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The Saint Francis Hospice Blog

Welcome to the Saint Francis Hospice blog. We'll be bringing you thoughts, views and insight from our staff, volunteers, supporters and patients. If you have an idea for a blog, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! 
Stella working with a young child (cropped)

Children In Need: How counselling has helped me.

Hayden Punt
10-year-old Hayden Punt, who has been receiving support from our Child and Family Therapist Stella Christou for almost three years.
Daniel Morgan's grandmother Sheila Crowley

Children In Need: My time with Stella has turned my life around.

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan was very close to his nan Sheila Crowley, who was cared for by our Hospice at Home team before she died in March 2016.  

Read Daniel’s story to find out how Stella helped Daniel come to terms with losing his beloved nan.  

Grace Burgin with her dog Winnie 2 (cropped)

Children in Need: “I tried bottling my feelings up, it really hurts.”

Grace Burgin

Grace Burgin started receiving counselling with our Child and Family Therapist Stella Christou in 2015 following the death of her granddad Maurice Davey, who had been cared for at the hospice. 

This traumatic event compounded the grief Grace was suffering from previously losing her great nan Winnie Manger.  

Read Grace’s story to find out how Stella has helped her to cope with her fears and move on with her life.     

Drum crossing small file

Julia Bell's first Mud N Madness experience!

This weekend I ran in Mud n Madness for Saint Francis Hospice.  A great race for a worthy charity. 
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SFH Writing & Talking Group

Our Writing & Talking Group

This special group gives people the opportunity to write poetry, prose, life stories and much more.   

Richard Madeley CourtOnCamera SFH-71

A beautiful way to remember my mum at Christmas

Richard Madeley
Our patron Richard Madeley is supporting Light Up a Life this year. He shares with us why he's dedicating a star to his mum.
DSC_0553 (cropped)

'Connectedness is an antidote to loneliness'

Sue Spong
Working at Saint Francis Hospice is a privilege and my role as a counsellor with the Family support team is truly rewarding.
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Walking for Nanny - Brenda's Babes

Angela Green

For many people who've had a loved one cared for by Saint Francis Hospice getting involved with our fundraising events is a way of honouring the memory of that special person - this is Angela's story

hospice-staff-celebrate-hello-my-name-is (cropped)

My 'thank you' to Dr Kate Granger

Tes Smith, Director of Quality and Care
Following the death of the inspirational Dr Kate Granger, Tes Smith, who has closely followed her work, says thank you.

CQC Inspection: I'm proud of my Hospice.

Pam Court
CEO, Pam Court, sings praises of her work force following highest rating from CQC.

Ten reasons to say thank you to Saint Francis Hospice nurses on International Nurses Day.

Hazel McGwyne 
On International Nurses Day, Hazel McGwyne, our lead nurse and Head of Quality and Audit, says thank you to all of our nurses. 
Janet in the DTU (cropped)

"I feel incredibly lucky, because I’ve been given the chance to sort things out."

Janet Pfeiffer
As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, Janet Pfeiffer, who has lymphoma and lung cancer, will be sharing her fascinating story. 
Maria-and-Tracy-smile-at-mile-23 (cropped)

Run Nurse Rest

Maria Bishop
In her fourth and final blog post, Maria reflects on the challenge of a lifetime.

Run Nurse Run: Maria's London Marathon Diary, Part 3.

Maria Bishop
Race day is fast approaching for Maria and fellow inpatient unit nurse, Tracey. Here is part three of Maria's training diary, which sees them smash their fundraising target... 
Hospice Walk On group

World Social Work Day: "My role is to be alongside people."

Briony Townshend - Palliative Care Social Worker
Briony Townshend is a palliative care social worker. She works within our family support team, alongside fellow social worker, Sandy. Together, the pair support both patients and their carers at all stages of their involvement with the hospice. Here, Briony talks us through her working day on World Social Work Day… 

World Social Work Day: Why Social Workers Matter in End of Life Care.

Tes Smith - Director of Quality and Care
Our Director of Quality and Care is thrilled at a new publication that supports and promotes the role of social workers in end of life care. We'll let her explain why... 
Maria Bishop and Tracey McGarry preparing for a run (cropped)

Run Nurse Run: Maria's London Marathon Diary, Part 2.

