Friday, September 2, 2016

News: Rotherham Hospice turns 20

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Rotherham Hospice is preparing to celebrate a milestone 20 years of providing excellence in end of life care for the town.

To mark its anniversary on September 9, the hospice will be holding a thank you party for the people its two decades of success rests upon; its caring staff, selfless volunteers and dedicated fundraisers.

Past and present doctors, nurses, therapists, cooks, cleaners, receptionists, office workers, charity shop staff, van drivers, volunteers and trustees will be present for a day which filled with memories, achievements and awards.

The hospice on Broom Road was built with money raised by the town and opened as a day care unit for 15 patients in 1996.

A fundraising appeal to give Rotherham its own hospice began in 1988, when local Rawmarsh antique dealer Gerald Shaw raised £2,000 to kickstart a campaign after the death of his wife. She had died of cancer in Rotherham District General Hospital and he believed a hospice environment would have eased her final hours.

Townsfolk joined in the campaign and extra dynamism came in the form of Rotherham clinical oncologist Dr Frank Neal, who had retired from Weston Park Hospital - and had been instrumental in setting up St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield and the day care unit at Weston Park.

By 1993 over £550,000 of the £1m target had been raised and Rotherham Council offered the site of its old horticultural nurseries towards the end of that year. The building of Rotherham Hospice was completed in May 1996, and opened its doors to Day Hospice patients in mid-1996.

Over the decades, the hospice has developed a wide range of services to help people with terminal illnesses and their families and now helps thousands of Rotherham people every year.

Last year, 1,590 patients were referred to the hospice - an average of 34 new patients a month.

On September 9 guests will enjoy cream teas and Pimms in the hospice gardens and tributes will be paid to hospice stuff and supporters by Lynda Skelton, chairman of the Hospice Trustees. Chief executive Christopher Duff will welcome in the next 20 years of support and advancements in care.

Thanks will also be given to over a thousand volunteers who over 20 years have given 466,633 hours of their time - the equivalent of 19,443 days. Six volunteers will be celebrating their own 20th anniversary that day. Carole Neale, Jim Garton, Cynthia Henry, Pam Stainburn, Val Badger and Catherine Murphy joined in 1996.

Christopher Duff, chief executive at Rotherham Hospice, said: "Our anniversary will be a day to say a huge thank you, to everyone who has played a part in giving Rotherham its hospice and in ensuring the care it gives to people at the most distressing time of their lives excels in every way.

"We are so very proud of everything the hospice achieves through all the wonderful staff and volunteers."

The only adult hospice in Rotherham for the people of Rotherham, Rotherham Hospice is an independent charity and must raise significant sums of money each year in order to pay for the quality care provided free of charge to patients, their families and carers. The charity needs £5m a year with £2.2m needed to be raised each year through voluntary support.

Rotherham Hospice website

Images: Rotherham Hospice


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