With Men’s Day Out now finished for another year and 1,850 of the male population hopefully now fully recovered the St Luke’s Events Team go in to review mode. In order to attempt to make next years event even better we do our utmost to assess the wins and areas that need further thought.

We caught up with Al Joynes, a 4 year veteran of the event and founder of Plymouth based social enterprise and brand logo design platform domoredesign.com to give us his thoughts.

“Men’s Day Out is without doubt the best charity event in Plymouth. I look forward to it every year. It’s brilliantly organised on the day and has been clearly thought out so that it’s just very easy to do.

I’m sure many of the participants like me are in the same boat with a young family. My wonderful wife accepts that this isn’t just an excuse for a massive pub crawl jolly (apparently there are a good few pubs on the way) but a way in which to spread the word and support a very worthy service. Those of us that live in and around Plymouth all know or have known those that have been cared for by the team at St Luke’s.

It also poses as a great excuse to catch up with friends, colleagues and family. It’s a 12km walk carried out over 4 to 5 hours, believe me a lot of topics are covered during chats on the way around. You also find yourself chatting to complete strangers who like you have signed up to participate and the bantery and cammorardary is world-class (as you would expect from Plymouth). I particularly enjoyed talking to a couple of blokes dressed as bananas and a group dressed as Musketeers, I felt fully underdressed, but it did inspire some ideas for next year, not that fancy dress is a requirement of the event.

Throw in watching the rugby at Plymouth Albion at the end of walk, with a free pasty and pint to top it all off and you have a thoroughly entertaining brilliant day.

This year started with a full english breakfast at Plymouth City Market for our group which, as a veteran of the event, I absolutely recommend.

However, two years ago I used the Men’s Day Out as my stag-do. It was absolutely brilliant! Friends, laughs, many costume changes (thanks to my friends and ever hilarious brother), a ‘ahem’ couple of drinks, rugby and a load of money raised for charity ticked all my boxes. England also smashed France to win the Six Nations Grand Slam, but for some reason, as memorable as that should have been, I had forgotten that I’d watched the game in the Albion clubhouse and had to watch the highlights the next day.

If you know someone who is getting married after March next year I would wholeheartedly put Men’s Day Out in their eye-line as a stag do suggestion.

Above-all the most heart-warming part for me that continues year on year is the volume of motorists, who on seeing the masses of men walking together for a great cause, beeb their horns in support. I have already registered my interest for next year.” Al Joynes Domoredesign.com

If like Al, you will be looking to participate in Men’s Day Out again next year or you are interested in signing up for your very first go, you can register your interest here.

Thank you again to all those that participated in the 2018 Men’s Day Out and we hope to see you and many others again next year.

When it comes to encouraging more open discussion around the sensitive subjects of death and dying, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is leading the herd, with a fun and enchanting trail that’s set to add a splash of colour across our city and get people talking.

In collaboration with independent children’s books publisher Andersen Press and creator of public art events Wild in Art, St Luke’s is bringing Elmer the patchwork elephant – the iconic, much-loved storybook character created by Devon-born author and artist David McKee – to Plymouth for Elmer’s Big Parade in 2019, 30 years since Andersen Press first published the Elmer story.
For ten weeks over summer 2019, the eye-catching Elmer’s Big Parade will be adding colour and fun to the city and surrounding areas, where St Luke’s cares for patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses and supports their families and carers.

The 40 unique elephant sculptures, each painted by an established or emerging local artist, will form a trail that will both attract new visitors to Plymouth, curious to see what Elmer is up to, and encourage residents to explore areas they might not have ventured to before.
The sculptures will help people ‘navigate’ the city while increasing awareness of St Luke’s, de-mystifying death, dying and hospice care, and raising vital funds to help the charity look after more patients who need its compassionate care.

The project also includes an interactive app to help people follow the herd, detailing the sculpture locations and enabling them to join the Elmer community by uploading selfies as they go.
Running alongside the trail will be an engaging interactive educational programme for Key Stage 2 and 3 school children that will aid their understanding of death and dying in an age-appropriate way.

Elmer’s Big Parade will be formally launched on 21 March 2018 at Ocean Studios, when a bespoke Elmer designed by popular local artist Brian Pollard will take pride of place alongside a ‘classic’ bright patchwork Elmer.

Following the launch, artists will be invited to submit their designs from June 2018, with the sculpture trail opening in July 2019.

Speaking about the project, St Luke’s Chief Executive Steve Statham said: “An elephant never forgets and that’s a key message for us, too. We want to help people create lasting memories and at St Luke’s we are very proud that we can do this for many patients and their families.

“We’re really excited about Elmer’s Big Parade. As well as being full of fun that will spread a big grin across Plymouth and the wider area, it will encourage meaningful discussion about death, dying and bereavement, subjects we often shy away from but would all benefit from being more open about.
“In addition to being a great free and healthy day out for all the family as they walk the trail, it will also attract new visitors to our city, raising Plymouth’s profile and bringing economic benefits, as well as showcasing a wealth of local artistic talent.”