Maria Bishop
Maria and fellow inpatient unit nurse, Tracey, will be tackling 26.2 miles in London for Saint Francis Hospice in April. Here is part two of Maria's training diary, as the pair face their longest run yet... 

National Storytelling Week: "I absolutely love the creative writing group, we are a family."

Leanne Smith
Leanne Smith has Friedreich Ataxia, a rare disease which affects the central nervous system. Here, she shares a poem written at our Creative Writing group, which was launched last year by our family support team.  
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National Storytelling Week: "My stories make me proud to work for this wonderful organisation."

Andy Furneaux - Hospice ambassador
Andy Furneaux is a hospice ambassador and works within our fundraising team. His role is to spread the word about Saint Francis Hospice and to boost our income by encouraging people to support the hospice by either playing the lottery or sponsoring a nurse. Thanks to his love of a conversation (!), Andy often finds himself meeting extraordinary people and discovering their stories…    

National Storytelling Week: "Every day my colleagues do extraordinary things."

Amie Blumson, Hospice at Home Team Leader
On National Storytelling Week, Staff Nurse Amie Blumson shares three memorable stories from her time providing care to those in the last few weeks and days of their lives… 
Charity criticism

Charity criticism: The myths about fundraising techniques, busted.

Jane Frame, Director of Fundraising and Marketing
There are lots of assumptions being made thanks to regular stories in the media about some fundraising tactics a minority of charities are using.
Maria Bishop and Tracey McGarry warming up (cropped)

Run Nurse Run: Maria's London Marathon Diary

Maria Bishop
Two of our nurses, Maria and Tracey will be tackling 26.2 miles in London for Saint Francis Hospice in April. Maria's decided to pen her thoughts and feelings as they train for the ultimate running challenge... 
Porsche and her brother Karl (cropped)

Children's Grief Awareness Week: "My brother was the strongest and bravest man I knew."

Porsche Townley
Porsche's brother Karl died earlier this year, at the age of 28. Porsche has bereavement counselling with Esther Gwynne, and has chosen to support Grief Awareness Week by sharing her experience... 

Children's Grief Awareness Week: "Never bottle things up."

Lily Nash
Lily Nash's mum, Claire, died only four months ago from breast cancer. Since then, Lily, aged 10, has been meeting with Esther Gwynne once a week for bereavement counselling. On Children's Grief Awareness Week, Lily shares her story... 

Children's Grief Awareness Week: "Each young person's grief is unique.'

Esther Gwynne
On Children's Grief Awareness Week, Esther Gwynne gives an insight into the work she does supporting young people whose parents, grandparents, sibling or another significant person in their lives has received end of life care from Saint Francis Hospice. 

Children's Grief Awareness Week: 'They understand what you're going through.'

Jessica Surridge
Jessica, aged 9, lives with her father, Ian. Her mother Maria died of cancer in June 2014. In the first in our series of posts during Children's Grief Awareness Week, Jessica gives an insight into the bereavement support she receives from Saint Francis Hospice...
Angela at the Great Wall holding a SFH t-shirt

Great Wall of China Trek: 'At one point I froze due to the narrowness of the ledge...'

Angela Hammond
Angela has raised £1,900 by trekking 80km across the Great Wall of China, which is over 21,000km in length and more than 2,300 years old - and she kept a diary along the way.

End of life care: Is London the worst place to die?

Tes Smith - Director of Quality and Care
This, the question asked by the London Assembly who earlier this week held a meeting to discuss end of life care and barriers to access in our capital city. Tes Smith responds. 

End of life care: We must take our responsibility seriously in continuing to lead the way.

Pam Court
With the UK ranked as number one for end of life care in the world, our CEO contemplates the breadth of work required to keep us in the top spot - and the need for hospices to continue to inspire the very best palliative care delivery. 
Bereavement service trip to Lee Valley

Bereavement support: Trips like this bring people together.

