We never cease to be amazed at the wonderful ways our community gets behind us, and we’re sure you’ll agree these supporters deserve a special mention and a big thank you.

And the bride wore…cake!

It’s your wedding day and you’re looking radiant, celebrating together with loved ones. What could possibly make the day more memorable?

For bride Jo, who recently married Tom Thorne at Sturtlebury Barn in Loddiswell, it was something very unusual – and messy!

When the guests voted for which member of the wedding party should receive a cake in the face for St Luke’s, they chose Jo, who – despite looking beautiful in her special dress –  sportingly took it not just on the chin but over her entire face!

Jo said: “Tom and I wanted to do something to help St Luke’s because we have all had loved ones cared for by the amazing team.

“Little did I know I’d be the ‘lucky’ one to get a cake in the face – and I do think Tom took far too much pleasure in splatting me! But it was all for a fantastic cause and gave us some very interesting wedding photos, too!”

Nailing it for St Luke’s

When you’re just hours away from jumping 15,000ft from a plane for charity, it’s usually a nail-biting time. For Bernadette Mullarkey though, damaging her nails was something she definitely wanted to avoid!

Plucky Bernadette, who was bravely taking part in a skydive for St Luke’s in memory of her dad, Rodney, got her nails done to mark the occasion and went all out with St Luke’s colours and logo on her fingertips, as you can see!

She said: “My dad was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lung cancer and sadly passed away after a very short battle; it was his wish to die at home surrounded by loved ones. St Luke’s offered us both physical and emotional support and were just incredible, enabling us to keep our promise to our dad.”

“Not only did they make my dad as comfortable as possible and care for him in his final stages of his life, they allowed him to die with dignity. We as a family are so grateful.”

Paula goes up in the world

With Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) getting behind us as their charity of the year, their fundraising has been reaching new heights!

Recently, Housing Officer Paula Williams went above and beyond to bravely venture up on the roof of one of the landmark 43m-high Mount Wise Towers after she was ‘persuaded’ to take on the challenge, raising sponsorship money for St Luke’s in the process.

It’s not every day a Housing Officer finds herself encountering the dizzy heights of being 17 floors up, so how did it come about?

Once a month the roofs of all three towers undergo inspection to ensure they’re in good order. While this is normally carried out by specialists in building safety, Pete Bold from PCH’s Minor Works team invited Paula to don the harness and join in with an inspection as a highly original way to support St Luke’s.

Paula, who used to work in community outreach, still remembers a local man she met while running a supper club for socially isolated older men and how wonderfully St Luke’s cared for him at the end of his life.

She said: “I had a real soft spot for Gilbert and so felt this was something really good I could do to help the charity.”

When she visited Turnchapel for a tour, Paula told us: “I’m no fan of heights so when I came out of the tower’s roof hatch I was shaking. Wearing the safety harness and using ropes, I had to make my way all around the edge.

“I then got the privilege of the most amazing views across the whole of the city, the moors and over to Cornwall – incredible!”

 

St Luke’s care extends to isolated rural areas as well as across Plymouth and large towns, and we’re all too aware that not everyone has equal access to healthcare, particularly when it comes to the specialist care needed when a person is approaching the end of life.

While most people with a terminal illness want to die at home, we know that those living in rural areas suffer less choice with end of life care than their urban counterparts and many simply cannot die at home, due to a lack of care agencies.

As part of our Compassionate Communities initiative – which aims to facilitate communities where everyone recognises we all have a role in supporting each other, particularly during periods of crisis or loss – we are keen to enable choice and compassion in rural as well as urban areas, benefiting both the dying person and their loved ones caring for them at home as it is these ‘informal’ carers who can often feel very isolated and unsure where to turn for help.

Earlier this year, at the Who Cares in Kingsbridge event, we met individuals and voluntary groups from the rural market town who told us that while they’re keen to work together in a supportive network, this could not succeed without a dedicated individual to provide a co-ordinated approach.

They spoke and we listened! And now, following a successful bid to Hospice UK for grant funding, we are set to employ a Community Network Co-ordinator for Kingsbridge. Once appointed, they will work across the patch to help build up the community’s capacity to support people at the end of life and the loved ones caring.

Crucially, the role will focus on development and training of individuals as Compassionate Friends, including producing a toolkit and ‘training’ them to do the ‘little’ things – such as making meals, shopping, providing a listening ear and company – that make a big difference to those going through such challenging times. The Co-ordinator will also train up Compassionate Champions, who can in turn train Compassionate Friends in much the same way that Dementia Champions nurture Dementia Friends.

Central to this new post will be developing and training volunteer end of life compassionate co-ordinators to co-ordinate networks in the area, creating Compassionate Friends and working alongside existing voluntary groups to support carers in a joined-up way, to work with formal care-givers such as nurses and personal assistants (paid carers) to wrap services around the carer and the person they look after.

A key outcome of this project will be healthcare professionals recognising and legitimising informal caring networks. With many individuals and groups to consider, another important outcome will be an ‘asset map’ of the community, a helpful resource that can be accessed online by both the public and professionals.

