In 2013 I walked through the large automatic doors of East Cheshire Hospice. It was a place I’ve heard of so many times through friends and the local press.
I was greeted by two ladies behind a large reception desk who stood up and smiled as I walk towards them. I say walked – it was more of a waddle due to the watermelon-sized baby bump I was sporting. It was late December and I’d been sat outside in my car waiting for my family who were at the bedside of my Grandma, who I was unable to be with as it was agreed it would be safer for the baby. One of the women came out from behind the desk with a look of concern and lead me to a large leather sofa which I sank into as I sat down. After explaining that my family was inside and that I wasn’t able to go and be with them, they fetched me some water and told me I could stay where I was for as long as I needed. Just to be in the warmth of the building, and their company created an overwhelming sense of comfort.
For these amazing ladies, it was a place of comfort for them too. They are two of over 600 volunteers for the hospice which provides end of life care around Macclesfield and the surrounding areas. But they weren’t just volunteers. They had suffered the heartbreak of losing a loved one and had chosen to give back with their own time to help ensure these vital facilities continue to be available.
What people may not know is that the hospice has been caring for the community since 1988, providing a place locally where people in a terminal condition like my beloved grandmother are given the comfort and dignity they deserve, as well as services including the management of progressive illnesses and help and support for carers and families. However, with only 17% of funding provided by the government, the hospice relies on fundraising to keep running.
7 years after I entered the doors for the first time, I’m now fortunate enough to work at a place that regularly supports the hospice through their ongoing appeal for funds, most recently sponsoring the annual Christmas Tree Collection. The LOVELIVE van returned for its 8th year – albeit slightly later than anticipated – with the early lockdown of 2021 leading to the postponement of the collection. This is one of many events that have been affected by the pandemic over the past year, which has led to a decrease in donations.
LOVELIVE was pleased to receive the news that, despite the delay, the Christmas Tree Collection raised an amazing £150,000, with many people opting to gift their donation. It’s amazing to hear of the sense of community in such unprecedented times and we hope that the support continues, whether it be donating unwanted goods to a ECH shop, setting up a sponsored event, or simply making a donation, every penny goes towards the vital services they provide.
If you wanted to find out how you can get involved visit: https://www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/donate-now/
by Vicky Booth, LOVELIVE Production Editor