Sue Spong - Counsellor, Family Support Services
Every year, we offer those currently receiving bereavement support the chance to have a special day out with our team. Here, Sue Spong discusses the most recent trip and the importance of days out like these...
- New Post
- Frankie's got big news
- New Post
- Day Therapy celebrates Christmas in style
27th - Runner’s bid to be a Lion king record holder
9th - Playing in memory of grandad
10th - Hospice backs call for radical rethink in care.
29th - Fiesta time for Collier Row pensioner
29th - Marathon Marvels
1st - Royal Mail delivers help to hospice
5th - Motorbike enthusiast gears up for Himalayan adventure
8th - Running club celebrates London Marathon achievements
8th - Retired nurse celebrates £1,000 windfall
11th - BT workers engaged in Snowdonia trek
11th - 15th anniversary of pioneering Hospice at Home service
14th - Dying Matters. Let's talk about it.
15th - Inspirational mum set to raise £3,500 in latest charity challenge
22nd - Milk workers raise over £300 for hospice
22nd - Accountant is on track after £1,000 lottery win
22nd - Garden sanctuary for bereaved children needs your vote
22nd - New car or £10,000 cash up for grabs in Summer Raffle
27th - Himalayan adventure gets off to "bootiful" start
27th - Volunteer Week
2nd - Volunteer still learning new skills after 23 years
5th - Take the lead - join our dog walk!
5th - Furniture store volunteer saves life of baby
5th - Boxers get ready to rumble for hospice
10th - Cuppa and cake for carers to mark Carers Week
12th - Talented singers stop shoppers in their tracks
12th - Secret garden of magical delights awaits
16th - Saint Francis Hospice hosts Namaste Conference
19th - Dog trainer to take leap of faith for hospice
19th - Second lottery win for lucky grandmother
19th - Businesses unite for £100,000 fundraising challenge
26th - Former EastEnders actress steps back to the 80s for 10k hospice walk
26th - Supermarket boss sold on hospice
26th - £1,000 cash injection for DIY project
6th - Double win for lucky ladies
7th - Oh what a night as disco fever sweeps Romford town centre
7th - Talented teenager to auction artwork
10th - Sunflower picnic to remember loved ones
13th - Dazzling Dancing show raises £2,600 for hospice
13th - Garden event promises rooms with views
13th - Pupils swap books for trainers to support hospice
17th - Donated Russian figurine sells for almost £1,600 on Ebay
17th - The sky’s the limit for daring teaching staff
17th - Heavenly windfall for mother of three
24th - Former airline worker scoops £1,000 on hospice lottery
24th - London’s calling hospice workers
24th - Daring duo to abseil down the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit
27th - Happy birthday Saint Francis Hospice!
29th - Miniature world of quirky delights
31st - Lucky catch as fishing manager hooks lottery jackpot
31st - Patients featured in Channel 5 News series on end of life care.
3rd - Superstores flex muscles to raise more than £3,000 for hospice
4th - Get a head start and run for Saint Francis Hospice
5th - Bingo! The Young Ones crack the £10 grand mark!
6th - Insurance workers risk muddy adventure to help raise £13k for hospice
7th - Inspirational woman steps up to Chinese challenge
11th - Take a shot for your hospice
12th - Spectacular garden gives hospice a blooming £500 boost
13th - Retail workers get top ‘Marks’ for big donation
14th - High time radio presenter took it to the edge
14th - Giving a foot up to bereaved youngsters
14th - Lottery win ‘wheely’ good news for former council worker
17th - DIY store workers get hospice event off to a rosy start
18th - Former headteacher rises to charity abseil challenge
19th - Couple celebrate silver wedding anniversary with big win
20th - Big Yellow to the rescue!
21st - No tie-breaker – hospice is £10,000 winner
26th - Ford workers go further for hospice
27th - Fork lift driver raises a bit more than he expected
28th - Facing the Fear Factor
1st - Lucky £1 ticket nets man £10,000
2nd - Ace day raises £250 for hospice
3rd - Bank worker ropes in colleagues for daring abseil
4th - Drawn to support local charity
4th - Future classic car makes its debut
11th - Generous donations bring home comforts to the hospice
