Mindfulness on a keyring

GEORGE is the name of a Mindfulness Special Interest Group in Herefordshire based at St Michaels Hospice, that has been running for more than 4 years with the aim of exploring Mindfulness and Mindfulness-related interventions in health care. The group have been working together to develop a practical tool to support people dealing with anxiety and particularly anxiety linked to challenging health conditions.

The tool, the Pause Key Fob, has a set of simple activities on a keyring which aim to interrupt the anxiety response.  The activities connect the mind with the body and the breath and feedback to date supports our aim that it helps people feel calmer.

Whilst the key fob is still in development, the current challenges of coronavirus made us decide to share our prototype more widely now in the hope that it may help people who are experiencing anxiety either in an acute setting or just coping with the stresses of the outbreak at home.

Included are instructions of how to do the activities and if you are feeling creative how to make your own key fob so you can use it yourself or share with others.  

We would be grateful if you could provide us with some feedback to help us to further develop the tool and if you would like to make a small donation we have set up Just Giving pages for St Michaels Hospice in Hereford and NHS Charities Together (see below) to support the charities through the coronavirus outbreak.

We have also been busy making prototypes and you can also order a fob which will be posted to you for £3 with user instructions.  £2 will be donated to the Hospice and £1 will cover costs of materials and postage.  

For instructions to make the key fob, provide us with feedback or to order a Pause Key Fob please go to www.oskacoaching.co.uk

Link to donate to St Michaels Hospice https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pausekeyfob

Link to donate to NHS Together Charities  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pausefob

Plane and simple: College to help patients’ carpentry skills

Patients at St Michael’s Hospice will soon be able to brush up their carpentry skills.

Thanks to help from Herefordshire and Ludlow College, those visiting the Bartestree-based Hospice can put the finishing touches to items such as birdboxes, stools and planters.

The pastime will take place in a workshop created in the Hospice’s Summerhouse.

The items, supplied by the Hospice, will be specially pre-cut by the Folly Lane-based College before being handed to St Michael’s where a trained volunteer will oversee work.

‘I hope the items will provide happiness to those who spend time in the workshop,’ said Paul Rees, Carpentry and Joinery tutor at Herefordshire and Ludlow College.

‘It’s a pleasure for the College to be supporting the Hospice.’

Both Day Patients and Inpatients will be invited to try their hand at the carpentry.

The Hospice’s Summerhouse was donated and built by Kingsland’s Powell and Co Construction Ltd last year.

It is also used as a relaxing snug, as well as a drop-in space for patients’ loved ones to talk to a Hospice counsellor, should they wish.

Caption: Paul Rees from Herefordshire and Ludlow College

Hollie’s marathon challenge

St Michael’s supporter Hollie Price is currently in Australia but is busy preparing for her first London Marathon.

She has two very special reasons to run it for her Hospice.

‘My best friend Ellie sadly lost her father in 2011 to bowel cancer. The wonderful team at St Michael’s Hospice cared for him in his final few days, along with supporting Ellie’s family and their friends.

‘Also, for the past seven years my Nan has held an annual event to raise money for the Hospice. As 2019 was her last one, I’m proud and inspired by the hard work and spirit that she put into the events, and want to continue raising awareness. She has shown me that anyone can make a difference and can help to raise money, awareness and show support.’

To sponsor Hollie, visit https://bit.ly/2u9b4UO

Exciting Opportunity to contribute to St Michael’s Hospice

St Michael’s Hospice, with its long-established history of high-quality end of life care and education, has recently completed its new and refurbished buildings. A couple of rare and exciting opportunities have arisen for individuals to join the Board of Trustees, as we work to secure the future and expand our services. This is a voluntary but vital position.

We are specifically looking for Trustees with present or recent experience in the following, clinical care in a health care setting, HR/education and financial/accounting. If you are prepared to share your skills, knowledge, experience and time to help St Michael’s develop and deliver our strategy and contribute to achieving our mission, we would like to talk to you.

There are eight Board meetings a year, and you will also contribute to the individual committees depending on your skills.

If you are interested in applying for a trustee position, please contact Alister Walshe (Chairman of the Board) and send your curriculum vitae (CV) and a covering letter giving details of your suitability for the post as soon as possible via email to awalshe@smhospicehereford.org or by post to St Michaels Hospice, Bartestree, Hereford HR1 4HA.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Dean and Sabine’s Gala Dinner raises over 35k for St Michael’s

Dean Kronsbein’s passion for British engineering was the inspiration behind a very special event which has helped raise £35,508 for St Michael’s Hospice.

As members of the Bentley Drivers Club, Dean and his wife Sabine invited fellow members from across the UK to an event at Cubberley House near Ross-on-Wye.

Fifty guests also stayed on to enjoy a gala dinner, during which Dean and Sabine announced they would be donating all the income from ticket sales to St Michael’s Hospice.

Speaking to his guests, Dean said, ‘Giving comfort to people during the last days of their life is a very worthwhile cause, and as a resident of Herefordshire, I want to contribute to a very important local charity.’ 

Following Dean’s rousing speech, one of his guests stood up and said he would also like to raise additional funds. Others followed and the enthusiasm to make a difference spread through the room.

Later, Dean sent a video of his speech to a friend in Coburg in Germany who replied saying he wanted to support the good cause and sent another £10,000.

St Michael’s Director of Income Generation, Ruth Denison, said, ‘We can’t thank Dean enough for his generosity and commitment to St Michael’s. ‘It’s also heartwarming to see how much he has enjoyed making a real difference to families living with a terminal illness.’ 