Charlie Langhorne, Director, Wild in Art, added: “By joining forces with Andersen Press and creating a blank 3D canvas inspired by the famous patchwork elephant, we just know that this big parade will have a positive impact on Plymouth’s residents and visitors, and of course St Luke’s. With similar parades featuring Elmer in Ipswich and Tyne & Wear too, we’re excited to be turning the country patchwork for fantastic causes in 2019.”

Paul Black, PR Director, Andersen Press, added: “We are delighted to be working with St Luke’s and Wild in Art on this project, and cannot wait to see the colourful Elmers around Plymouth – to bring this amazing trail to Plymouth, a place so close to the heart of David McKee, Elmer’s creator, is really the icing on the cake. Here’s hoping we raise lots of money for St Luke’s Hospice, whilst making a fun, inclusive and interactive trail for the public.”

St Luke’s is offering local businesses and other organisations the opportunity to sponsor one of the 40 unique Elmer sculptures that are set to enchant and inspire. Ultimately, these sculptures will be auctioned off to raise money for St Luke’s, ensuring a fitting legacy for the people and communities of Plymouth and the surrounding areas which benefit from the charity’s outstanding care.

Local artists and businesses, find out more!

When it comes to boosting your skills, making new friends and improving your health, there’s nothing quite like volunteering. Giving some of your spare time – whether it’s an hour or two once a week or several days a month – to help a good cause has been shown to do all of this and more while providing critical support to help charities like St Luke’s.

Our volunteers are absolutely vital to the operation of St Luke’s and we couldn’t do what we do without them. From students to retired people and from a wide variety of backgrounds, they generously give their time in a host of different roles across our organisaton.

While many are based in our shops, others give their time to help in the cafe at our specialist unit at Turnchapel, become befrienders to our patients or marshal at our key fundraising events, such as the Neon Midnight Walk and Tour de Moor. And there’s another way our fantastic volunteers pitch in – hunting for treasure at our Charity Shop Distribution Centre in Plympton!

It’s at the warehouse that each year thousands of donated items are given by people who choose to drop them off there rather than in our charity shops. Clothes, coins, crockery, books, records, toys, games, jewellery – the sheer variety of the items we receive is something to behold! And all of them need careful sorting, which is where our volunteers come in.

“We call these volunteers our treasure hunters,” said Mark Kendall, Logistics and Recycling Manager. “That’s because they’ve developed a good eye for spotting the interesting and unusual – and sometimes highly collectable – items that can help us raise that bit more money for St Luke’s.

“They work hard, sifting through bric-a-brac before it’s allocated according to which of our shops it suits best, and always keeping an eye out for something special – so it can be an exciting role and there’s often a real buzz.”

On Saturday 21 April, there’s an opportunity to find out more at the Open Day at the Distribution Centre. From 11am to 3pm and open to everyone, it’s a family-friendly event with activities for children and a barbecue, as well as guided tours and taster sessions giving insight into what it’s like to be a ‘treasure hunter’ for St Luke’s. Those who attend will also see the recycling side, which generates income for our charity too.

Mark said: “Without these volunteers, things would grind to a halt. It’s their generosity in giving their time and skills that makes all the difference. And as well as sometimes finding that ‘treasure’, many volunteers say that expanding their circle of friends and feeling part of something as important as St Luke’s and the care we provide gives them an amazing boost.”

Event information:
Volunteer Open Day
Saturday 21 April 2018
11am to 3pm
St Luke’s Charity Shop Distribution Centre, Plympton, PL7 4JN. Directions.

No booking required, just turn up on the day!

For more information call 01752 401172 and ask for volunteer services.

With just two weeks left to register, places for our our Men’s Day Out on 24 March are going fast!

Not only is it an opportunity for a great time with your mates, it’s a chance to celebrate the memory of someone special.

This is just what a team from the Co-op depot in Plympton will be doing when they get together for the day of rugby and banter and walk in memory of Mark, younger brother of colleague Adam Weir, who was looked after by St Luke’s until he sadly passed away recently.

Adam’s colleague, Warehouse Shift Manager Alex Whitehouse, said: “We know from the great care Mark received – and the way St Luke’s cared for a colleague of mine when I was in the Navy – that the nurses there are all angels. They always go above and beyond.

“Mark meant so much to so many people. This is a great way to celebrate his life and raise money for a fantastic charity too. Currently, five of us have signed up and we’re recruiting others. It will be a great day out for an amazing cause!”

Men’s Day Out is powered by IU Energy and there’ll be an extra FREE pint on the day for every guy who raises £100 or more in sponsorship.

Sign up here!


Last year, the wonderful crew of the six yachts that took part in the Eddystone Pursuit on behalf of St Luke’s raised a fantastic £4,000 in prize money and sponsorship – enough for us to care for four patients and their families at home.

We’d love to match – or surpass! – that figure this year, to help us care for more people who need our compassionate care.

The Eddystone Pursuit is the South West’s biggest sailing fundraising event and is a 26 mile challenge to the Eddystone Lighthouse and back.

This year’s event is on 23 June and you can sign up from today. In doing so, you’ll experience an exhilarating challenge while making a difference to our patients when time is short.

If you have a boat or have the skills to lend a hand on deck and want to support St Luke’s, please contact Pete Ward in our Fundraising Department on 01752 492626 or email pward@stlukes-hopice.org.uk