In addition, the ‘My Supportive Network’ tool produced will allow carers to identify their local supportive network and enable them to tap into voluntary services that can help.

This community project aims to support and train 350 people and make a real difference in Kingsbridge and surrounding areas with a model that can then be tailored to benefit other communities, too.

Gail Wilson, Deputy Director of Clinical Services and Head of Education at St Luke’s, said: “Death, dying and bereavement are inevitable parts of life but they are not primarily medical events. We know that end of life care and the experiences of those who are left behind impacts on them hugely, and we need to develop new ways of working that provide more help and support both while their loved one is alive and after.

“St Luke’s is committed to working with our local communities, such as Kingsbridge, to realise the potential of informal networks and develop a more effective model that promotes compassionate carer support and choice for those at the end of life, so that they can die at home with those they love.”

This summer was extra blooming lovely, thanks to another highly successful Open Gardens season for St Luke’s – the ninth since it became an official part of our charity’s calendar of events.

The annual extravaganza sees wonderful gardens across Devon and Cornwall throw open their gates to welcome members of the public, some green-fingered and others there simply to enjoy the peaceful and enchanting surroundings and perhaps a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a plant sale, too.

As well welcoming back the ‘hardy perennials’ – the gardens whose owners kindly open them for St Luke’s each year – we bedded in some new gardens this summer, and some not usually open to the public, giving an exclusive glimpse of hidden gems.

Over 25 dates throughout the season, 108 gardens welcomed 4,783 visitors in total – each of these representing considerable dedication, hard work and often monetary investment of their owners, as well as help from friends and neighbours to make the day a success.

Thanks to entry fees, raffles, plant sales and donations, Open Gardens raised £48,000 this year – plus £10,000 from our generous sponsor, Portcullis Legals.

The continued blossoming of the scheme means it has now brought in over £330,000 for our patient care since it started.

Wayne Marshall, Community Fundraiser for St Luke’s, is the man who tirelessly co-ordinates the many strands of this big annual event. He said: “There’s a real feel-good factor to Open Gardens. The wonderful thing is that the gardens are located in the areas where we provide our specialist care, so not just in the big towns but some of the little villages, too.

“It’s a lovely combination of gardens with histories that in some cases stretch back hundreds of years – often with amazing specimens – to the pretty smaller gardens that make up the popular village walkabouts.

“What’s fantastic is the way it brings people in those communities together – from residents growing plants in advance to schools making scarecrows and people baking cakes. There are hundreds of volunteers and community groups involved and I want to say a big thank you to them, as well as to Portcullis Legals whose generous sponsorship also makes a big difference.”

Never one to rest on his laurels(!), Wayne is already busy with planning for next year’s Open Gardens, which will be extra special as the scheme celebrates its tenth anniversary.

When asked to reveal some of the treats in store, he said: “We already have 18 dates booked in for garden openings, and much-loved local artist and St Luke’s Patron Brian Pollard will be designing a special anniversary brochure for us, which is really exciting.

“I really look forward to Open Gardens. It’s just a lovely thing to be part of.”

Learn more about Open Gardens 2019

With Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) getting behind us as their charity of the year, their fundraising has been reaching new heights!

Recently, Housing Officer Paula Williams went above and beyond to bravely venture up on the roof of one of the landmark 43m-high Mount Wise Towers after she was ‘persuaded’ to take on the challenge, raising sponsorship money for St Luke’s in the process.

It’s not every day a Housing Officer finds herself encountering the dizzy heights of being 17 floors up, so how did it come about?

Once a month the roofs of all three towers undergo inspection to ensure they’re in good order. While this is normally carried out by specialists in building safety, Pete Bold from PCH’s Minor Works team invited Paula to don the harness and join in with an inspection as a highly original way to support St Luke’s.

Paula, who used to work in community outreach, still remembers a local man she met while running a supper club for socially isolated older men and how wonderfully St Luke’s cared for him at the end of his life.

She said: “I had a real soft spot for Gilbert and so felt this was something really good I could do to help the charity.”

When she visited Turnchapel for a tour, Paula told us: “I’m no fan of heights so when I came out of the tower’s roof hatch I was shaking. Wearing the safety harness and using ropes, I had to make my way all around the edge.

“I then got the privilege of the most amazing views across the whole of the city, the moors and over to Cornwall – incredible!”

Learn more about becoming St Luke’s charity of the year.

Our fundraising events volunteers are our unsung heroes. There to give a smile and cheer of encouragement when the going gets tough and to make your personal challenge unforgettable.

Raising money to ensure patients and their families get the support they need, when they need it is a real team effort. In fact, an event volunteer plays as much of a role in making this care possible as the people taking part. Without them the event would simply not happen and we are truly grateful for this amazing act of kindness.

Did you know it takes 80 volunteers to put on our Tour de Moor cycling event?

Volunteers are urgently required to help at Tour de Moor on the morning of Sunday 30 September at Yelverton. From marshalling to helping on the water station and registration desk, if you can spare a few hours – we’d love to hear from you.

