As the Kingsbridge article in last month’s Hospice Herald highlighted, in addition to covering busy urban areas such as central Plymouth, St Luke’s care reaches out across rural areas, including the picturesque South Hams.

While picture-postcard pretty, these more isolated places can leave those residents approaching end of life struggling to access the health and social care they need and short on choice when it comes to their preferred place of receiving the specialist help that’s vital at such a difficult time.

Most people with a life limiting progressive illness want to be looked after in the comfort of their own home, close to loved ones. Cathryn Goodchild is a nurse in St Luke’s at home team for the South Hams and covers Modbury through to Chillington, including Kingsbridge, Salcombe and part of South Brent.

Cathryn said: “I’m very much part of team working alongside our physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and my role includes helping to identify patients’ problems, providing symptom control and working with patients and their families to consider options for future care.

“One of the problems is that due to the rural location we can’t automatically access carers through agencies and know that they can visit three or four times a day to meet the needs of our patients and support their carers and families. We’ve had to find alternatives to the ‘traditional’ package of care.”

This challenge has called for a creative and practical approach from St Luke’s to help ensure people in rural areas benefit from high-quality compassionate care in their preferred place. This can include help with washing and dressing, and sometimes overnight care, too. The key is our flourishing partnership with South Hams Hospital, district nurses and local GP surgeries.

Yvonne Bastin, Livewell Southwest Community Sister at South Hams Hospital, said: “Our rural location does present difficulties, and in the summer when there’s a big influx of visitors it impacts on our roads, so it takes much longer to reach patients. The heavy snow earlier this year was also a significant challenge for us.

“But Cathryn and the team are amazing. And it’s not just their practical support – Cathryn gives us advice on medication and getting care. We work well together on completing forms and she’s always there to help, speaking with our doctors, too. If she doesn’t know something, she’ll always find someone who does, whether that’s a St Luke’s doctor or another member of their team.

“Our patients want to be at home, and they know it’s the last place they’ll be. They want to be with their family, and if we can get them the support they need there – well, that’s the whole purpose of our care.”

With numerous charity shops on our high streets, it’s important to stand out when it comes to attracting more customers. And we think our Drake City Centre shop has that extra something that enhances its kerb appeal!

Thanks to City Council grant funding to smarten up shop frontages, the store now boasts attractive new signage that will be subtly illuminated after dark. Take a look next time you’re in the city centre – or perhaps when you’re late night shopping for Christmas – and see our St Luke’s branding standing out 24/7.

It’s always so encouraging when we hear about the challenges our supporters are taking on for St Luke’s, but to hear about an intrepid individual taking on six to raise £40,000? That’s inspiring – and then some!

Busy mum Claire Lemasurier, who lives in Tavistock, generously gives her time to help organise the fundraising skydives for our charity. Now she’s going to greater lengths to raise more funds for our care by taking on six tough expeditions in a year.

To fit in the intensive training needed to tackle her mammoth year of trekking from next April – first in Machu Picchu, followed by Mount Elbrus, Mount Everest base camp, Kilimanjaro and cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia, capped off with the once-in-a-lifetime St Luke’s trek to Malawi in 2020 – Claire dons a 15kg backpack three times a week when she walks to pick her children, aged 10 and 11, from school. She also regularly puts in training at Peak Fitness in Tavistock.

“It’s hard work juggling working, training, volunteering and the kids,” said Claire, who grew up walking on Dartmoor. “But it will be worth it if I can raise all the money. Seeing my kids’ faces when I told them my plan – they were so inspired!”

You can follow Claire’s journey and send her your messages of encouragement at This Girl Can Trek on Facebook and Instagram, and if you – or anyone you know – are interested in taking part in our exciting Malawi 2020 Challenge, check out our webpage.

Go, Claire! And thank you for doing something so amazing for St Luke’s.

Our hearts have been warmed by two local children who’ve shown that as well as being enthusiastic and enterprising, they’re very caring as well.

Gabriel Richardson, who attends St George’s Church of England Primary Academy, got on his bike to take part in Tour de Moor with his dad, Tony, raising nearly £300 for St Luke’s. Aware of the care we give, and of the privilege of being fit and healthy themselves, they harnessed their pedal power in our annual cycling challenge on Dartmoor.

“We’ve often cheered from the sidelines at charity races, but this was an opportunity to get stuck into a challenge together, something a little bit tough, to help people needing St Luke’s specialist care,” said Tony.

“I thought we would cycle in ‘dual formation’ side by side, but Gabe was determined to do the route under his own steam. In the early stages he declared it was the best day of his life. That later changed to “Never again!”, but at bedtime that day – when I reminded him how the hard work he’d put in would help poorly people – he smiled and I just knew he would be happy to do it all over again.

“Gabe has just turned eight and I couldn’t be more proud of him, as is everyone else who supported him. It blew us away that his initial target of raising £100 was met within just 12 hours and, thanks to the generosity of family and friends, this grew to nearly £300. It’s great, too, that the Just Giving page we set up is there for him to look back on as a lovely reminder of what he achieved to help other people.”

