East Lancashire Hospice volunteers and fundraisers are part of its ethos
“The nicest place you could ever wish to be cared for.”
Those are the sentiments of 71-year-old Alan Dempsey, a patient at East Lancashire Hospice speaking about an organisation held in the highest esteem and affection by Blackburn folk.
For the past 29 years the hospice has continuously provided a special way of caring for adults suffering from life-limiting illnesses throughout Blackburn and the surrounding areas.
It provides specialist care, supportive care and end-of-life care for people and their families both at the hospice and at home.
The ethos at the Park Lee Road hospice is that everyone is special, whether patients come to them or they are cared for at home.
East Lancashire Hospice opened its doors in June 1984 to patients and their families, with founder Dr Seigleman, whose singular vision led to its formation as doctor in charge.
To keep its doors open the hospice needs around £3m a year, much of it raised from hundreds of events and sponsorships undertaken by its army of volunteers and supporters.
The hospice has calculated the remarkable statistic that last year more than 800 volunteers gave more than 46,850 hours of help from working in their seven shops, hospice reception, events, home care sitters, inpatients, flower arranging, drivers, clerical work and many other areas.
Typical of the dedication shown is Laura Isherwood from Cherry Tree.
She was a patient 12 years ago and since her recovery has been an enthusiastic volunteer, working a full day every Wednesday organising volunteers for events, organising help for and manning a monthly stall at Great Harwood Farmers’ market and undertaking a lottery collection round.
She said: “Doing this work rewards me so much, I hope I never stop doing it. My overwhelming message to anyone is that the hospice is a place filled with hope, even happiness.
“People in crisis are cared for with respect and love. That’s why it’s so satisfying to put something back by volunteering.”
Stella Forrest, 64, of Mowbray Avenue, Blackburn, decided to dedicate some of her time after the death of her mother-in-law Beryl, who spent her final days at the hospice.
She said: “I think if you spoke to the majority of volunteers they will tell you they get far much back than they give.
“I usually help in creative and support therapy, helping with the different activities. There’s normally such a sense of fun and camaraderie. It’s a totally essential service.”
Alan Dempsey, from Oswaldtwistle, has been an in patient twice since a cancer diagnosis in May.
He said: “Aside from being at home, this is definitely the nicest place I could ever wish to be.
“The level of care, expertise and compassion shown by the staff has been wonderful.”
Those wishing to help the hospice can do so in a number of ways including making a donation, attending events, joining the hospice lottery, get their company to nominate as their charity of the year, shopping in one of seven hospice shops or volunteering.
For more details contact the fundraising team on 01254 733412.
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