Santa Claus is Running to TownSanta Claus is Running to Town

Entry is open for the Darlington Santa Run in aid of St Teresa’s Hospice, which wil [ ... ]

Giving to Life Tree

The Giving to Life Tree will return to Darlington’s Cornmill Centre again [ ... ]

Carol Singing

Children from local schools and groups will be showing off their singing sk [ ... ]

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Santa Claus is Running to Town

Entry is open for the Darlington Santa Run in aid of St Teresa’s Hospice, which will take place on Sunday 3 December 2017, starting at West Park Academy.

Last year saw more than 340 Santas running the 5km route, which winds along footpaths and up and down the hills of West Park Nature Reserve, and raised thousands of pounds to help support the Hospice’s vital work.

Hospice director Jane Bradshaw said: “The Santa Run is the perfect way to start Christmas. The feeling when the fun run starts and hundreds of Santas sweep through the park is amazing.

“Everyone gets their own Santa suit or hat to run in, a special Santa Run medal, and (very importantly) a nice mug of hot chocolate and a mince pie afterwards.

“We hope everyone in Darlington will join us and use this opportunity to raise money to help terminally ill people all over our communities this Christmas. I’d also like to say a special thank you to the staff and pupils of West Park Academy for kindly having us back once again.”

Registration was officially opened by the Student Council of West Park Academy, who were very happy to throw their support behind the event.

Lisa Pickering from Darlington, who took part in last year’s Santa Run, said: “I had great fun running with my dad and my daughter, even though she was in her pram. It’s definitely not just for proper runners, it’s a real family event and the atmosphere is lovely. It was a great way to start Christmas off and I’m looking forward to running for the Hospice again!”

To enter the Darlington Santa Run, click here or call the Fundraising Team on 01325 254321. Entry fee includes a Santa Suit for adults or a Santa hat for under 16s, and a mince pie and hot drink.

Generous gift from the Michelle Parker Charity

A heartfelt donation to St Teresa’s Hospice has given families the gift of time to say goodbye to loved ones that have passed away.

We have taken delivery of our first cooling mat system which helps to preserve a body after death, enabling the family to keep their loved ones with them for several hours longer than usual to help with the grieving process.

The new Flexmort cover cool system was purchased following a donation from local businessman Darren Watson, whose partner Michelle Parker lost her fight for life after battling a brain tumour in 2010.

“I wanted to do something to keep Michelle’s memory alive and to give something back,” said Mr Watson, who launched The Michelle Parker Charity to raise money for equipment at The James Cook Hospital where Michelle received her care.

“We managed to raise an incredible £40,000 through auctions and charity fundraisers which meant that we were able to help not only James Cook but also other charities closer to home.

“I saw the building work going on at St Teresa’s while driving home one evening, so I called in to see if there was anything that we could help them with.”

Mr Watson’s generous donation of £18,760 also enabled us to equip and furnish one of the state of the art rooms in our new £1.2 million in-patient unit, which has been named The Michelle Parker Butterfly room.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the room,” said Mr Watson, who was given a tour of the facility with son Daniel.

“It’s a really wonderful tribute to Michelle naming the room in her honour and being able to give something back to help families who have lost loved ones is just what Michelle would have wanted.”

Chief executive of St Teresa’s Hospice Jane Bradshaw added: “The donation from The Michelle Parker Charity came at just the right time for us in the middle of a major expansion project.

“This is the first room we have named in memory of someone and patients will really benefit from the fantastic contribution that Darren, his family and The Michelle Parker Charity have made.

“Being able to purchase our first Flexmort system will also be a tremendous gift to many families allowing them to stay longer with their loved ones after they have passed away.”

Hospices in North East coming together for national Hospice Care Week

This week (9th-15th October) hospices in the North East will join forces with up to 200 other hospices across the UK to celebrate the many and varied services providing hospice care.

NE hospices working together

The theme for this year’s Hospice Care Week (9th -15th October) is “we are hospice care”, which is an opportunity to show the breadth of hospice care services and dispel myths and common misconceptions about hospices.

Seven hospices from across the North East are working together during the week to highlight hospice care through stories about their services, using #NEHospiceCare.

From nurses to volunteers, chefs to chaplains and corporate partners to carers, the awareness- raising week will celebrate the contribution of everyone involved in hospice care.

There will be seven North East Hospices coming together to celebrate the week including: St Oswald’s Hospice, Alice House Hospice, St Benedict’s Hospice, St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Teesside Hospice, St Teresa’s Hospice and Willow Burn Hospice.

Hospice care supports adults, young people and children living with life-limiting illness to live life as fully as possible and enjoy quality of life with loved ones. The wide-ranging support provided by local hospices includes medical care, wellbeing therapies such as massage, emotional support to patients and families, bereavement and family support, and much more. Each year across the UK 200,000 people with incurable conditions, and their families, will benefit from hospice care.

