The length of Britain – on a bike

Great Scot – Meet the Hospice supporter who is gearing up for a near-1,000 mile cycle journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Kevin Scot, a teacher at Hereford Cathedral School, will set off in the summer holidays next month and hopes to reach the northern tip of Scotland within 12 days, with his family acting as support crew.

‘I’ve done the St Michael’s Hospice Wheelie Big Cycle for a number of years,’ he says.

‘I’ve always had an affinity with the Hospice movement. Years ago, when I lived near Blackpool I was part of a choir and we went to sing in a Hospice in Fylde. This was before the work of Hospices was widely known, and I found it a profoundly moving experience.’

Kevin can be sponsored by clicking here

Kate’s story: One Hospice supporter opens her heart and gardens for St Michael’s

Living amongst the lush, inviting Herefordshire countryside it is perhaps unsurprising to develop a love for the outdoors.

For Kate Edwards though, a stroll through the bucolic landscape holds much more value than just breathing in fresh air for an hour or two.

‘I walk five miles a day,’ she says. ‘I believe it keeps me alive. Aside from the physical side, it helps my brain to focus.’

Kate, 61, had always been fit and active but she faced a huge barrier to this five years ago following a grim discovery.

‘One morning in 2014, I got up at 6am and discovered blood in my pee. I rang the doctors and was told it was probably a urinary infection but I didn’t believe this for a second and said I wanted a scan.’

That scan showed the presence of cancer in her ureter. Not knowing when treatment could start, Kate arranged to go under the knife privately and, just 10 days later, was operated on in London.

The experience enhanced her steely determination to speak out when something doesn’t seem right.

‘If you know something is not right, it’s up to you to do what you think is right for you,’ says Kate.

‘I know many haven’t got the option to go down the route I did and pay for it, but I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t challenged things.

‘Yes, I’ve lost a kidney, but I’ve been cancer-free for four-and-a-half years now, and hopefully that’ll be the case for many years to come.

‘My goal was to get back to walking my five miles, and I did that in just six weeks.’

Kate’s clean bill of health means she can enjoy her stunning home at Grendon Court, near Upton Bishop, even more, alongside husband Mark and the couple’s two dogs.

The house was owned by Mark’s parents who bought it in the 1980s before Mark and Kate took it on.

‘We effectively ripped everything out and started again,’ said Kate. ‘It was a two-year project.’

The Georgian property has parts dating back to the 15th Century and boasts a 30-acre estate with two acres of gardens. Terracing and landscaping were undertaken close to the entrance, with borders added.

All this work was overseen by garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith.

‘Two completely separate people recommended him to me,’ added Kate.

‘So, we met and we were in tune straight away. Everything I wanted to do, he said ‘Yes, that can happen’. All the things I didn’t like, he didn’t like either.’

She describes the garden as ‘quite masculine’ with robust colours.

It’s packed with prairie grasses, around 2,000 in one area as the couple wanted to replicate the paddy field-style feel they experienced while living in Asia for many years.

‘When there’s lots of people here, the garden is wonderful and a great place to relax.

‘I know I have the enormous privilege of having a garden designed by a legend and my job is to keep it this way. I’m just the custodian of it; the next person would probably want it completely different.

‘But the garden is a reflection of us. It’s an extension of who you are.’

Kate is opening Grendon Court on Wednesday 18th September as part of A Day of Gardens, Delicious Lunch and Poetry which will be staged across three Herefordshire venues.

Visitors will begin the day by exploring The Laskett Gardens in Much Birch, owned by Sir Roy Strong.

They will then make their way to Grendon Court for an exquisite lunch, plus poetry recitals from Sir Roy and Alex James, before heading for Brockhampton Cottage to enjoy unspoilt views from the hilltop garden owned by Peter Clay. 

‘Sir Roy Strong’s garden is wonderful. Its design is the antithesis of this garden though,’ said Kate.

‘Peter has a fantastic garden too. His is not so much about borders, it’s about the greater landscape as well. It really has the wow factor.

‘He’s a dear friend too.’

The event is being organised by St Michael’s Hospice and is their final Open Gardens date of the season.

The Bartestree-based charity is a fitting one for Kate to support.

While in the doctors’ waiting room around the time of her cancer diagnosis, she happened to pick up a copy of the Hospice’s twice-yearly publication, Messenger.

