Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Slovenia, to reach their final destination, Venice in Italy.

Dr Blackburn said: ‘The whole team has benefitted at some time from palliative support for our loved ones as they near the end of their lives.

‘For Anthony, Steve and John, their thoughts are with their cousin and sister-in-law, Lisa who died in 2012, and John’s dad who died of cancer back in 2002.

‘From my perspective, patients at both practices that I work at – Sett Valley Medical Centre in New Mills, and Hayfield’s Old Bank Surgery – support Blythe House Hospicecare because a lot of them have experienced at least one part of what Blythe House offers at some point in their life. I want to give something back through sponsorship raised from this event.’

You can find out more about the exciting adventure, and donate, by visiting the team’s Just Giving page.

A man from Longnor is putting his feet up after running more than 120 miles across Scotland in four days, and raising £600 for Blythe House.

Jonathan Kempster ran from Cape Wrath to Helmsdale, to raise vital funds for Blythe House Hospicecare after his mum Betty suffered a stroke in November 2018. Healthcare assistants from the 24/7 Hospice at Home service have been providing night time care for Betty since December.

Jonathan said: ‘Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service has been a God send to my family. Before the help, we were staying with mum for seven nights a week and it really was exhausting, both physically and mentally. Now though, the team of healthcare assistants provide care through the night from 10pm to 7am on four nights of the week, so I am able to get some respite and I know that mum is so well taken care of.’

Jonathan provided a day-by-day diary of his amazing adventure:

The beginning – Cycling from the East Coast: The two days cycling from the east coast to Durness were amazing. Big skies, blue hues, gold finches, mountain moors and skylark. We soaked it all in as we cycled west. Arrived at Durness after battling into a strong headwind. We met with our friends, Simon and Louise, and headed for a relaxing drink in a nearby cafe.

The Run – Day One: On this day I ran the first leg of the route, approximately 15 miles. We left Durness in the morning and caught the ferry and bus up to Cape Wrath, a wild and desolate place but beautiful too. Jane, Simon and Louise went for a coffee but I didn’t want to miss the ferry back to the mainland so left promptly. I waved goodbye to them at the lighthouse and then headed out over the moorland track. It was wet and windy but fine under foot. I couldn’t resist an egg butty when I got back to Durness.

Day Two: The weather was horrendous on this day. Freddie and I left Jane in Durness at 9.30am and ran along the coastal road and out south west beside Loch Eriboll. The rain drummed on the hood of my coat and wind whipped at my shoes. I hardly saw anything apart from the wet ground beneath my feet as I ran on with my head down.

Eight miles in and I stopped at a café on the shores of Loch Eriboll to get warm and meet with Jane. We stayed briefly for a warm coffee and then stepped out into the heavy rain again. The café owner said the wind was 30mph and gusting to 40mph. In the afternoon, the wind would increase.

Sixteen miles in and Freddie and I turned off onto a rough track that climbed over a low col and ran down towards Loch Hope forest. I love the mountains but I did not enjoy this. I was wet, very wet and the constant drumming of the rain and roar of the wind on my coat hood made my ears ring.

A mile past the forest, at Cashel Dhu, the track fords the river Strathmore. The river is normally 18 to 24 inches deep and fordable. This day it was very deep and more than 60 feet wide. Freddie jumped in and went under. I helped him out but then knew I could not cross this, yet I also knew of no bridge south or north of where I stood. Two hundred yards back though I had seen an isolated cottage with a Land Rrover parked outside. Perhaps the owner might know of a way across. I approached the cottage willing the owner to be there. He (Richard) was and when he saw me invited me in, out of the rain. He offered me tea and cake – splendid!

Richard confirmed there was no bridge close by but said he was about to leave and would take Freddie and I across the water in his Land Rover. The water was deep and bow waves swept over the bonnet of the vehicle. I thought we might stall but Richard was very skilled and we safely crossed. At the water’s edge Freddie and I got out. I did not want to, the Land Rover was warm and dry.

Outside, it was still raining and windy and I had another 15 miles to run. I climbed out, Freddie followed. I thanked Richard and started running. After 5 miles the rain stopped and the wind changed direction to my side. The sun broke through slightly. I was exhausted though. I had run 30 miles into strong head winds and rain and still had 10 miles to go. Gradually the remaining miles reduced and with only 5 miles to go Jane came out and met me with a flask of tea, some flapjack and biscuits for Freddie. Finally at 6.30 pm, I arrived at our nights’ accommodation. Ughh what a day!