James Ellam, Chief Executive at St Oswald’s Hospice, said:
“Hospices across the North East provide life-changing care and support to thousands of patients and their families every year.

“The awareness week is an opportunity to make our breadth of hospice services known to our North East communities, giving everyone in our region the opportunity to access hospice care. Many people don’t realise that hospices provide much more than just end of life care. In fact 59% of patients accessing these Hospice inpatient services went home last year, and many more patients use hospice outpatient and day services.

“Hospices in the North East rely on the support of our local communities to continue providing hospice care to North East families at a time when they need it most. Local people make a huge contribution to hospice services, whether that be by fundraising, organising events or volunteering. Half a million volunteer hours are provided by dedicated volunteers for these seven hospices alone, demonstrating the impact of local people, and we couldn’t do it without you! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing and dedicated support.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK, said:
“Hospice care is so diverse and involves many people with different skills and talents from all walks of life coming together to deliver incredible care. They are all united by their passionate commitment to the special ethos of hospice care and ensuring that everyone they support is treated with kindness, dignity and respect.

“Hospice Care Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the contribution of everyone who contributes to hospices across the UK and we hope the public will join in the celebrations and help share more widely the many personal stories that make up hospice care.”

To learn more about Hospice Care Week visit and keep an eye out for the local hospice stories on social media during the week by following #NEHospiceCare

Carillion show their support

Apprentice joiners with Carillion worked tirelessly last month to transform former in-patient rooms into much needed office space at St Teresa’s Hospice.

Redundant en suites were removed, storage space constructed and seven rooms refurbished in a make-over to be proud of.

The refurbished rooms in the Woodlands were no longer needed for patients since the opening of the purpose-built 10-bed in-patient unit across the hospice gardens. They will now be used for the income generation team, freeing up valuable space in the newly-built administration block.

Joiners not only renovated woodwork, replaced worktops and installed shelving free of charge, on the first floor of the Grade II listed building, but also honed their skills in other areas of construction including plastering and painting and decorating.

Other firms also donated items for the refurbishment including MKM Building Supplies Darlington, B&Q Darlington, Ward Brothers, Durtona (Euro) Design Ltd and Topps Tiles Darlington.

Hospice business relations manager David Jones said: “This has made a big difference in terms of cost saving but also speed and means we can start work on the other end of the first floor for our family support team.”

Carillion has adopted Hospice UK as its national charity with each office partnering with a local hospice.

Hospice fundraising and marketing manager John Paul Stabler said: “Carillion volunteers have been helping us for the past year and it is great to think that their work will help them as it counts towards NVQs for the apprentices.

“Very generously, they have given us a £500 grant and staff have also been fundraising for the hospice, for which we are extremely grateful.”

Alison Matthews, Senior Secretary: “Carillion have adopted St Teresa’s Hospice as one of our nominated charities via Hospice UK and I am delighted that we could transform the old bedrooms into workable office space for the staff.  I hope the work we have carried out will go someway in helping St Teresa’s continue the excellent service they offer our community.”          

Jean’s hospice hair shave

Dedicated hospice volunteer Jean Hay took on a special challenge earlier this year when she decided to have her hair shaved off for St Teresa’s.

Jean Hay (centre), with Winroth’s part-owner Michelle (l) and hairdresser Sarah (r)

Jean has been a regular volunteer for the Hospice, helping for a number of years in our Skinnergate Home Shop.

Recently, Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been undergoing treatment. This meant she had to reluctantly give up her regular shift at the shop, although it hasn’t held her back from lending a helping hand at some of our fundraising events.

Not one to hang around, Jean jumped at the chance to do something for the Hospice.

Jean commented: “St Teresa’s Hospice is a cause which is close to my heart. I can’t do events like the Midnight Walk or Bark in the Park, but I wanted to give something back. It all happened very quickly – I decided I wanted to do the hair shave on the Monday, and a week later I’d had my hair cut off and had raised nearly £300!”

As part of her ongoing treatment Jean is attending the Day Hospice at St Teresa’s, where she benefits from a variety of exercise, activities, and has access to a range of complementary therapies all designed to help manage symptoms.

Staff at Winroth’s Hairdressers in Clark’s Yard cut Jean’s hair free of charge. Part-owner Michelle Vickers said: “It was great to be able to support Jean. She has been coming here for years. Jean is an amazing lady and is always smiling. We’re so pleased for Jean and hope she keeps up the good work, we wish her well”.

As well as raising £430 for St Teresa’s Hospice, Jean has made a donation of £50 to a breast cancer support group at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Jane Bradshaw, St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive, commented: “Jean is a stalwart Hospice Shop volunteer. I always looked forwards to the cups of coffee she made me whenever I visited. She has worked tirelessly to support the Hospice and this latest fundraising effort is typically selfless of her!”