Founder of Mindfulness teaching body to visit St Michael’s

The world-renowned founder of a mindfulness teaching body will visit Hereford next month.

Vidyamala Burch set-up Breathworks in the early 2000s having explored mindfulness and meditation in her 20s to manage severe chronic pain after suffering spinal injuries.

The foundation now has almost 500 teachers and a presence in 35 countries worldwide.

On Friday, 13th September, Vidyamala will spend the day at St Michael’s Hospice in Bartestree for a Mindfulness and Compassion for Health day, teaching the key lessons she’s learned from a lifetime of practice with chronic pain and disability.

She’ll share her up-to-date thinking on the power of mindfulness and compassion.

Vidyamala will be joined by Sona Fricker who was also instrumental in establishing Breathworks at the turn of the century.

The pair are no strangers to St Michael’s having visited previously for various Masterclasses, most recently last year.

‘Vidyamala will share her up-to-date thinking on the distinctive elements of the Breathworks approach,’ said Gail Calthrop, the Hospice’s Breathworks Mindfulness Practitioner.

This will include the importance of a systematic approach to Mindfulness in daily life and breath-based mindful movement.’

The day will include a mix of theory and practice.

Meanwhile, the following day, on Saturday, 14th September, there’s a gathering at St Michael’s for Breathworks Accredited Teachers.

Details for both events, including cost and how to book, are available by clicking here

Generous donation by Herefordshire business

David Whittall popped in to St Michael’s Hospice to hand over a cheque for £10,314.20.

For over thirty years, David’s company HTA Training Services has been putting aside 1% of turnover and organising fundraising events to raise money for charity.

To date, David’s family and his staff members have raised a substantial amount of money for local and national charities.

David said, ‘My target is to continue raising money in memory of my much-loved uncle and Godfather Jeff Freeman who died at St Michael’s Hospice.

‘My next milestone is to reach £12,000, which is enough money to pay for all the care provided at St Michael’s Hospice for 24 hours. That would be a great feeling to know that I’ve made such a big difference to so many people’s lives.’

Everyone at St Michael’s would like to say a heartfelt thank you for such a generous donation.

Photo l-r: Paddy Nugent (St Michael’s Hospice), David Whittall, and Hospice Nurse, Lainey Symonds

GLADRAGS’ golf day raises thousands

More than 130 golfers attended the annual GLADRAGS (Gentlemen of Ledbury And District Rugby and Golf Society) Charity Day, held this year in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

In glorious summer conditions, £16,000 was raised, thanks to the amazing generosity and keen participation of so many people. The raffle and auction were extremely well supported and prizes were awarded for the top 10 teams as well as individual awards.

It brings the total amount raised by GLADRAGS for various charities over the years to more than £100,000.

‘St Michael’s Hospice is very close to our hearts and is a fantastic organization that provides specialist care to individuals that have a life-limiting illness as well as support and services to their families and friends,’ said GLADRAGS chairman, Ed Hewitt.

Both St Michael’s and the GLADRAGS would like to thank all golfers, sponsors, helpers, prize donators and auction bidders for making the day such a huge success.

The GLADRAGS have been operating as a golf society for over 27 years and have held a charity golf day for more than 10 years. During that time, over £100,000 has been raised for local causes, or larger charities with a local theme. Some recent examples of this are Acorn Children’s Hospice, Air Ambulance, Mercia Accident Rescue Service (M.A.R.S.), Megan Baker House, Herefordshire Headway, The CLD Trust.

Thanks to the generosity of everyone involved in the Charity Day (golfers, sponsors and helpers), the GLADRAGS are able to support these great causes. 

Caption: Some of those who helped at the GLADRAGS Charity Day  

Pedalling their way to a fine fundraising total

A group of parents, each with their own special connection to St Michael’s, spent two days in the saddle during a fundraiser spanning almost 150 miles.

The ten-strong party travelled from Bromyard to Minehead in Somerset, reaching the coastal town in time to watch their children play for Bromyard FC Under 11s in a junior football tournament.

Their two-day adventure raised almost £8,000 – far greater than their initial £2,000 target – which was split between St Michael’s and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Pictured are some of the group members (from left); Jenna Bayliss, Kev Weaver, the Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager Paddy Nugent, Lauren Weaver, Jono Simpson, and Sue Roberts

Conquering 100 waterfalls for St Michael’s

AN adventure which started on April 15, 2018 to visit 100 Welsh Waterfalls in aid of St Michael’s Hospice was successfully completed on May 28th 2019.
This demanding challenge, aimed at promoting awareness and support for St Michael’s Hospice, was the idea of Honor Cartwright.
Allan Lloyd, Kington resident and fundraiser, had previously campaigned for the provision of cancer facilities at Hereford Hospital, and more recently climbed the six highest Welsh peaks in a single month in support of the Hereford hospice.
It is hoped, now that the 100 Welsh Waterfall Challenge has reached its watershed, donations in aid of St Michael’s Hospice will be considered by individual members of the public.
The equivalent to £50 for each waterfall visited is thought to be a realistic target.
On this occasion, donations raised will go towards extending the Hospice outreach programme eventually making this service also available towards Radnorshire.
Both Allan Lloyd and Honor Cartwright wish to thank other walkers who approached them during the waterfall challenge as a result of the supportive press publicity this campaign received from the Hereford Times. Allan is willing to download a list of waterfalls visited as requested.
Family members are now asking what will be the next challenge; members of the public may wish to make suggestions.
Allan can be contacted on 01544 230408, by email, or by mail at Swanclose, Hergest Road, Kington HR5 3EL.

