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Cracking Christmas treat for carers
Carers and patients were invited to sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious three course Christmas lunch as they were waited on by hospice staff.
Saint Francis Hospice hosted its annual Carers Christmas lunch on Wednesday (December 10) to recognise the valuable contribution carers make to the community.
During the afternoon staff from the hospice's Family Support Services served the food and drink.
Guests got to meet fellow patients and carers and have a chat with the Pam Court, the hospice's Chief Executive Officer. There was also a festive quiz to add to the fun, along with the chance to win some exciting raffle prizes.
"This is the first time I have ever been to the hospice," said Jill, from Hutton, whose husband Peter has prostate cancer. It is really beautiful. The dinner was lovely and it was such a kind thing for the staff to do."
Carer Pat Worrow from Barking, who was there with her partner David Worrow, said, "It has been a brilliant afternoon. Everyone has been so kind. David was in the hospice for a couple of weeks last year and everyone was so good to him."
Kathleen O'Shea and Elaine Archer (pictured below) are carers for their husbands who both have Multiple System Atrophy. They initially met at a carers support group and were delighted to come to the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower for a special treat.
"We are so surprised at how good it has been," said Kathleen from Hornchurch. "I think the people are so friendly and the staff so welcoming. They really do make you feel special and that is something that you lose when you are a carer because you are the one doing the caring."
Maureen Blacksley, from Brentwood, is a carer for her husband Colin, who has myeloma.
She said, "Coming here is a complete break for me. It is nice to come out and chat to other people. It is a lovely change of scenery and it is good for Colin to be in this environment.
Saint Francis Hospice has given us the best care and support throughout my husband's illness."
L-R Sue Carpenter with her daughter Sharon Carpenter with Colin Blacksley and his wife Maureen.
Don is a carer for his wife Pam who also has myeloma. The couple, who live in Romford, have been supporting the hospice since it began over 30 years ago.
"I think it is wonderful what they have done here," said Pam. "They all work so hard."
Briony Townshend, a Social Worker with Family Support Service, said the hospice wanted to show carers its appreciation for the care they give day-in-day-out and to give them a well-earned rest.
She added, "It is our chance to look after them because the carer is affected just as much as the patient. We want to recognise the great job they are doing and to give them a bit of special time, and more importantly, to give them a chance to socialise with other carers."
Hospice CEO Pam Court pulls a cracker with Peter Imbert as Peter's wife Jill looks on.