"She was our guardian angel
at the worst time of our lives.”
Sharon, Hayley, Summer and Sonny speaks to Sue Crawford
As a Macmillan Palliative Care Social Worker at the hospice, Wendy Ashton’s mission is to make sure patients get a good quality of life – for however long. Below, a family who Wendy supported explains the value of her role at Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw.
Sharon, Hayley, Summer and Sonny explained,
“The impact Wendy made on us - not just our late father but myself, sister and our extended family were truly amazing. She was our guardian angel at the worst time of our lives.
“Before Wendy’s involvement, our father was not receiving the full care and support he needed. My sister and I had reached breaking point and felt unsure of the way to go with his care. Our GP, who works alongside Wendy, knew she was the only one who would be able to help. She was our light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
“Wendy was able to give our father the full support he needed and helped us in looking after ourselves and families alongside caring for our father. She was able to organise respite at Eden Valley Hospice. This was an amazing opportunity for our father as before this he was subjected to laying in his house and looking at four walls from the results of his ill health. This little thing made a huge difference to our father’s last year, as once an active man, he was again able to socialise with new people who were going through a similar experience to him.”
In late 2018 Wendy’s impact as Hospice Social Worker was recognised on a national level as she was awarded the Gold Award in the Making a Difference Category at the Social Worker of the Year Awards.
With a deep passion for caring for people and their families coping with life-limiting illnesses, Wendy’s determination to guide them through the process with knowledge and dedication have made her a shining beacon for palliative care nationally.
“When it comes to timescales, sometimes they can be very short, so it is important we are positive. It might only be for a couple of days, but the quality of that time is so important.
“I work as part of the Family Support Team and together we try to make a difference to people’s lives by offering social, emotional, spiritual and psychological support. Life can be short, but we support patients to live it to the full.”
Along with receiving the Making a Difference Award in London last year, Wendy is representing Eden Valley Hospice, Jigsaw and the UK at the European Association of Palliative Care Conference in Berlin in May this year. At the event, Wendy will be presenting her Creative Frames Project which help to promote the ethos of self-worth, by creating legacy frames containing special achievements, memories and much more.
Christmas Jumpers raise thousands
for local Hospice
The clicking of needles for novelty jumpers may be last season, but already hardy fundraisers are putting their heads together to boost the coffers of Carlisle’s Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice for the coming year.
While Christmas jumper work has been packed away for now, a new campaign of events is being launched to bring in much-needed funding for the Durdar Road unit.
Silly jumpers at Christmas are one of the mainstays of the hospice’s Festive programme with dozens of schools, nurseries, businesses and local authorities taking part over the past two years to raise more than £7,500.
Natalie Bingham is the Corporate Relationship Co-ordinator at the hospice. She said: “Initially people paid £2 to wear their Christmas jumper. Now this has snowballed into a big Christmas event with lots of different ideas! Christmas themed bake sales, raffles and many businesses often tie it in to their last day of work or their Christmas Party day.
“We have so much support across the city, as I think people like to support local. Cumbria County Council have raised £600 across two years.
“It encourages a bit of banter in the office with people also trying to outdo each other! We also encourage people in our day care unit and at Jigsaw to take part.”
Natalie’s colleague, Sam Johnston’s work as Community and Events Fundraiser at the hospice, means he is also involved in the Christmas Jumper Day with planning starting soon after Halloween.
“It can go a bit quiet after our big Light up a Life event at Carlisle Cathedral in December, so it is good to get people together in mid-December to enjoy the fun of the Christmas jumper event,” he said.
Also, at Christmas is the 5k Santa Dash organised by Sport in Action, Carlisle Tri Club and DH Runners to raise money for Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw.
Sam said: “Our fundraising events are a big part of the hospice particularly around Christmas. We have been doing the Santa Dash for the past three years on the second weekend in December with more than 800 people taking part. We made more than £9,000 this year alone”
Major fundraising events in the planning this year include:
Colour Run at Carlisle Racecourse on May 12.
Laps for Loved Ones at Talkin Tarn on July 14.
Morecambe Bay Walk on September 8.
Great North Run half marathon on September 8 in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
London to Paris Cycle Ride starting on September 25 and ending on September 29.
Contact Sam Johnston on 01228 817656, firstname.lastname@example.org for information on all these events.
Also, this year the Yomp Mountain Challenge hosted by the Rotary Upper Eden Rotary Club on June 2 will see with proceeds going to Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Children’s Hospice. Starting a Kirkby Stephen, it involves a range of distances with the Full Yomp totalling 23 miles and a 4,000ft height gain.