11th - Happiness is… 62 years of marriage and a £1,000 lottery win!
11th - Grateful family seize chance to help hospice
14th - Mixing business with pleasure nets more than £6,700 for hospice
15th - Wheels of fortune
18th - Sitting comfortably thanks to £600 donation
18th - £10,000 is now the target for law firm
18th - Health professionals from Singapore are inspired
24th - Daughter’s bald and beautiful tribute to mother
25th - Hospice Care Week 2015 - Connecting care and communities
25th - Descending to raise pounds
25th - Classic Car and Bike Show fuels funds for patient care
28th - As one door closes, another opens
2nd - Cabbie hails £1,000 lottery win
2nd - Getting quizzical for hospice
2nd - Caring canines bring patients comfort and joy
5th - Brighter, smarter shopping in Brentwood
6th - Hospice Care Week
7th - Hospice Care Week
8th - Hospice Care Week
9th - New funding to tackle loneliness and isolation
9th - Numbers add up for former teacher
11th - Freddie rocks Romford
16th - Pupils step up to raise £1,186 for hospice
16th - Double birthday treat as couple win £1,000 on hospice lottery
16th - Hospice nets £80,000 to restore Victorian pond
16th - Scouts honour inspirational leader with hospice hike
23rd - Courageous mother’s act of kindness raises £1,700
23rd - Third time lucky for former hospice worker
23rd - Blooming success for hospice gardens
30th - Time to stop
30th - Retired accounts clerk is counting her lucky numbers
30th - Masons lodge money with hospice
30th - Painting produces pounds for hospice
6th - First time Fundraisers have a ball and raise £27,000 for hospice care
6th - Inspirational story at heart of raffle launch
6th - Neopost delivers more than £5,000 for hospice in abseil adventure
9th - Bereaved children helped to come to terms with their loss through art and activity
13th - Lottery gift for newly weds
13th - Dealership donates £1,000 after saddling up for cycling challenge
13th - Hospice helps bereaved children to rebuild their lives
19th - Donations make a happy Christmas
20th - Friday the 13th - lucky for some!
20th - Santathon promises ho-spice fun for all
20th - Big donation helps patients and saves hospice money
26th - Royal Oak “treet” for hospice
27th - Black Friday benefits hospice
27th - Convenience store shows bags of initiative!
27th - TOWIE star signs up to support hospice
27th - “Reddy” for Santathon
27th - Hospice volunteer gets £1,000 payback
27th - Muddy tribute to best friend
30th - Tributes to Arthur Rackley
4th - Caring woman shares lottery success with hospice
4th - Help at last for young adults
4th - Unbeer-lievable challenge raises £660 for hospice
4th - Winger’s words and shirt score for hospice
4th - Road race trotters break piggybank for hospice
4th - Gardens spruced up for Christmas
7th - Tricolour tribute
11th - Cracking Christmas treat for carers
11th - Happy memories hung in gallery
11th - Cake sale proves a winning formula for hospice
11th - The festive spirit is in the air for lottery couple
11th - DHL deliver muddy adventure for hospice
17th - Tee’d up for Christmas
18th - Essex boys bring Christmas cheer to hospice
18th - Cyclists rally together to raise £600 for a hospice
18th - Reddy, steady go at the Santathon
18th - Morrisons – making a difference for a local hospice
18th - Salon supports hospice in style
24th - Vehicle leasing company drives towards £10,000
24th - Reaching their goal with Christmas fundraiser
4th - Reflecting, remembering and celebrating
6th - Appeal for help following theft of hospice van
8th - Shop promotion raises £500 for hospice
8th - A great way to end the year
11th - New deal with Chelmsford company helps drive towards £10,000
14th - Family celebrate lottery win with a sunshine break
14th - High Street retailer shares profits with hospice
14th - Twelve months of fabulous fundraising for hospice
19th - Synagogue appeal brings comfort to patients and families
20th - Council leader impressed by hospice services
22nd - Hospice van theft sparks phenomenal response on social media
29th - The magic of the movies
29th - Lucky lady is on winning streak….again!
29th - Help jump start care on Leap Day
5th - Pupils dance to the tune of £450 for hospice
5th - “Treemendous” specimens
