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.

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

An inspiring walk

When we cancelled our Big Spring Walk, sisters Caz Holbrook and Penny Minchin, plus Caz’s ten-year-old son Finn, refused to be beaten.
Before current restrictions were imposed – and while maintaining social distancing throughout – the trio completed the longest, and almost deserted, Big Spring Walk route of 17km on Sunday, raising more than £350 in the process.
Their inspiration was the care given to Caz and Penny’s parents – who both died at St Michael’s – and Finn’s dad who died at the Hospice two years ago.
‘St Michael’s is close to all our hearts,’ said Caz.
‘It was a wonderful day and I’m so proud of us all, particularly Finn.’

Georgie’s kind offer to her Hospice

Georgie Lupino is a sports massage and beauty therapist who has volunteered her time helping our Day Services patients for the past seven months.

Having seen her business, Georgina’s Sports Massage & Beauty Therapy, all but dry up in recent days she has put her name forward to retrain and hopes to volunteer as a Healthcare Assistant with us.

‘It’s a really hard time for people,’ she said.  
‘I can get my work back. There’s people in a far worse situation than I am. 
‘If I can make someone feel just a little bit better, then great.’

Thank you Georgie, and all those who have stepped in to help us at this time.

If you are interested in volunteering for us in the future, please contact Benjamin Pardoe on bpardoe@smhospicehereford.org

Choirmaster Denise bids fond farewell

For many years the St Michael’s Hospice Community Choir has entertained audiences – including royalty – at fundraising events throughout Herefordshire.

But the 30-strong group will this month bid a fond farewell to its Choirmaster, Denise Bishop.

Denise is standing down at the same time as retiring from her role in the Fundraising team at St Michael’s, based in Bartestree.

‘I’d like to thank everyone for their support, not only towards me but the Hospice as a whole,’ she said. 

‘I’ve met so people I simply wouldn’t have done had it not been for this role.

‘There’s a real mix in the group. Some are staff members and volunteers, others are patients’ relatives. For relatives, I think it’s a way of staying in touch with a place which means so much to them. I shall miss them all.’ 

The Choir began life in 2009 when it was formed to sing at Hereford Cathedral during celebrations to mark 25 years of St Michael’s.

Denise was a Choir member that day but following a chat with a colleague, she put her name forward to lead the group for the Hospice’s 30th Anniversary in 2014, again at the Cathedral.

‘We were only supposed to be getting back together for the one event, but everyone seemed to enjoy it so I asked them whether they’d be interested in meeting again.’

Since then the choir has enthralled audiences at a variety of Hospice-led events including Midsummer Lights and the Flower Festival at Lyde Arundel last September.

The Choir has also staged its own concerts, notably One Glittering Night, One Starry Night, and Sounds of Summer at Eastnor Castle, and performed to the likes of Princess Alexandra and Monty Don.    

If you would be interested in becoming the Hospice’s new Choirmaster, which is a voluntary role, call Jill Groves at St Michael’s for more information on 01432 852 606.

Caption: Denise Bishop (front row, right) pictured alongside Monty Don and the St Michael’s Hospice Community Choir during the launch of the Transformation and Peace Flower Festival last September.

Sue’s memory lives on as football tournament marks 20 years

In 2000, the family of Sue Parry helped set-up a six-a-side football tournament in memory of the 24-year-old sports fanatic from Hereford who died the previous year.                           

Fast-forward two decades and the now-annual event is within a rasping half volley of raising £100,000 for Bartestree-based St Michael’s Hospice.               

This summer’s tournament, to be held at Hereford Leisure Centre on Sunday 27th June, will include a music festival for the first time alongside the football which features categories for men, women and juniors.

It’s all a far cry from the early days of the fledgling fundraiser back in 2000 though.

‘We had no idea how to organise the event so we approached the late Ralph Farmer, and Lyn Gummer from the Hospice’s Fundraising team, for help,’ said Sue’s mum Sandra.

‘The tournament’s journey has been extraordinary, surpassing all our expectations.

‘I’m just so grateful to everyone who takes part each year.‘

Sue’s family are always there and are extremely touched by the support given.’

Sue Parry received care from St Michael’s before she died in July 1999 after contracting cancer.

As a keen Chelsea fan, Sandra said a football-based fundraiser seemed a fitting tribute to her wonderful daughter.

‘There is nothing worse than losing a child,’ she said. 

‘Sue was a kind, inspirational person who was full of life.

‘It was from Sue and the time I spent looking after her that I decided to go into nursing.

‘Sue’s family feels passionate about supporting our Hospice and each year the goal is to raise awareness of how reliant St Michael’s is on the generous support of the community.’