Day Three: We left our accommodation in Altnaharra at approx. 9.45am and followed the minor road that runs beside Loch Naver. I was tired. Freddie wasn’t! My legs were heavy. Running felt an effort so I ran for a mile and fast walked for a mile for the first hour or so. Jane met me at agreed points. It was motivating to know someone was up ahead waiting.

Negotiating Naver Forest was difficult. Large areas had been felled and the way made uneven by rotten branches, tree stumps and bog. I tripped and fell on the uneven ground for two miles feeling as if I was in the ministry of funny walks. The weather on this day was kind though. No wind and dappled sunlight across the Flow Country. My eyes were drawn ever further into the depths of this remote landscape. Beauty with the beast of distance. Though tired, I felt enriched by this land. At peace, despite discomfort.

The last eight miles were hard for me. Each inch passed stubbornly, as if it would not let go to the previous one. Eventually at 3.15pm we arrived at our nights rest, Garvault House.

Day Four: I should have been running to John O Groats on this day but I was worried about the Achilles tendon in my right leg. Instead we headed 30 miles east to Helmsdale. I felt guilty about not doing the full distance but thought it wise to listen to my body. In principle the route is still a coast to coast, except the distance is 25 miles less. The rain was again heavy on this day. Mist swept over the moors and clouds darkened the sky.

The run was very picturesque though. Strath Kildonan and Strath Ullie are beautiful glens and I saw many deer and birds of prey as I ran down to the coast at Helmsdale. Jane came out to meet me on the final two miles and cycled in with me.

We celebrated the end of the run at a café with a large cup of coffee and a banoffee crepe. Our friend Louise met us at the harbour later, where I dipped my right foot in the sea to formally mark the end of a coast to coast run.

Jonathan said:

A big thank you to everyone who’s sponsored Blythe House; to Jane for all the ongoing support whilst doing the run; to Simon and Louise for all their support, including transporting my bike back from Durness and for meeting us in Helmsdale at the end of the run; to Richard Ogilvy for helping me across the Strathmoor river; to Eva and Adrian from Garvault House for their very kind donation. Finally to Freddie, for still wagging his tail even in the most horrendous of weather.

You can still donate following Jonathan’s epic adventure.

Nifty High Peak specialists with an eye for stamp or coin collections are being invited to spare some time to help support people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Blythe House Hospicecare is on the lookout for passionate local experts who might like to volunteer between four to eight hours per week to sort and price donated stamp and coin collections.

The hospice’s retail sector – including four charity shops across the High Peak, and two online eBay sites – brings in almost half of the funding needed to keep care and services free for local patients, carers and their families. The NHS provides just 21% of the hospice’s resources.

Laurence Carr (photographed above) has been voluntarily managing the hospice’s antiques and collectibles eBay account since 2008, raising more than £100,000 in that time.

He said: ‘We are on the lookout for someone, or several people, who can spare some time to help manage the stamp and coin collections that are donated to Blythe House, to help raise money for patient care.

‘The roles would involve several tasks including identifying high value stamps or coins that could be sold individually or as sets, as well as packaging up items into different groups that could be sold together, such as first day covers or presentation sets. We would also really like someone who’d be able to provide descriptions of the collections, so that other enthusiasts can easily understand what’s included.

‘At present, we have a large number of stamp albums, loose stamps, first day covers and presentation sets –so there’s a lot to get started with!’

For more information about the volunteer role, please contact communications@blythehouse.co.uk.

To find out more about volunteering in general at Blythe House Hospicecare across its retail sector, fundraising, in the local community or at the hospice, you can drop-in to speak to the team between 11am and 1pm on the second Monday of every month (upcoming dates: 8th July, 12th August.) Alternatively, you can call: 01298 815388 or email: volunteering@blythehouse.co.uk.

Gareth and Simone with Jess from Blythe House

A new author from Chapel-en-le-Frith has raised more than £140 for local patients with life-limiting illnesses, after launching her debut novel.

Simone Hubbard hosted three book launches for Under a Greek Spell at Rems Bar, selling merchandise from Blythe House Hospicecare at the events.

Simone’s husband, Martin died in 2013 after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. During his illness he used the counselling services at Blythe House.

Simone said: ‘I have always wanted to write a book and sought inspiration from a holiday I enjoyed with Martin in Cyprus. Whilst we were away, Martin had to stay at a clinic overnight as he wasn’t well. Being on my own, I noticed people a lot more and spent more time people watching; I was able to take initial ideas for the book from this.