William, 8, and his great art idea

Big thank you to 8-year-old William Raynor who came up with a genius idea to raise money for St Michael’s.
William gently persuaded his mum, dad, brother, grandma and aunties to pay a fee to enter his art competition.
William asked all participants to draw a picture of a dog and awarded the first prize, of chocolate brownies, to his mum for her winning masterpiece.
Runners-up were treated to a selection of tasty homemade cakes.
William said, ‘St Michael’s cared for my great-aunt and uncle, and I wanted to raise money for a good cause and have some fun at the same time.’
We love William’s approach to fundraising, and it was a pleasure to see all the entries and meet William, his brother Thomas and mum Charlotte.
Photo l-r: Front row Dr Clare Scotcher, William Raynor, Charlotte Raynor, Thomas Raynor and Dr Alice Martin

Ludlow Dog Day donates £5,000 to St Michael’s

St Michael’s Hospice is one of four charities to benefit from Ludlow Rotary Dog Day 2019. St Michael’s received £5,000 with Hope House Hospice for Children, Guide Dogs and Ludlow Rotary Cares also receiving substantial amounts.
Ludlow Dog Day is an essential date in every dog lover’s calendar and will continue to raise funds for St Michael’s Hospice at Ludlow Dog Day 2020 on July 19th once again being held at Stokesay Court. 
St Michael’s Hospice, Director of Fundraising Ruth Denison, said, ‘The amount of money presented is very significant. It is a reflection of the hard work everyone has put into the event. The money means we can continue to support local families living with a terminal illness.’
The Dog Day team are already planning to excite visitors with exciting displays and activities at next years event.
Photo: l-r: Ludlow Rotary Dog Day ambassador Debbie (a re-homed guide dog) with Michelle Davies and Helen Wiltshire.

Former GP turns novelist in support of his Hospice

A former Herefordshire GP has swapped prescriptions for pens by writing a futuristic novel.

Dr Mark Helme retired from General Practice almost six years ago having been based at Hereford’s Cantilupe Surgery.

Proceeds from the book, called AX50, will go to St Michael’s Hospice and Herefordshire Headway.

‘I want money to go to these two charities as they’re very close to me,’ he said.

‘I’m a Trustee at Headway, and during my time as a GP I got to know the fantastic work done by St Michael’s who I raised money for in 2014 by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats.’

AX50 is set between 2021 – 2112 where global warming, artificial intelligence and robots abound.

‘The idea came after I discovered some jottings made in 1980 when I predicted how life would be in the year 2000,’ he added.

‘Much of it turns out to have been accurate, particularly surrounding issues such as surveillance. But it got my mind thinking about life in the future and how our world might look for generations to come.’

Mark will be signing copies of AX50 on Saturday 23rd November at Leominster Coffee & Books on Station Yard (10am-12pm) and Hereford Coffee & Books on Whitecross Road from 2-4pm.   

He will also be giving a lecture based on his research for the novel at the Simpson Hall in Burghill (HR4 7RW) on Tuesday 19th November at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10, including refreshments, and can be bought on the door. 

Copies of the book, currently on sale for the promotional price of £5, can also be bought at the St Michael’s Hospice shop in Bartestree, from the Headway in Credenhill and at Tillington Stores, as well as online by searching ‘AX50 Mark Helme’ on internet search engines.

Caption: Mark Helme with his book, AX50

Paperstation’s generous donation to St Michael’s

Paperstation Limited has pledged to donate a quarter of its profits from any new HR postcode customers to their Hospice.

Since last summer, the Malvern-based company has handed us more than £1,000 – and they’re not finished yet.

‘It’s a pleasure to donate this money to such a good cause, but that’s not the end of our fundraising,’ said Marc Wildig from Paperstation.

‘We have a special connection with the Hospice and we’ll continue to donate 25% of profits from any new HR postcode customers to St Michael’s.’

Pictured is Marc Wildig from Paperstation Limited

Reflections on 35 years of care by Dr Richard Miller

As a medical student, I spent six months helping to care for people with advanced life-limiting conditions, such as leukaemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Being so involved with patients and their families left a lasting impression on me. 

Subsequently, I went into general practice in Hereford and soon became aware of my limitations when caring for people at the end of their lives. I became interested in the holistic approach to end of life care provided by the hospice movement.

I spent time in several hospices. Each one welcomed me with that special atmosphere of loving care that is so familiar to all who have visited St Michael’s. I soon became convinced that Herefordshire needed a hospice of its own.

The catalyst for St Michael’s came when I met Freda Pearce 40 years ago in July 1979. She and her ladies’ committee had already raised a remarkable £90,000 for a body scanner in Cheltenham.

Together we shared the ambition to establish a hospice in Herefordshire. A new committee was formed and set about the daunting task of planning and raising funds. In spite of the obstacles, the faith of the committee never wavered from creating a fully equipped hospice.

One late summer’s day architect Nigel Dees, quantity surveyor Brian Adams and I met the sisters at Bartestree Convent. We ended the afternoon admiring the fantastic view and instinctively knew we had found the perfect location.

In spite of a phenomenal local response, we were yet to reach the target of £750,000. However, using his charm and political skills, Dr Jeff Kramer arranged an interest-free loan from the Regional Health Authority. Also, at the last minute, we received a donation for £50,000 from the King of Saudi Arabia. Building work proceeded on schedule, and St Michael’s opened its doors to patients on 31st October 1984.

Freda never lived to see the difference St Michael’s made to people’s lives. However, she would have been overwhelmed by how her inspiration helped establish one of the most highly regarded hospices in the world.

The positive impact the Hospice has had on the community, and the support it receives, is a tribute to everyone involved. St Michael’s has helped raise the standard of care locally, nationally and internationally through sharing its expertise.

I’m immensely proud of the care St Michael’s continues to provide and grateful to all who give their time and support to making our Hospice a place like no other. Being involved with St Michael’s has been an enormous privilege and proved to be a real blessing in my life; my faith in human nature soars every time I visit.