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Hospice Care Week 2015 - Connecting care and communities

Ensuring patients benefit from the specialist care and support they need to live life as fully as possible is what Saint Francis Hospice does best.
Pic B Alan Harris walking up stairs with Sarah Benton, Physio (cropped)
As part of Hospice Care Week (October 5th -11th), which is an annual awareness week aimed at raising the profile of hospice care in the UK, the charity will be highlighting the special role it plays in bringing patients and their families together with their local community and with each other.

In line with this year's theme of Connecting Care, Sir Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar (pictured) will officially be re-opening the hospice's general shop at 37 High Street, Brentwood at 11.30am on Monday 5th October following a refurbishment. 

The public are invited also along to Saint Francis Hospice's furniture shop, which is also in the High Street, on Tuesday 6th October between 11am and 3pm, where they will have the chance to talk with Community Nurse Specialist Maria Stripe about any concerns they may have or to find out more about the services the hospice provides.
Hospice staff and volunteers will be setting up an information stand at King George Hospital in Goodmayes between 10am and 3pm on Tuesday (October 6th) where the public will have a chance to discuss any concerns and find out more about the services the hospice provides. and there will also be an information stand at Queen's Hospital in Romford between 10am and 3pm on Friday (October 9th).

Later in the week be prepared to be amazed at An Evening of Magic, which is being held at the hospice's Pepperell Education Centre on Saturday, October 10th to raise funds for the hospice and spread the word about the care that the hospice provides to thousands of local people affected by a life-limiting illness each year.

Or if you fancy a sensational song fest guaranteed to rock you, then Queen B, a tribute band playing all the best Queen hits, will be at the Premiere Cinema in the Mercury Mall in Romford on the same night.

Alan Harris is a patient at Saint Francis Hospice who uses his singing talents to entertain fellow patients and staff.

Alan Harris, 85, (pictured with Saint Francis Hospice physiotherapist Sarah Benton) may have lung cancer, but when he visits the Day Unit at Saint Francis Hospice every Monday, he entertains fellow patients and staff with his impromptu singing of class opera hits.

The professionally trained counter tenor sings his heart out as he sits around the lunch table, despite the fact he has breathing difficulties.

"I love to sing and over the years I have sang in so many choirs," said Alan, who lives with his partner Gwynedd Janes at their home in Harold Hill.

"I look forward to my visits to the hospice and I know everybody looks forward to seeing me too.

"I was given a gift and I intend to use it to the best of my ability.

"I also find my experience as a singer helps me to control my breathing."

Since he started coming to the hospice, which is now the only time he leaves his home due to his poor health, he has also benefited from counselling, breathing and physiotherapy sessions.

"Everyone is so helpful and they have helped me so much," says Alan.

"They would do anything for you and there is always someone you can talk to. 

"Sometimes I find it is easier to talk to a nurse or someone from the hospice than talk to my partner as they are professionals and they know what the problem is and how to deal with it." 

To get tickets to the Freddie at the Mercury event click here.