Meanwhile, big-hearted Madeleine Newstead got together with her friends at Woodlands School in Ivybridge, to sell cakes, jewellery, paperweights and other items they’d made themselves to raise money for our charity by having a stall at the school. Together, the young entrepreneurs made over £170!

While Maddy is the granddaughter of St Luke’s trustee Steve Newstead, she was not aware of his role with our charity at the time she decided to roll up her sleeves to get cooking and crafting to help us.

Steve said: “Maddy did this off her own bat and she and her friends did a great job. I was delighted to hear that it was all in aid of St Luke’s, and encouraged at their awareness of what our charity is about. It just goes to show, you’re never too young to make a difference.”

The hills and woods of Dartmoor were alive with mud, sweat and gears today, Sunday 30 September, as hundreds of people donned their yellow tee-shirts and got on their bikes in support of St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

Once again, the charity’s annual Tour de Moor cycling challenge was a sellout, with adrenalin-seekers taking on the tough 23km route or the gruelling 52km route, putting their skills to the ultimate test by tackling the hills up to Princetown.

Young families took part in their droves, too, following the more gentle 11km route along Drake’s Trail, enjoying ‘selfie’ stops, a hot chocolate and a quiz along the way.
Sponsored by Print Copy Scan, a local supplier of printers and copiers, Tour de Moor provides for every level of cycling ability while raising vital funds that help St Luke’s extend its specialist end of life care to more people who desperately need it at home, in hospital and at the specialist unit at Turnchapel.

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Braving the 52km route was a father taking on the toughest challenge in memory of his beloved son. It was a poignant day for Chris Weir, 69, of Plympton, participating to support St Luke’s following their care for son Mark, who sadly passed away in January this year aged just 36, having been admitted to the specialist unit at Turnchapel over Christmas, following time in hospital.
At Turnchapel, Mark was able to spend precious time with visiting family, including his children, who received support through St Luke’s Patches pre-bereavement programme for youngsters facing the loss of a parent.

Clive said: “Mark was always up for a challenge. He was so brave and I’m so proud of him. St Luke’s gave such great care, which helped him to die peacefully but also to live until he died. Events like Tour de Moor are important because the more people who know about St Luke’s, the greater their impact.”

And riding the 23km route in memory of step-father Steve Mills – who passed way at the specialist unit three years ago – was Daniel White, who lives in Plymstock.

Daniel said: “’Daddy Steve’ as we knew him was an amazing guy. I’ll always remember how friendly everyone was when we visited him and the beautiful gardens where we could just sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings together. My mum was able to stay at St Luke’s with Steve and the staff were so reassuring and good at explaining things.”

Also taking part in the 23km were couple Dave and Jay Trestain from Padstow, Cornwall, cheered on by young daughter, Dora, and Dave’s mum, Jane. Dave, who is receiving treatment for cancer, was excited to be doing Tour de Moor for the second year and pleased the timing of the event fitted in after recent surgery.

Jay said: “It was so brilliant doing Tour de Moor together last year that we’ve both looked forward to it – the anticipation has helped us a lot. There’s such a great party atmosphere with loads of other families.”

With Tour de Moor raising almost £100,000 last year and the event once again completely selling out this time, people of all ages rallied to make it a day to remember.

Among them were five-year-old Jacob Cottam and dad Chris of Plympton, who took on the more gentle 11km route along Drake’s Trail. They heard about the annual event through Jacob’s school, Plymouth College, and were excited to be combining fitness with fundraising for St Luke’s.

Chris said: “First thing this morning, Jacob was so excited he dived on me! It’s such a great thing for us to do together and it really has the feel-good factor. It was great to see everyone enjoying such an electric atmosphere.”

Lewis Gunn, 25, and Ryan Mortlemans are friends who signed up for Tour de Moor for the sheer exhilaration of the challenge and took on the 23km route together. Lewis said: “We both do loads of cycling and this was a great opportunity to take on a more extreme challenge. Parts of it were pretty gruelling but it was all amazing. It’s Plymouth’s answer to the Tour de France!”

All the funds raised from today’s Tour de Moor will help the care St Luke’s gives everywhere from Salcombe to East Cornwall via Tavistock and the moors, supporting families as much as patients.

Claire Luckhurst, Event Fundraiser for St Luke’s said, “What a fantastic day! We’re hugely grateful to everyone who’s braved the course today. It’s an incredible achievement and the money they’ve raised will go direct to our compassionate care for patients and their families when time is running short. Everyone who took part has done us all proud!”

St Luke’s would like to recognise the kindness of the Maristow Estate and Buckland Abbey for providing the use of their land this year, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Devon and Cornwall

4 x 4 Response for their vital support, and the Plume of Feathers pub for help with facilities.

Register your interest for Tour de Moor 2019.

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.