To take part in this year’s tournament, sign up here

RUN on time for St Michael’s Hospice

This May, a Hereford garage will be taking a little time off from keeping the county’s vehicles on the road, when they instead help runners take to the streets in a bid to beat their personal bests.
Thanks to Darren and Beth Gibbons, St Michael’s Hospice RUN Hereford event on Sunday 10th May 2020 will be supported by a team of pace runners wearing brightly coloured t-shirts emblazed with target finish times.
Managing Director of Easy Garage Darren Gibbons has sponsored the t-shirts and organised the rabbit runners for the Half Marathon and 10k road races.
Darren, who has paced The Great North Run amongst others will be wearing the 2-hour (2.00) t-shirt for the Half Marathon said, ‘Runners love pacers because they know exactly when they’re going to finish. This means it’s vital that pacers know how to run a constant and accurate time throughout the whole race.
RUN Hereford Director Matt Ashcroft said, ‘We are thrilled that Easy Garage are supporting the event. Their involvement is going to make the day much more rewarding for the finishers.
‘By dropping in behind a pacer means runners will have one less thing to worry about, giving them a much better chance of completing the course in their target time.’
Darren’s wife and business partner Beth Gibbons will also be taking part in the event when she takes on the challenge of completing her first half marathon in memory of her mum and dad who both needed Hospice care at the end of their lives. ‘Both Darren and I have witnessed the amazing care provided by staff at St Michael’s Hospice. In 2017, Darren helped to raise over £5,000 for St Michael’s so I thought it was time I also supported a much-loved local charity.’
Runners can sign up for all the RUN Hereford events at www.st-michaels-hospice.org.uk
Those taking part in the Half Marathon will benefit from 1.30, 1.45, 2.00, 2.15 and 2.30 pacers, while the 10K will have runners pacing 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60-minute times.

Poverty Corner reform to raise cash for St Michael’s

Back in the 70s David Beale (pictured 3rd from the left) played the bass guitar with the chart-topping Steve Gibbons Band.
Later he went on to form his own band ‘Poverty Corner’. Four decades later and David has reformed the band to play a St Michael’s Hospice fundraiser at Bromyard Cricket Club.
With publicity and marketing help from his daughters, Claire Jellis and Alice Beale (pictured 2nd and fouth from the left) the gig raised £325 for St Michael’s.
David said, ‘Friends of mine have received exceptional care at St Michael’s Hospice, and I wanted to do something to help. I want to thank my fellow band members Steve Palmer singer, Geoff Masters on drums and Graham Masters on guitar. I’d also like to thank Bromayard Cricket Club for free use of the venue and a donation from bar sales.
Everyone at St Michael’s would like to thank all those who supported the event and hope Dave and Poverty Corner 2 keep on rocking for many years to come.
Photo l-r: Graham Masters, Claire Jellis, David Beale, Alice Beale, Geoff Masters, Roger Page (Mayor of Bromyard) Diane Beale, Steve Palmer and Clare Davies (Mayor’s assistant)

Mindfulness Masterclass heading for St Michael’s

The co-founder of a global Mindfulness movement will visit Hereford this Spring to help lead a masterclass in end-of-life compassion.

Vidyamala Burch, who helped establish Breathworks, will co-lead a day-long event at St Michael’s Hospice entitled Mindfulness & Compassion at the End of Life.

She will be joined by Gail Calthrop, the Hospice’s Breathworks Mindfulness Practitioner, for the masterclass which will benefit a wide range of people from NHS staff, carers and those facing end of life.

‘This masterclass will introduce you to the skills of sharing Mindfulness in a clinical setting, to help those facing pain and difficult emotions,’ said Gail.

It takes place on Friday 24th April from 9.30am to 4.30pm.   

NHS staff, along with staff and volunteers at St Michael’s, are entitled to a 10% discount by entering the code STMICHAELS2020 

To book, visit


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

Fundraiser Albie’s 90th birthday surprise

A fundraiser was treated on his 90th birthday when the Herefordshire pub where he has collected thousands for charity threw him a surprise party.

Albert ‘Albie’ Phipps has spent more than a decade donating winnings from his Phat card group at the Moon Inn, Mordiford to St Michael’s Hospice.
In that time around £17,000 has been handed to the Bartestree-based Hospice.

‘It was a lovely surprise,’ said Albie, who now lives in Gwent but still travels to the pub when he can.
‘I get a lot of pleasure from giving this money to St Michael’s, and I’ll continue to raise money for them.’

Albie’s association with the Hospice began years ago when his brother in Wales had cancer.

‘A doctor travelled from St Michael’s to see him,’ he said. ‘He told him he would drive to see him whenever he wanted.
‘From that point on, it was always St Michael’s I wanted to donate to.’

Even when Albie can’t make it to Mordiford, Phat games at The Moon continue with staff ensuring winnings go into the St Michael’s pot. 

Phat is played by four players sitting in two partnerships.
The aim is to score points by winning tricks containing valuable cards.

Lynne Carter, the Hospice’s Income Generation, Marketing and Communications Director, said, ‘We are blessed to have so many people in our community with a generous heart.

‘Albie is one such supporter. His dedication is touching and inspiring.
‘From everyone at St Michael’s, I’d like to wish Albie a Happy Birthday and thank him, and everyone at the Moon Inn, who has helped raise such a fantastic figure over the years.’

Caption: (from left) Celebrating Albie’s 90th birthday at the Moon Inn are Chris Middleton, Karen Davies from the Moon Inn, Albie Phipps and Alan Davies from the Moon Inn, plus Tracey Fortey and Sam Bufton (standing)