‘I read it and thought, ‘I’d like to raise money for them’.

‘It’s such a modern, beautiful environment. I think, should I ever be faced with the decision, that I would choose to go into a place like that.’

Tickets to A Day of Gardens, Delicious Lunch and Poetry can be bought by visiting st-michaels-hospice.org.uk

Hospice garden to benefit from business collaboration

A group of businesses based in and around Cheltenham have come together to organise a summer fundraising evening for a hospice having been so impressed by a visit there.

Lexus Cheltenham, Women’s Business Club, Martin & Co jewellers, Three Choirs Vineyard and Bodega are behind the Lexus Ladies Summer Soiree on Thursday 20th June which will raise funds for the garden area at St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford which provides a peaceful retreat for patients and their loved ones.

This week, St Michael’s Community Fundraising Manager Paddy Nugent was presented with £1,750 from the Lexus Fund which is designed for community projects, as plans are stepped up for the event which takes place at Manor by the Lake, Cheltenham.

The Hospice celebrates its 35th birthday this year.

‘We were so impressed with the facility and dedication of Paddy and his volunteers that we felt compelled to organise an event to raise more funds for the Hospice, in particular its gardens,’ said Catherine Kirk, Listers’ Brand Ambassador at Lexus Cheltenham. 

‘This is a wonderful community project that brings together volunteers and local business for such a worthwhile and deserving cause, all in the year the Hospice celebrates its 35th anniversary.’

The evening, which is open to men as well as ladies, will feature fashion, jewels, luxury cars and fine wines.

Proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle will go to St Michael’s.

For tickets, click this link  http://womensbusiness.club/soiree

Hospice benefactors look forward to opening their gardens for St Michael’s

‘You can’t take your wealth with you, so we came to the conclusion that we’d give it away.’

They’re not words you hear very often, particularly in these austere financial times.

But for Clive Richards, one of Herefordshire’s most wealthy and generous residents, he means every bit of it.

Clive and his wife Sylvia have given away millions of pounds to good causes for the past three decades, and have no intention of slowing down.

‘We just try to help people, particularly those who can’t help themselves,’ said Clive, who was awarded an OBE for charity in the Millennium Honours List and was made a Papal Knight by Pope Francis last year.

‘Once you’ve made a certain amount of money, you can only spend so much.

‘I’ve had a hell of a good life and been able to do what I want. But you can’t take it with you, so we came to the conclusion that we would give our wealth away.’

In 2016 this generosity included a £1million donation to St Michael’s Hospice, enabling the charity to complete its 20-bed Inpatient wing in Bartestree, increasing the palliative care offering to the people of Herefordshire and beyond to a level never before reached.

‘Five of our employees have died at St Michael’s,’ added Clive.

‘The Hospice is probably the favourite charity in Herefordshire; so many people have been touched by it.’

Born and brought up in the Black Country, Clive’s mum and dad used to visit Herefordshire regularly, with Clive enjoying fruit picking while here.

His working life was largely spent in London’s financial district, building up, floating and selling several PLCs, and later becoming High Sheriff of Greater London.

But on occasion his work brought him back to Herefordshire, reaffirming his love for the area.

After deciding to move here in the mid 1980s, the couple set-up the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity which gives away around £1.5 million a year.

They help schools and other educational establishments, plus healthcare, heritage and arts-based causes within 100 miles of Hereford.

With such a busy diary, finding spare time can be tricky but when they do, Clive and Sylvia enjoy their beautiful Lower Hope home in Ullingswick, a charming estate featuring a haven of wildflowers and woodlands, orchards and herb gardens.

‘I think of it as a hobby which has got out of hand,’ said Clive.

‘But it’s a top garden. I just love it.’

Thanks to the couple’s hospitality they are opening the grounds and gardens next month as part of the St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens programme.

‘I’m sure people will enjoy visiting,’ said Clive. ‘It means a lot to welcome people here, and to support St Michael’s at the same time.’

  • Lower Hope will be open to the public as part of the St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens programme on Sunday, 16th June from 2-5pm. For more details visit st-michaels-hospice.org.uk

Sibling cricket rivalry to resume

A sporting rivalry between two brothers continues later this month when the sons of a cricket-mad Hereford man make their way to the middle for a seventh meeting of his favourite game.