5th - Pub raises the bar with £10,000 fundraising challenge for hospice
5th - £1,000 is a bonus for hospice jackpot winner
9th - A muddy, mad way to raise money
11th - Large cheque lodged with hospice by Freemasons
11th - Fishing for funds
15th - Double lottery success for Upminster residents
15th - Reality TV star takes on new role for hospice
19th - Die-hard Daggers fans' double donation
19th - Brentwood goes orange!
26th - Mammoth miles of motoring for Mongolia-bound Micra
26th - Insurance worker claims her win
29th - Wonderful gift pays for a day
4th - Raffle comes up rosy for green-fingered grandad
4th - Brentwood went orange!
7th - The Great "Fatsby"
7th - Marathon runner follows in grandparents’ footsteps for hospice
7th - Set to run in Brentwood
11th - Sole sisters step up for marathon
11th - Fundraisers aiming to set world record
11th - Hospice inspires marathon challenge
14th - Ford goes orange
18th - Motorist wins £1,000 fuel injection
18th - Hospice will not forget Dementia
18th - Friends celebrate 30th birthday with 30km run
24th - Barry Hearn promotes “mobile pub” at hospice
25th - Construction worker builds on lottery success
31st - At least 259 people wanted!
4th - Caring Carr family
5th - Fundraising fayre is an easy puzzle to solve!
6th - Egg-cellent Coupe for the hospice!
9th - Couple celebrate wedding
15th - Brentwood man is ready for third marathon effort!
15th - One good turn deserves another
15th - Watts that? Electrician gets £1,000 shock
18th - World record smashed!
18th - CQC visit underway
22nd - Poignant anniversary to fuel London Marathon runner through his 26.2 miles
22nd - Radio programme inspires lottery sign-up
22nd - Can you help?
25th - Paul shakes the hand of James Bond but isn’t stirred
29th - Schoolgirl’s hair-raising tribute to nan
5th - Mayor honours Hospice heroes
6th - Supporting young people living with dementia
6th - Council worker on track for hospice
6th - Golf and family fun raises £4,000 for hospice
6th - Quiz night success – no question about it!
12th - Stolen van returns to duties
12th - The people's promoter champions hospice
12th - Golf without trousers all for a good cause
13th - CM15 is a lucky lottery postcode!
20th - Theft inspires “vantastic” gift
20th - Treats all round!
20th - Where there is a will there is a way to protect your loved ones
20th - The beautiful game scores £3,200 for hospice
3rd - New postgraduate courses at Saint Francis Hospice
3rd - Make-up class helps women to look good and feel good
3rd - Tiff inspires charity head shave
3rd - From firewalls to fencing
3rd - TOWIE stars step up for hospice walk
3rd - Thanks a million – hospice highlights the incredible contribution of volunteers
10th - Lily’s petal makes pounds for hospice
10th - Two tickets, one happy winner
10th - Dagenham firm launches support for hospice
13th - Bigger, better, building benefits hospice
17th - Jimmy Jones and the healing power of laughter
17th - Star Walk has the wow factor
24th - A royally delicious treat!
24th - Little things make all the difference and lead to big prize
27th - Imogen Heap – from Hogwarts to the hospice
1st - Hospice can bank on support of retired city worker
1st - Marching with Pride
4th - Mother’s legacy brings comfort to patients and visitors
5th - Magic night out for charity walkers
5th - Five Year Milestones
6th - Sunflower Appeal Success
8th - London to Paris in a day – Tri and you’ll succeed!
8th - Pupils go the extra bridge for hospice
8th - Family step up for Star Walk in memory of son and brother
12th - Be like Stephanie - Run the Royal Parks for Saint Francis Hospice
12th - OUTSTANDING - Hospice receives highest rating from CQC
15th - £1,000 win for former dental nurse
15th - Cyclists gear up for 100 mile ride
18th - Welcome Pauline - our new Trustee
19th - Funds raised by the Freemasons lodged with the hospice
19th - Classic car show takes you back in time
19th - Spectacular Star Walk raises £50,000
19th - Mercury Mall gets in on the ‘Go Orange’ Act
22nd - Bank workers invest in hospice
22nd - Schoolboy raises £810 in memory of his aunt
23rd - Lottery win is in the stars
24th - Teenagers sow seeds for their community
25th - Saint Francis Hospice pays tribute to Kate
2nd - Neopost delivers for Saint Francis Hospice