Deadline for entries is May 30. For more information contact email@example.com or go to the website http://www.yomp.org
Sue Crawford reports
Laps for Loved ones returns in 2019
Each year they come in their droves. With memories to share, picnics to enjoy and a fair smattering of fun and laughter.
Walkers of all ages gather at the north Cumbrian beauty spot of Talkin Tarn near Brampton for the annual Laps for Loved Ones charity trek to raise thousands of pounds for Eden Valley Hospice.
This year preparations are already well underway for the walk on Sunday 14 July which is being led by the usual dedicated team of Carol Sharman and Rachael Little, both healthcare assistants on the adult unit at the Eden Valley Hospice in Durdar Road, Carlisle.
Carol and Rachael are hoping for good weather but while sunshine is never a given, the dedication of these two women is a constant. With cajoling and hard work, the pair are the motivation behind Laps for Loved Ones making it one of the premier events in North Cumbria’s fundraising calendar.
The event is now in its third year having collected a staggering £5,355 in 2017 and £3,418 last year; a total of £8,773 since it started.
Sam Johnston, Community and Events Fundraiser at the Eden Valley Hospice, said the event also raised the profile of the unit providing the opportunity for fundraising stalls along the way for small businesses.
“It is an inspirational day. People can walk as far as they want or are able,” he said. Carol explained they are committed to taking part in the challenge because of what it means to everyone involved in the hospice.
“We collect money but it is not just all about the funding, “she said. “It is about giving something back to the people we have nursed and their families.
“We get tremendous support from everyone. Families, patients, friends. People join in on the day at Talkin Tarn. They walk their dogs putting money in collection boxes. Last year we even had a ferret on a lead for half the course. We also get support from Tesco and Santander Bank.”
The determined pair provide care, support and activities for those with life-limiting illnesses at the hospice.
"For all the families we have nursed and people we have hugged and had hours of special talks and tears with, we thought we would do something to help to continue the very special care and companionship that every one of these families need.
"In 2017 we decided to do 20 times around Talkin Tarn which meant we walked 25 miles to celebrate 25 years of the Hospice. Since then we complete a more manageable 10 laps. I don't think we could do a marathon again!"
Eden Valley Hospice costs nearly £4m a year to run, with less than 25% coming from NHS funding meaning support from the community is vital.
The Hospice provides services including an adult in-patient unit, adult day hospice, out-patient clinics, complementary therapies and carers support.
"All services are provided by highly qualified staff and a large team of committed volunteers.
"We recognise that it is only through the generosity of local people that we are able to continue to provide the highest standard of care, free of charge to our patients and their families."
There is no registration fee for Laps for Loved Ones, just take part and help raise vital funds for Eden Valley Hospice.
With a wag of his tail and the gentlest of nuzzles, ‘Jigsaw Junior’
the cocker spaniel is bringing a smile to the faces of poorly children and young people.
Junior is a regular visitor at Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice, with his owner Jacqui Clapperton much to the delight of patients, staff and visitors at the centre in Durdar Road, Carlisle and its sister Eden Valley Hospice.
“Once I put his work jacket on him, he seems to understand and does an amazing job in Jigsaw,” said Jacqui.
Junior is a registered Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog who has gone through an assessment to confirm his suitability for the role. His temperament, patience and willingness to be cuddled a lot is the most important quality for the role of a PAT dog. He even has his own Instagram page, allowing his experiences to be shared.
Jacqui bought Junior seven years ago to help with the grief of losing her father and sister within two months of each other. She had sadly lost her mum four years earlier. She said: “Junior has helped myself and my family through some very sad times, he has helped us to create some happy memories, this was my inspiration for him becoming a PAT dog.
“He is perfect for the role and I’m sure he will help to create some happy memories with everyone in Jigsaw and Eden Valley Hospice.’’
Jacqui is an activities co-ordinator within Jigsaw and takes Junior into the hospice two or three times a week and on occasions visiting the adult unit.
“Some of our children and young adults have limited mobility, Junior is happy to sit beside them and allow them to stroke him and even brush his ears,” she added.
“He has been known to play hide and seek with some of our younger children! For those who have dogs at home, Junior brings some normality to their stay at the hospice.”
Staff at the hospice, on Durdar Road, have been impressed with Junior.
And they say the impact his visits have on the youngsters he meets - and their families - cannot be underestimated.
Rachael Kegg, Jigsaw team leader, said: “He’s so very well behaved and gentle.
“The children and young people get so excited to see him – it really is a special treat.
“He adds fun to the day and seems to improve mood and reduce anxiety in the children and young people.
“They love to stroke his golden coat and cuddle into him and provides comfort just by being present, which enhances emotional wellbeing.’’
Jigsaw is Cumbria’s only children’s hospice providing support to children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.