Historic Volvo on sale for St Michael’s

A car that completed over 2,000 miles during a Monte Carlo or Bust rally is being auctioned to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice.

John Collins, Andrew Buchanan, Colin Watts and Keith Ratcliffe drove the 52-plate Volvo V70 to Monte Carlo finishing the outward bound journey with a lap of the famous Formula 1 circuit.

The quartet from Pontrilas have already raised over £12,000 which will be shared between St Michael’s Hospice and Macmillan Cancer. The money was raised from sponsorship and supporters paying to sign or place ads on the car after it had been specially wrapped in historic Volvo Touring Car Colours.

John Collins said, ‘A lot of the inspiration for the trip has come from my friend Mike Pullin and his Hospice Angels who have travelled thousands of miles across Europe while raising over half a million pounds for St Michael’s Hospice. We wanted to pay tribute to Mike’s motorcycling fundraising success with our own four-wheeled adventure.’

The car is now to be sold to the highest bidder. The fully serviced V70 with nearly new tyres has already received a bid of £500, so if you would like to offer more and own this historic vehicle, please call Mike Pullin on 07454 155 411.

Nurse Jane’s among garden-opening group

Four city gardens will open to the public later this month, and for one of the homeowners the event will be a particularly meaningful afternoon.

Jane Gennard has worked at St Michael’s Hospice in Bartestree for 17 years as a Staff Nurse, but on Sunday 30th June she will take on a different role as a Hospice fundraiser.

She and four other Aylestone Hill residents are opening their gardens as part of the St Michael’s Open Gardens season.

‘It will be a great privilege for my husband Bob and I to open our garden,’ said Jane.

‘For 17 years, St Michael’s has been a huge part of my life. My role at the Hospice allows me to be part of people’s lives at such an important time.

‘When patients arrive at the door they can be anxious, bewildered and full of emotions, often not knowing which way to turn.

‘We provide peace and quiet, sometimes by just sitting holding someone’s hand in the still of the night.

‘There is often a lot of joy among patients, loved ones, staff and volunteers.  We have been involved in celebrations such as birthday parties and weddings at St Michael’s. These are great occasions, providing lasting memories for all involved.’

Jane says she is always touched by those who want to give something back to the Hospice after losing a loved one.

‘Fundraising brings people together as a community, many of whom are going through the grieving process together at the same time,’ she said.

Jane and Bob, who live on Moreland Avenue, will be opening their garden along with their neighbours, Christina and Anthony Saville, plus Jan Bevan on Link Road and Ruth Smith on Loder Drive, all between 12-5pm.

Meanwhile Gatley Park, between Leominster and Ludlow, is next on the Hospice’s Open Gardens programme.

The public has the rare opportunity to visit the former hunting lodge this weekend (22 & 23rd June).

The property, on the edge of the Mortimer Forest, dates back to the first half of the 16th century.

For further information on all this year’s Open Gardens, including ticketing and directions, visit

A dash of colour at Paint Runner 2019

The most colourful Paint Runner to date has helped raise thousands of pounds for St Michael’s Hospice as all ages descended on Hereford’s King George V playing fields for the annual fundraiser.

More than 1,000 Hospice supporters made their way through a record seven paint stations during the five-kilometre course which takes runners past Hereford Cathedral, onto Castle Green and back to the playing fields.

There was added fun at the end as runners entered the Foam Zone.

Integral to the success of the event were dozens of volunteers who gave up their morning to help marshal or throw paint.

‘We simply couldn’t put on our events without the help of our volunteers, so on behalf of everyone taking part, thank you,’ said the Hospice’s Events manager, Matt Ashcroft.

‘We hope everyone had a memorable day. By being a Paint Runner you are helping families across Herefordshire and beyond at a time when they need it most.’

He also thanked event sponsors Beyond Storage and Paint Station sponsors Brightwells, Quickskip, BBR Optometry, Fluidmaster, Impact Print & Design, Herefordshire 4×4 Response, and Faultless Fitness.

Next in the Hospice’s Events programme is the Sue Parry football tournament at Hereford Leisure Centre on Sunday, 30th June. 

Junior places have already sold out for this event, although adult places remain.

To register a team, or for more information about St Michael’s Hospice Events, click here

If you would like to register your interest in marshalling at a future St Michael’s Hospice event, call 01432 851 000.

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 clicking here