Adam and Rob Matravers have captained a cricket side featuring their friends each year since 2012, bar 2017.

The matches are in memory of their father, Richard Matravers, who lived in the Tupsley area of Hereford and died at St Michael’s Hospice in 2001.

His sons had always talked about raising funds for their Hospice and in 2012 they brought their friends together to form two sides to battle it out for the Richard Matravers Memorial Charity Cricket Match.

The matches are delicately poised at 3-3 having been staged at various venues across the county, with this year’s being held at the Wyeside ground off Broomy Hill in Hereford on Sunday, 30th June.

The series took a brief hiatus in 2017 when the brothers’ mum, Mim, died, also at St Michael’s.

‘Each year, Adam and I look forward to these matches,’ said Rob.

‘It’s great fun to meet up with friends and play a game we love, safe in the knowledge we are raising money for a great cause.

‘St Michael’s will always hold a special place in our hearts. They looked after our dad and latterly our mum so well. But they’ve also looked after us, too.’

To date the matches have raised almost £6,500 for St Michael’s Hospice.

This year’s game will be followed by a raffle and auction with all proceeds to St Michael’s.

Entrance is free, with a start time of 1pm.

Father’s Day sports auction

With Father’s Day nearing, we have some gift ideas right up the street of a sports-mad dad.

Our friends at Brightwells Fine Art Auctioneers have launched this online auction of various memorabilia, which you can bid on until 7pm on Monday, 10th June.

Items include a signed and framed Pele shirt (donated by Derrick Murphy who is pictured second right with the shirt and other auction items he’s donated), a Lexus Luxury Car for the weekend, and a Hereford FC Premier Package season ticket for the 2019/20 season.

Place your bids here https://bit.ly/2HBlCzT

All proceeds to St Michael’s.

Horticultural royalty backs Hospice Flower Festival

As this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show ends, closer to home a talented team of Hospice supporters is preparing for a spectacular flower festival to mark 35 years of St Michael’s Hospice.

Over the past decade, Carola Kean, Stephen Rabbitts, Jacqueline Flack and Joan Davies have staged two hugely successful festivals for the Hospice, and are now reuniting once again to stage A Floral Gallery of Transformation and Peace.

The three-day flower festival takes place at Lyde Arundel near Hereford from 13th – 15th September and has already received the backing of one of the country’s top horticultural experts.

‘I’m delighted to be part of St Michael’s Hospice 35th Anniversary by opening the 2019 Flower Festival at Lyde Arundel,’ said Monty Don, best known for presenting popular BBC series Gardeners’ World.

‘This year’s theme is Transformation and Peace and I know the Flower Festival team will do all they can to put on a truly spectacular event which will help raise much-needed funds for St Michael’s.’

More than 40 arrangers and groups from across Herefordshire and adjoining counties are supporting the event.

The festival will not only touch the heart of all its visitors, giving them the opportunity to remember loved ones, but it will also be an enjoyable event, which will include a Preview Evening and Floral Entertainment Evening.  

‘It’s not easy to show your appreciation for the support that surrounds you when you lose a loved one, but Transformation and Peace is my way of helping St Michael’s to continue supporting families for the next 35 years,’ said Carola, who is one of Herefordshire’s most loved and admired floral designers.

Stephen Rabbitts began his Hospice career in 1984, the year the Hospice opened in Bartestree and, after retiring in 2018, has continued to volunteer for St Michael’s. Transformation and Peace will combine his exceptional artistic talent with his love of the Hospice. ’I want St Michael’s to be able to continue giving the privacy and dignity people deserve,’ he said. ‘I have seen enormous growth in Hospice services and I want this festival to help St Michael’s provide all the different types of care, support and therapeutic activities that people need when affected by a terminal illness.’

For more information, visit st-michaels-hospice.org.uk or contact Paddy Nugent on 01432 852 641, or email pnugent@smhospicehereford.org

Photo: Marsha Arnold

Jules’ birthday bash helps Hospice

Since 1993, Jules Barnes has been celebrating her milestone anniversaries by inviting friends to a big fundraising party celebration. Over the years all the money raised from tickets and raffle sales has been donated to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford.