5th - Friends freefall 13,000ft for hospice
5th - Our golf days are supported by big hitters
5th - Chemist gives hospice a £500 boost
9th - And the winners of the Summer Raffle 2016 are...
12th - Kate Adie to speak at Ladies Gala Lunch
12th - A friend in need is a friend indeed!
19th - All the best Paul
19th - Intrepid traveller hits the Himalayan high roads…again!
19th - Woman goes the extra length in London lake swim
19th - Open garden reaps rewards for hospice
19th - Family and friends club together to make a difference
26th - Summer Raffle brings sunshine and fabulous prizes
5th - A spice way to raise funds for the hospice
6th - Morrisons lends a big helping hand
12th - Team put their energy into hospice gardens
12th - Dagenham woman delighted at £1,000 bonus!
15th - Frankie’s Car Fest 5th Year success
15th - Snooker Superstars support Saint Francis Hospice
16th - And our lottery winner really could be you!
20th - Friends freefall 13,000ft to raise £1,668
20th - The good fight delivers £2,000 win
23rd - Join Jimmy Jones for an evening of laughter and entertainment
26th - Spooks and sparks for hospice
30th - Couple make a splash at charity swim
30th - OrangeLine service launches to combat isolation and loneliness
30th - Champions trade titles for fundraising
30th - Hospices unite to give young adults fun and friendship
10th - Hospice Care is…
11th - Running for fun and charity is a winner
13th - Brentwood Lottery Winner
14th - Busking in Brentwood
14th - Harvest donations reaps benefits for community
16th - Big-hearted comedian entertains for hospice
17th - Royal Parks Half Marathon is jewel in the crown for Team SFH
17th - Singing in the ward
18th - Safeguarding Week - It's everyone's responsibility
20th - Hornchurch gardening society fundraising total grows
20th - Lottery surprise for Collier Row man
21st - Gold and silver medals grow on trees
21st - Hospice honey is the bee’s knees
21st - Net-walking is keeping businesses on their toes
28th - Light Up a Life - dedicated to the one we love
28th - Hospice at Home comes to Redbridge
3rd - Retired bus driver has just the ticket!
7th - It’s official, Santa is coming to Dagenham town!
11th - Playing with numbers to fund end of life care
11th - Going Bald for Lloyd
14th - A £1 raffle ticket could be the key to your new car
15th - Hospice takes on battle for Christmas number one
16th - Have faith in our care - Inter Faith week
25th - Kate Adie takes Hospice supporters on a tour of the front lines
25th - A time and a space for supporting end of life care
2nd - SFH choir member Kathy Baldwin shares her experience of recording the Christmas single
6th - Santathon…it’s all for a good clause
7th - Business Alliance Group - going from strength to strength
12th - Santathon fun sweeps Dagenham
13th - Carers take time out for a festive treat
16th - Shining the spotlight on hospice care
16th - Hospice choir single storms the charts at number 11!
19th - Retired council worker revs up for hospice
30th - £1,000 Christmas gift is a winner
6th - Loving mother inspires a fundraising legacy
13th - Couple tie the knot!
13th - Double lottery luck for Brentwood woman
16th - Volunteering - a rewarding way to make a difference
25th - Raffle winners celebrate their good luck
3rd - Hospice hosts new social group for bereaved people
6th - Farewell to fundraising legend Paul Freedman
9th - Primary school goes orange for hospice
10th - Egghead Barry Simmons makes surprising revelations in a radio interview
10th - It’s all muddy madness for the hospice
20th - And the score is..win win for the hospice
20th - The rush is on to join hospices for bubble fun
24th - £1,000 lottery win is the perfect finish for retired printer
28th - Family business puts the community first
28th - A question and answer session with professional runner Harmander Singh
1st - Light footed doctor on the run…for the hospice
6th - Big Orange Quiz is a great success - no question about it!
7th - Couple celebrate 45th wedding anniversary with a blessing
14th - Children in Need
16th - Landlady raises pot of gold for Saint Francis Hospice
20th - The YJS Trust’s £100,000 contribution to hospice care
21st - Brentwood Half Marathon 2017 round-up
28th - London Marathon 2017 profile - Jodie Timbrell