Drop us a line, events@stlukes-hospice.org.uk, call 01752 492626 or drop us a DM on social media.


At St Luke’s, we have a wealth of expertise in end of life care and we don’t just keep it to ourselves. We share our knowledge, skills and experience to help other healthcare professionals and the people they look after.

Along with members of our clinical staff, our Education team is set to facilitate an event for the East Cornwall Primary Care team this November. Aimed at a range of healthcare practitioners, including GPs, nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, it will focus on how best to support patients and their families when it comes to advance care planning (ACP).

This future planning can ensure an individual’s choices are considered in clinical decision making if the individual has lost the capacity to communicate their choices should certain situations arise.

However, ACP can involve some sensitive and often challenging decisions around issues such as resuscitation and refusal of treatment, and can therefore be avoided by both the individual themselves or the healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care.

The training session will aim to help by breaking down some of the associated taboos and barriers, looking at ways to initiate the conversation in a patient-centred way.

It will also focus on the legal requirements behind the discussions and decisions, such as human rights and mental capacity, and highlight the tools and documentation available to support these conversations, such as treatment escalation plans and mental capacity assessments. Learn more about bespoke training and courses available to healthcare professionals.

With St Luke’s having cared for his friend Paula Gerry, Nigel Croft from Tamerton Foliot was keen to give back to our charity. That’s why he grabbed his trainers and ran a staggering 100 miles in 24 hours!

Taking part in Hope 24 at Newnham Park, Nigel went without sleep to meet his target, and was joined by Paula’s husband Steve and many other friends for a couple of 5-mile laps.

Nigel said, “I knew Paula for almost 30 years and she was a dear friend. Always smiling and finding positive ways to help out and support our drama group, she was vibrant, friendly, a great organiser and had a tremendous sense of fun.

“Before she sadly lost her battle with cancer last November, Paula was helped and supported by St Luke’s and Pals of POOCH (Plymouth Oncology Outpatients and Chemotherapy), so this is my way of giving back to these special teams.”

Thank you, Nigel, for raising £2,050 for St Luke’s in memory of Paula. You really have gone that extra mile!

Pictured with Nigel is St Luke’s receptionist volunteer Angie Tourle, a former colleague of Nigel’s. Learn more how you can get involved with St Luke’s.


Got something you no longer want or need? Don’t just chuck it – use Gone for Good instead! Available for both Android and iPhones, this handy app is a great way to get rid of unwanted furniture or a bag of clothes you no longer need, for example, while giving the charity of your choice a boost.

All you need to do is download the free app, take a photo of the item you want to donate, add a brief description of the item and select the charity you want to benefit. You then add your contact details and the charity will be in touch to arrange collection for a time that suits you.

There you have it, a simple and convenient way to shift that unwanted item and do good at the same time. Please spread the word about this great little app – think about how much good it could do for St Luke’s! Learn more.

It’s bright and eye-catching and features several familiar friendly faces – it’s St Luke’s new volunteer recruitment campaign!

With ages ranging from 13 to 90, our volunteers are at the heart of St Luke’s and we simply couldn’t provide our vital services without them. Our challenge is to continue to attract these generous spirits so that whether it’s our events, our charity shops, our Distribution Centre or in the kitchen or in maintenance, we have a sufficient number of committed volunteers to work alongside our hardworking staff so that St Luke’s continues to deliver outstanding care. Thanks to the creative talent of the in-house Marketing and Communications team, we have a really strong suite of marketing materials to help with this. With vibrant and engaging posters, pullup banners, postcards, social media and TV animation, as well a dedicated ‘pod’ for events, the message that volunteering for St Luke’s makes an important difference will be well and truly out there!

Importantly, the campaign features some of the many inspiring volunteers from across our charity, so you’re bound to recognise a face or two. And using their words, which focus on what they’ve gained while they’ve been giving back, adds real impact.

Sanna Tyrvainen, Volunteer Services Manager at St Luke’s, said: “With an organisation of our size that provides such a vital service, we need to recruit volunteers all year round and can never be complacent. Our many shops, in particular, require a lot of volunteers to help ensure they run smoothly. “In fact, we have an urgent need for more retail volunteers and we hope this campaign will help spread the message. People don’t have to commit huge amounts of time – the willingness to give a couple of hours a week can make a big difference.”

If you or anyone you know would like to find out more about volunteering with St Luke’s, please go to our website or call 01752 401172.

If you usually bypass charity shops, it’s well worth having a re-think!

Our St Luke’s charity shop at Ridgeway, Plympton, is throwing open its doors on the evening of Thursday 6 September and everyone is welcome.

Pop in between 5pm and 8pm to find out about the shop and also the role of our fantastic volunteers, who give their time knowing our shops bring in vital income that we couldn’t do without.

With nibbles kindly supplied by the Co-op, wine, and musical entertainment from the U3A Plym Chords Fun Choir, it’s a great opportunity to meet our lovely shop manager Trudi, too.

We look forward to seeing you!