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.

Expert husband and wife dancers Michael and Jackie Hough marked 50 years since their first dance class in Chapel-en-le-Frith with a special anniversary celebration.

The golden afternoon tea dance saw over 130 past and present dance students come together at the town’s Methodist Church on Saturday 11th May.

The event raised a fantastic £1,705 for Blythe House Hospicecare, which will go towards providing care and services for local patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Michael said: ‘We are delighted to support such a fantastic hospice in its 30th year, whilst we are marking our 50th year dancing!’

To find out more about our services, volunteering here or fundraising for Blythe House, give us a call on 01298 815388 or e-mail: info@blythehouse.co.uk.

Photo: Jackie and Michael Hough handing over the cheque to Becka White, Fundraising and Communications Assistant, surrounded by dance students past and present!

Pupils at Buxton Community School hatched a masterplan to raise more than £630 for Blythe House Hospicecare.

Year 8 students were given £10 per tutor group and asked to generate as much profit as possible for Blythe House, as part of their inter-form Easter Enterprise challenge.

Young people from across the six tutor groups came up with as many plausible ideas as possible before narrowing them down to one key money-making scheme. Each form presented their pitches to fellow students and staff through posters, active promotion and daily endorsement, resulting in two weeks of friendly competition, bake sales, raffle tickets, chocolate hampers and five soaked students!

Jessica Lomas, Teacher of Geography and Director of Progress Year 8, said: ‘When the Easter Enterprise challenge was extended to students as part of their inter-form challenge for the half term, they were optimistic and creative.

‘Miss Haigh’s and Miss Ingham’s tutor groups, with whole-hearted support from parents, managed to pull off two bake sales; staff and students alike were in their element. Miss Barker’s form created a luxurious chocolate hamper; Mr Wentworth’s form stuck solidly to the Easter theme with an Easter raffle. The final week of term was rounded off nicely with Mrs Scholes’ “soak a student,” which was kindly and very enthusiastically attended by many staff and students.

‘Mr Warhurst’s tutor group reigned victorious with its array of cake and sweet stalls, and a car wash for good measure, which raised an astounding £200.’

Ruth Brown and Becka White from Blythe House Hospicecare went along to a school assembly on Thursday 9th May to thank students for their amazing support and to explain more about how the money raised will go towards supporting local patients with cancer and life-limiting illnesses, as well as their families and carers. They also received a cheque for £632 from some students in Mr Warhurst’s winning form.

Find out more about how you could get involved in fundraising for Blythe House Hospicecare.

Photo (L-R): Becka White, Fundraising and Communications Assistant at Blythe House; students, Lily Marsden, Pheobe Craufurd-Stuart, Marissa Jackson; Ruth Brown, Blythe House’s Hospice at Home Manager; Jason Warhurst, IT and Computer Science teacher.

Throughout June, Cooper Sons Hartley & Williams, Buxton will be providing a Will writing service in return for their fee being donated to Blythe House Hospicecare.

Ann’s grandson, Oliver, was just five-years-old when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Following 10 months of intensive chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, treatment for a collapsed lung and total body radiotherapy, Oliver sadly died leaving behind his two-year-old little brother, Finley.

Ann says: ‘Finley struggled, especially in groups of children, and that’s where Blythe House Hospice came in. When Fin started school, he had counselling through Blythe House; it was absolutely amazing. He has very fond memories of Blythe, because it helped him.’

Finley and Oliver

Ann continues: ‘I was then diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma, its incurable, but it’s treatable. I didn’t feel the sheer utter terror I felt when Oliver was diagnosed, with me it was just let’s get on, let’s deal with this. If a little five-year-old boy can go through it, you bet his 62 year old grandma can!

Debbie, a very good friend of Ann’s, inspired her to get support from the Living Well Service at Blythe House: ‘She encouraged me for a good few weeks, and said “Ann you need to go to Blythe!” I wasn’t depressed… yeah, I might be frightened sometimes but I don’t suffer with low spirit, but it’s the best thing she could have done for me, I will always thank her for it. Straight away, calmness came into my life, and it does what it says on the tin, it’s a living well service, you couldn’t have a better phrase. At Blythe I have learnt coping strategies, how to deal with the lows and then how to raise up with the highs.’

The main things Ann gets out of coming to Blythe House are friendship, a lot of support and the ability to talk honestly in the group: ‘You can see everyone at Blythe working as individuals and also as a team. Everybody is so lovely, and I am hooked on reiki, it’s the best medicine. Carol, the practitioner is very special. She definitely has healing hands. Frieda, my key worker, has gone over and above for me since I started coming to Blythe House.

Ann says:

Having an up-to-date will is the only way you can protect your family and loved ones. By making a donation to Blythe House in lieu of legal fees you will have the rewarding knowledge that you are supporting and helping to protect, for the future, such an important and invaluable local charity. You will make a real difference to individuals and families like mine who can benefit from the wonderful compassionate care offered by the amazing team at Blythe House.

To book an appointment to make your Will, call Cooper Sons Hartley & Williams on 01298 77511 quoting Blythe House Hospicecare.

See the Wills Month poster for all the details – click here.

Meet the team – Ruth Brown, Hospice at Home Manager

Since the Hospice at Home service’s inception in 2016, we have supported more than 300 people to die at home with their families and friends by their side. Our professional and compassionate healthcare assistants have delivered over 30,000 hours of day and night care.

Ruth Brown, Hospice at Home Manager, explains more about its initial set-up and how important the service is, in our rural community where home-based end of life care is so very much needed.