Jules fundraisers have celebrated her 50th, 60th and 65th birthdays and even her wedding day. After the success of last years 65th celebrations at The Plough Inn, Overross which raised £1,217 Jules didn’t want to wait another five years, so on Saturday 11th May Jules held her 66th birthday party at the King Charles II pub in Ross-on-Wye.

With help from her partner Frankie Griffiths, the couple booked local band, Wolves and Renegades, and sold over 200 tickets. Local shops donated raffle prizes, and along with donations the evening of fun and laughter looks set to raise over £1,300 for St Michael’s Hospice.

Jules said: ‘It’s becoming a great tradition. I have known people who have died at St Michael’s Hospice and each time the care has been exemplary. After taking a tour of the Hospice in Bartestree, I saw for myself why people have such high praise for everything the Hospice does. I am delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile charity and would like to thank all the people who turned out to support us.

Chris Smart, St Michael’s Communications Manager, said: ‘We are very grateful to Jules and everyone who made the evening such a success. We look forward to her celebrating many more birthdays.’

Photo: Jules Barnes and Frankie Griffiths

Sports shop chain bags thousands for charity

A sports shop chain has bagged St Michael’s Hospice thousands of pounds thanks to a generous fundraising idea.

Clubsport is exempt from charging customers for its carrier bags but does so anyway, with all the money being donated to the Hospice and the Hereford-based Little Princess Trust.

The firm’s Managing Director Simon Hussey this week handed over £3,111 to each charity, collected during the past year, taking the total raised for St Michael’s to around £8,000 since the idea launched on 2016.   

Mr Hussey has a close connection to the Hospice, and says customers are more than happy to donate.

‘People are so generous,’ he said. ‘Some of our customers have even given us £1 for a bag after hearing we were giving the money to the Hospice.

Clubsport has seven stores across Herefordshire and mid-Wales having been set-up by Mr Hussey, with the carrier bag donations being boosted after he extended the idea to other retail businesses that Clubsport partners across the UK.

‘To raise this much money from the sale of 5p carrier bags is just astonishing,’ said Paul Broome from St Michael’s Hospice.

‘It’s also heart-warming to hear that so many customers are happy to part with the money, often giving much more than 5p as they know it’s going to St Michael’s.

‘So, thank you to Simon, everyone at Clubsport and their very generous customers for supporting us in this way.’

The Little Princess Trust, where the other £3,111 is going, provides real hair wigs to children and young adults experiencing hair loss, as well as funding research into childhood cancer.

Pictured is (from left) Paul Broome from St Michael’s Hospice, Becky Hammond from Clubsport, and Clubsport’s Managing Director, Simon Hussey

Fun in the sun as RUN Hereford attracts almost 1,000 runners

For RUN Hereford results, click here

Almost 1,000 runners of all ages and abilities made the most of a glorious sunny Sunday to raise tens of thousands of pounds for St Michael’s Hospice.

Fundraisers from Herefordshire and much further afield had their choice of a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K routes during RUN Hereford.

The Half Marathon was won by Phillip Matthews in a time of one hour, 11 minutes, with Charlie Jones (33 mins, 44 secs) winning the 10K and Matthew Brunnock taking first place in the 5K in a time of 18 mins, 7 secs.

All three routes were slightly amended this year as the event was held at Hereford Livestock Market off Roman Road; a change from its usual home at Hereford Leisure Centre.

‘Thank you to each and every person who helped make this year’s RUN Hereford so successful. We’ve received some wonderful feedback,’ said the Hospice’s Events Manager, Matt Ashcroft.

‘When we plan these events, we always keep our fingers crossed the weather plays its part, and we’re so grateful it did on Sunday.

‘Special praise should be reserved for our marvellous band of volunteers. Without them, the event simply wouldn’t have been possible.

‘We are also grateful as always to our sponsors, Western Power Distribution, and for the help of the Herefordshire 4×4 Response team.’

The Hospice Events programme continues on Saturday 15th June with The Paint Runner and Foam Zone on the King George Playing Fields in Hereford, followed by the Sue Parry football tournament at Hereford Leisure Centre on Sunday, 30th June, before returning to the Livestock Market for RIDE Hereford on Sunday, 14th July.

For more information on St Michael’s Hospice Events, click here st-michaels-hospice.org.uk/events