‘The story revolves around mum, Pamela and her daughters, Stephanie and Helen. Stephanie tells a little white lie that her name is Shirley Valentine, and there are funny and memorable consequences! Writing the light romance narrative was a good distraction whilst Martin was so poorly.

‘I was delighted when Gareth Jones, the owner of Rems in Chapel, allowed me to host three book launches at the venue earlier this year. Gareth and Martin were very good friends, and Martin actually helped to design and build the bar area of Rems in 2011. The launches went really well, and guests purchased items from Blythe House raising a great amount of money for local care and services.

‘As with most special coincidences, Under a Greek Spell is set in Mykonos where Shirley Valentine was shot, and the film was released 30 years ago this year. Blythe House is also commemorating its 30th anniversary in 2019, and Martin and I would’ve been celebrating 30 years of marriage this month too.’

Find out more about Simone and Under a Greek Spell.

Learn more about how you might be able to support Blythe House Hospicecare at your own events or celebrations.

A man from Longnor is preparing to take on a mammoth challenge as he bids to run 140 miles across Scotland in just four days.

Jonathan Kempster is set to run from Cape Wrath to John O’Groats from Saturday 1st June, to raise vital funds for Blythe House Hospicecare after his mum Betty suffered a stroke in November 2018.

Healthcare assistants from the 24/7 Hospice at Home service have been providing nighttime care for Betty since December, when she was referred by the community matron.

Jonathan’s mum, Betty

Jonathan says: ‘My mum is 93 years-old and up until she was 92, she was fiercely independent; she was still driving, going shopping, looking after her home, sorting the bills and gardening. Unfortunately, the stroke left her bedbound, and she has been that way for around five months, until very recently when we were able to get her a specialist wheelchair meaning she can now get out of bed.

‘Mum has gone from being so independent, to so highly dependent on other people. I have such a huge respect and admiration for her; five months in bed would have made me go bonkers, and I probably would have become very depressed, but mum has taken it very well and she is so appreciative of all the help and care that she gets.

‘Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service has been a God send to my family and I. Before the help, we were staying with mum for seven nights a week and it really was exhausting, both physically and mentally. Now though, the team of healthcare assistants provide care through the night from 10pm to 7am on four nights of the week, so I am able to get some respite and I know that mum is so well taken care of.

‘I have done challenges in the past, including running from coast to coast on the “thin” part of Scotland, but never anything of this scale before. My partner Jane will be cycling the distance, carrying supplies including food and kit for the very long days. Freddie, our dog, will also be accompanying me as I navigate with a map and a compass across minor roads, rough tracks, footpaths and open moorland, including the wild and boggy Flow Country.

‘I wanted to do something to be able to contribute towards the amazing Hospice at Home service; the quality of care and all of the staff who’ve been involved in mum’s care are so great.’

Since the Hospice at Home service’s inception in 2016, Blythe House has provided over 30,000 hours of day and night care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, who wish to be supported in the comfort of their own home.

Find out more about Jonathan’s epic challenge and to sponsor him.

Header photo credit: Frank Golden.

Emily staffing the bake sale stall

Two sisters from Litton Mill have raised an outstanding £2,790 for local cancer patients after hosting a bake sale in memory of their mum who died in April.

Alice and Emily Lewis held the bumper baking event during the early May Bank Holiday Weekend on Litton Mill Green, alongside their friends from Bishop Pursglove CE Primary School in Tideswell, and members of the local community.

Sarah Lewis died last month, after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2010. She attended Blythe House Hospicecare in Chapel-en-le-Frith during her illness.

Alice checks on cakes in the oven

Emily, 11, said: ‘Blythe House provided my mum with support and care throughout her cancer and will continue to support me and my family as we try to come to terms with our loss.’

Alice, 8, added: ‘The whole village helped us to bake cakes for the sale, we had around 30 different types of cake in total. We had to bake extra cakes for the Sunday as we nearly ran out! Our friends from school helped us get people on the Monsal Trail to visit the stall including walkers and bike riders.’

Becka White, Fundraising and Communications Assistant at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘We were amazed to find out how much money Alice and Emily raised to help other local people like their mum. The girls came to have a look around the hospice building, to see for themselves the places that Sarah might have visited during her time at Blythe House, including our lounge, dining room and the garden. We are so very grateful to them for their incredible fundraising efforts.’

Donate to Emily and Alice’s fundraising efforts.