I have held the position of Hospice at Home Manager for over three years. My previous nursing background was firstly as a community healthcare assistant, then as a qualified nurse, district nurse and finally Community Matron, all with the NHS and predominantly within the community setting.

It was important to me to conclude my career using as many of my skills and attributes as possible, with my passion for good end-of-life care. My niece saw the advert for my current post and rang me to say that she had found me my perfect job, she knows me so well. I was overjoyed when successful; I believe Janet’s (Dunphy, CEO) ears are still ringing from my screams when offered the job!

A Hospice at Home service had been a dream for Blythe House Hospice following the legacy left by Stan Blythe 30 years ago. Reverend Betty Packham, the founder of the hospice, saw the beds in people’s homes as a solution to delivering quality end-of-life care in our community. We have brought dying back into people’s homes and into the community where it belongs, and for many patients where there is an expected death, a reduced likelihood of being hospitalised and their death medicalised. We enable many patients to come home from hospital or other inpatient units, to die at home if that is their choice.

In my previous roles, end-of-life care was my specialism; I worked with motivated professionals where values were shared and together we provided outstanding care. I believed that I could re-create a similar culture and philosophy here at Blythe House Hospicecare, and Janet shared my enthusiasm and passion for good end-of-life care. We made an instant connection in parallel-thinking and goal setting, a great deal of ground work had been done before I began; it was down to me to develop a team, build a service with high standards of care delivery and to promote our service in as many settings as possible, to imbed timely referral to our new service from GP practices, district nursing teams, hospitals and hospices.

If I am honest, I wasn’t sure how quickly we might grow and those first couple of weeks we held our breath but referrals came in, slowly at first but then more rapidly. We have now accepted 410 referral s and have recorded 303 deaths with 92% achieving death in their preferred place. We currently have 30 patients receiving care.

I must pay tribute to my colleagues Sam Hanley [Hospice at Home Co-ordinator] and Kathy Ashby [Hospice at Home Assistant], and the wonderful team of healthcare assistants who deliver this high quality service. They are respected and supported; in recent conversations they repeatedly talk of their love for the service and their privileged position. They appreciate the training and supervision we deliver to ensure we are a specialist service with gold standard outcomes.

We continually evaluate the service and receive wonderful comments from our patient’s families and friends.

It has been an amazing three years and the success of the service could only have been a dream in the beginning. I am very proud of what we have achieved together and can’t wait for the next stage of the journey in the hope of reaching every patient in the last year of life across the High Peak, and beyond that, to share and imbed our model of care across the county of Derbyshire.

Our huge thanks go to Spa Town Ladies Darts ‘n’ Doms team, and the Spa Town Rock ‘n’ Rollers group after they’ve collectively raised £1,000 for Blythe House Hospicecare.

Blythe House trustee, Mike Hardman met with both groups to receive respective cheques of £700 from the Darts ‘n’ Doms ladies, and £300 from the Rock ‘n’ Rollers.

Mike Hardman with Alan Wildgoose, Alan Mycock and Trevor Lowton

The Rock ‘n’ Rollers held a raffle to raise the money, at a farewell part for Trevor Lowton who after 15 years of running the group has decided to hang up his ‘Blue Suede Shoes ‘ and retire.

Rock ‘n’ Roll nights are held on first Friday of the month at Buxton Working Men’s Club where live groups or solo artists sing and play music from the 1950s and 60s. Everyone is welcome; non-member admission is £2, payable on the door.

To find out more about Blythe House Hospicecare services, volunteering or fundraising contact us via:
Phone: 01298 815388.
E-mail: info@blythehouse.co.uk

Our comprehensive training programme is giving High Peak residents skills and knowledge to support local patients in the comfort of their own homes.

We are continuing to recruit community volunteers, to offer practical and emotional support and companionship, including providing breaks for family members or carers, and helping with simple household tasks.

The next volunteer training programme is set to begin on Thursday 2nd May, facilitated by experienced Blythe House clinicians and counsellors, covering topics including volunteering in the home setting, confidentiality, safeguarding adults and children, loss awareness, bereavement, boundaries and self-care.

Victoria Wild, Community Volunteer project manager, says: ‘The aim is for our volunteers to bring their own skills, experience and talents to the role, as well as their willingness to help and support our patients and carers in their own homes. We provide training to educate the team on the services that we offer to our community, and at the same time build their confidence and assure them that they go into the home supported fully by the Blythe House team.’

There are currently 15 volunteers who are trained to support patients residing at home, along with their carers and families. Andrew Foreshew-Cain completed the community volunteer training in March and said: ‘I heard a lot of positive things about Blythe House and its work in the local community, and when I met people there, I found a place with a generosity of spirit and heart that was attractive, and which I wanted to be a part of.

‘The training gives a fascinating insight into the work that Blythe House does with people suffering with life-limiting illnesses, as well as their family and friends. The programme is both comprehensive and enjoyable, covering different aspects of working alongside the hospice’s clinical teams, and in the homes of families at some of the most challenging moments of anyone’s lives.’

Margaret Charlton added: ‘I have always liked to do something useful in the community in my spare time and when I moved to the Peak District seven years ago, everyone suggested I go and volunteer some time at Blythe House. From the moment I stepped inside, I knew how welcoming and friendly it was, and how immensely satisfying volunteering here would be. I just wanted to do my bit to help in whatever small way I could, and with volunteering, you always get back more than you give.

‘The community volunteer programme is an opportunity to spread Blythe House’s caring ethos out into our local community; the training has been so mind-opening and confidence inspiring, we have all learnt so much that we can apply in our everyday lives, as well as supporting local patients and families.’

Find out more about becoming a Blythe House community volunteer by: