Avengers screening at St Michael’s

For Avengers: Endgame, Georgian Smith (better known as George), was unable to join her family for their tradition of visiting the cinema to watch the latest instalment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During her break, our kind-hearted Health Care Assistant Poppy Morgan, set out on a mission to bring the big screen to George.
With a little help from other staff, St Michael’s made contact with Disney and arrangements were put in place for a Marvel team member to visit the Hospice.
Poppy’s efforts paid off. 
George, who watched the film yesterday, with her daughter Kirsty, said, ‘It was perfect, probably the most beautiful thing anyone has done for me in a long time. It’s wonderful to know how far people went to make what I thought impossible, possible. 
‘The film was fantastic, especially for me as a terminally ill patient. It’s about loss and the love that exists between friends and family when there is little hope left. it’s something my daughters and I can very much relate too. I think that is where the tears came from.’
George and St Michel’s would like to say a blockbuster thank you to Lucas Films, Disney and Marvel for their help in making this extraordinary screening happen.
Photos: Poppy Morgan, Goerge Smith and Kirsty Smith.

Liverpool 5 – Huddersfield 0

Andrew Watkins made the 124-mile trip last Friday with his 11-year-old daughter Evie, to witness his side thrash Huddersfield 5-0 to maintain their push for a first League title since 1990.

St Michael’s Hospice Doctor Clare Scotcher said, ‘Part of the philosophy of care at St Michael’s is to improve people’s quality of life and it’s wonderful that this approach gave Andrew the confidence to arrange a such a big trip.’

Given Andrew’s poor health, St Michael’s nurse Stella Nixon even volunteered to accompany the family on her day off to ensure Andrew’s medical needs were seen to.

Andrew, a keen cricketer, who was captain of leading Herefordshire side Brockhampton said, ‘It was a wonderful night. I was over the moon. I can’t thank St Michael’s enough for helping to make it happen and I think Evie will remember Stella’s act of kindness and compassion for the rest of her life.’

Andrew’s partner, Kim, said ‘When Andrew first came to St Michael’s I never thought he would be able to do something like this. It has meant so much to Andrew to have seen Liverpool play, with Evie by his side.

The match tickets were secured by Andrew’s brother, James, who works for the Football Association and went to the game with his brother, niece and Stella.

Important RUN Hereford News

This year, the RUN Hereford event on 12th May will now start and finish at The Livestock Centre, Roman Road, Hereford HR4 7AN.

This trial change of venue will allow the event to take place unhindered by the ongoing road works on Grandstand Road in Hereford.

The Marathon and Half Marathon will retain much of the original course and benefit from around 6 miles of full road closures around the Burghill and Tillington area.

The 10K is a brand new route and the 5K will take place on the fully closed Roman Road.

You’ll find maps of the new routes below:

Marathon – https://www.strava.com/routes/17953976

Half Marathon – https://www.strava.com/routes/17953723

10K – https://www.strava.com/routes/17948716

5K – https://www.strava.com/routes/17949008

For more information, visit the RUN Hereford page here https://bit.ly/2R3pIaq

India Wilkinson remembered

Well over 200 people, including many of India’s friends and family, filled the York Hall at Malvern St James Girls’ School to celebrate India’s life and enjoy an evening which included a personal appearance by TV’s Julia Bradbury.

India’s grandfather Roger Young said the ‘exceptional care’ his granddaughter received at St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford was the inspiration behind the event.

‘Hospice staff did everything possible to enrich her life,’ he said. ‘She benefited so much from physiotherapy sessions with Siobhan MacQuillan who always listened to India and recognised she was an intelligent adult with a determination to stay independent for as long as possible.’

Roger began planning the celebration while India was still alive with the pair approaching Malvern St James, where India was a pupil, for help. India’s former Headmistress, Olivera Raraty said, ‘India has deeply touched the lives of our school’s community, so there was a real desire to support St Michael’s and help organise a memorial day for her.’

The affection felt for India was illustrated on the night by the screening of a film showing over 40 of her friends lighting candles to commemorate what would have been India’s 20th birthday in January.

The highlight of the evening was an auction of prints created by India with help from Ledbury Letterpress and Tilly’s Press in Ledbury. The limited edition artworks also featured in a film made by India while at St Michael’s Hospice. India’s film and prints contain inspirational quotes and were first shown at India’s memorial service which was held at Canwood Gallery in Checkley where a sculpture raised in memory of India now stands for all to view.

The five prints, each with illustrated quotes, including ‘We are all stories in the end – just make it a good one’ and ‘Happiness is a quiet dog walk’ sold for a total of £4850 in the auction hosted by TV personality Charlie Luxton.

India’s passion for sport was celebrated earlier in the day when school staff along with students past and present turned out to play a memorial netball match. India’s love of science and art was also marked with the unveiling of a new painting by sixth form art student Josselyn Chau, which reflects India’s appreciation of Gustav Klimt and contains photographs and quotes contributed by friends and family.

India’s mother, Zinnia Wilkinson, said, ‘The evening was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge everything the Hospice did for India, and continues to do for my family. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their generosity. The support from the communities of Malvern St James and St Michael’s Hospice is what had helped keep me going during times when I didn’t feel like keeping going.’

The Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager, Paddy Nugent, said, ‘It is humbling to see the gratitude shown by all of India’s friends and family. We would also like to give special thanks to Roger Young, Rebecca Jones, Sue Davies, Ali Haydn-Jones, Matthew Young and everyone at Malvern St James for giving their time and resources so generously.’

Photo l-r:  Olivera Raraty, Siobhan MacQuillan, Zinnia Wilkinson and Paddy Nugent.

Building suppliers cement support for St Michael’s

Two building suppliers have cemented their support for St Michael’s following the latest in a series of football matches.

MKM Building Supplies in Newent took on the Ledbury branch of Travis Perkins at Newent FC, with Travis Perkins running out 8-2 winners.

This is the eighth time the fixture has been played, with £184 being donated to us following this year’s game, with the same amount going to Macmillan.

Gareth Presley (left) from MKM Building Supplies and William Burton (right) from Travis Perkins handed over the money to the Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager, Paddy Nugent.

Young people share stories in ‘After they Died’ film

Members of Hope at St Michael’s opened up about how the death of a loved one has affected them, and how they remember that person.

Funded by Comic Relief, the short documentary, which was partly filmed at Grendon Court near Ross-on-Wye, allows viewers to understand the positive impact Hope at St Michael’s has made to those taking part.

It follows the success of a similar film last year called When They Died, also featuring members of Hope at St Michael’s.

‘I really enjoyed the filming,’ said Olly, one of the group’s members.

‘It’s good fun coming here. If the video helps anyone then it’s worthwhile; even if it’s just one person.’

Rhys, another member, said; ’I like being around my friends here.

‘It’s good knowing you share something with others who are going through the same thing.

‘It’s actually a very happy place to be.’

‘Shooting the video was great fun for everyone involved,’ said Emma Speedy, social worker with Hope at St Michael’s.

‘Those in the group have made friends with others here, and they enjoy meeting up like this on a regular basis.’

You can view the video here

Hospice to benefit from blacksmithing festival

Herefordshire’s long association with blacksmithing will be brought into focus next month when members of the public are given the chance to contribute to an artwork that will live on at their Hospice.

The would-be forgers are invited to spend half an hour in one of six hot metal forges which will be in Hereford’s High Town on 20th – 22nd October.

During this time, people have the opportunity to forge a Ginkgo leaf which will be added to a seated garden arbour that is to be housed permanently at St Michael’s Hospice.

The Ginkgo tree has symbolic meaning, representing strength, hope and resilience because they can live for up to 1,000 years.

Those taking part can do so safe in the knowledge they will be guided every step of the way by a trained blacksmith.

‘It will be an exciting three days, and we’re really looking forward to it,’ said Ambrose Burne, a renowned artist blacksmith who has his own business and teaches on the Artist Blacksmithing BA at Hereford College of Arts.

‘I have made the basic structure and now the public have the chance to join in and forge leaves to add to the canopy. Each leaf counts, just as each person does.’

The three-day workshop is part of Ferrous2017 – a three-week blacksmithing festival which is a partnership between Hereford BID and Hereford College of Arts.

After the festival, the bench will be moved to St Michael’s in Bartestree to form part of a memorial garden.

To book your slot, visit click here

A thousand feel the love at Venus X

A huge number of sparkling women lit up the streets of Hereford to mark ten years of the Venus midnight walk.

Around 1,000 women of all ages took part in the sold-out Venus X on Friday night, making it the second largest turnout on record.

The annual 10K walk is expected to raise around £50,000 for St Michael’s Hospice.

TV antiques expert Kate Bliss set the women off on a new-look route which saw them begin at Hereford Leisure Centre on Holmer Road before calling into event sponsors Cotswold Mini on Roman Road for a glass of bubbly.

Then it was through Churchill Gardens and on to Castle Green where they stopped for chocolate strawberries.

A memory garden was created at Hereford Cathedral before walkers posed for photos at the Old Market Selfie Station on their way back to the Leisure Centre.

The night was memorable for a different reason when Hospice Angel George Burgess, who was helping marshal the event on his motorbike, took one of the walkers to Hereford County Hospital to witness the birth of her grandchild.

Venus first launched in 2007. Each year, those who take part in the women-only fundraiser paint their faces and t-shirts emblazoned with messages dedicated to loved ones.

One of those taking part was St Michael’s Hospice physiotherapist Siobhan Macquillan who walked with additional weight on her legs to mimic the symptoms felt by lymphedema patients she works with.

Matt Ashcroft, Events Manager at the Hospice, said: ‘Venus X was a very special night, full of fun, colour and remembrance.

‘We would like to thank the 1,000 women who helped Hereford’s streets sparkle on Friday night. Your support is invaluable.

‘We would also like to thank the many volunteers and local businesses who make this event possible.

‘Every year, we are blown away by people’s support for this event, and the Hospice in general.’

If you missed out on Venus X, there’s another chance to walk for your Hospice during the Big Autumn Walk, featuring four circular walks of varying distances from Fownhope Recreation Ground. It takes place on Sunday, 1st October.

For more details and to book your free place, click here

Uphill but enjoyable for downhill team

Four friends have embarked on an ambitious cycling fundraiser which will see them travel from the northern tip of Europe to its southernmost point.

Hereford-based brothers Sam Prestwich, 19, and 18-year-old James, along with Devon-based Alec Bain and Tom Pryor, both 20, are currently in Sweden as part of a 40-day adventure from Nordkapp in Norway to Tarifa, Spain.

The friends are raising money for St Michael’s Hospice in Bartestree, and Hospiscare in Devon.

They are travelling without a tent, just sleeping bags and a tarpaulin to sleep under.

‘The views are amazing, but it’s very cold,’ said Sam.

‘We are battling cold, wind and rain, with snow on the hills. To overcome this, we stopped at cafés to have a hot drink or just use their warmth.

‘We came across a church and found a door that opened. The heat was glorious. The vicar arrived and said we were welcome, so we settled down for a warm dry night.’

The group is now close to Stockholm having battled a near 3,000ft ascent over 20 miles in northern Norway.

As well as the elements, they have encountered the likes of elk and reindeers, but have been rewarded for their hard work by glimpsing breathtaking scenery.

‘The ride back to Honningsvag was awesome, the descents were incredible – 3km downhills – and I loved every second of it,’ said Alec.

‘It’s all going well so far. It’s cold but we’re all fine. It just makes you pedal harder.’

After passing through Sweden, the group will experience countries including Denmark, Germany, France and Spain.

In total, they will travel 3,600 miles.

Both Sam and James, from Brockhampton, know people who have been cared for by St Michael’s.

An auntie of theirs died of cancer and, although this wasn’t at St Michael’s, they say it has made them aware of the importance of family support and end-of-life care.

For further information or to sponsor them, visit http://bit.ly/2siwtrD

The group also has a blog here https://itsalldownhillfromhere.com


Painting the town red (and blue, orange, purple and green)

Around 1,500 people spent one of the hottest days of the year being bombarded with more than a tonne of paint during Hereford’s brightest five-kilometre run.

All ages were doused in colour as they made their way along the five-kilometre circular course from Hereford’s King George V playing fields during Saturday’s St Michael’s Hospice Paint Runner.

The annual event is expected to raise around £23,000 for the Bartestree Hospice.

There was extra fun this time thanks to the newly-launched Foam Zone and mass colour throw which allowed runners and spectators to continue the party beyond the finish line.

‘The Paint Runner is such a fun event, and the wonderful turnout combined with great weather helped make this year’s such a memorable day,’ said Matt Ashcroft, the Hospice’s Events Manager.

He thanked all those who made The Paint Runner happen, including event sponsors Brightwells, plus Fluidmaster, Dulux Decorator Centre, Right at Home Hereford, Quickskip Recycling and Impact Print.

Those taking part were put in the party mood by DJ Roddy Hankins who played thumping summer beats to the runners and those watching on.

Next year’s Paint Runner is set to be one of the most colourful in the UK with plans for six paint stations around the course.

Meanwhile, the Hospice’s Events programme continues on Sunday, 2nd July with the Sue Parry football tournament, before the Wheelie Big Cycle on Sunday, 16th July.

Visit st-michaels-hospice.org.uk for more event information.