Known as ‘the stuff of legends’, the Marathon des Sables is the toughest foot race on Earth.

So we have been blown away by the awe-inspiring achievements of two friends who have shown true grit (and then some!) by completing this most gruelling of challenges to support us, raising a fantastic £8,000 – and still counting.

Their personal reasons for getting behind our charity enabled Jamie Shewbrook and Jonathan Gliddon, who live in Plymouth, to muster the huge mental and physical strength needed to endure the multi-stage, mixed terrain race, which covers over 156 miles in the harshest of environments – the Sahara Desert.

Jonathan’s decision to support St Luke’s took on extra significance for him when his cousin Richard was admitted to our specialist unit at Turnchapel just before the race. Knowing time was running short for Richard, and that he was receiving our compassionate care, enabled Jonathan to dig extra deep and overcome chronic back pain, disturbances of vision, heatstroke and having to have each toe lanced daily to complete the incredible challenge.

Jonathan said: “The race takes you to extremes – not just physically but mentally, too. When I felt ready to quit, knowing Richard was at St Luke’s gave me that extra push to keep going despite the pain and harsh conditions.

“Incredibly, on the final day of the race I seemed to get extra strength from somewhere and it wasn’t until after I’d finished that I learned it was then that Richard had passed away.”

Before taking on the Marathon des Sables, Jamie – who saw three friends receive St Luke’s care – had already raised an amazing £27,000 for us, including conquering Mount Kilimanjaro in 2003, trekking across the Arctic with huskies, cycling to John O’Groates and more.

Completing the Marathon des Sables had long been a goal for him, and finishing 97th out of 1,000 was the icing on the cake!

He said: “Each day of the race got harder and harder for different reasons, whether it was the terrain, heat or distance. The longest was Day 4, when I covered over 53 miles in 13 hours 17 minutes.

“The long stage was the most gruelling but also the most satisfying. I knew then that all I had to do was complete a marathon on Day 6 and I would have achieved my goal.

“All the way through, it helped to know I was making a difference for St Luke’s. Most people in Plymouth have been touched or know someone who has been cared for by the team. It’s such a fantastic local charity and really needs our support.”

Well done, Jamie and Jonathan! And thank you so much – the money you have raised will make a big difference.

We hope you’ve been enjoying a well-deserved rest!

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!

Year 12 and 13 students from Plympton Academy spent the day at St Luke’s to learn more about the role of hospice care in our community and the skills required to pursue a career in health and social care. The students are studying the BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care.

If your school or college is interested in a similar experience, please contact Sister Sue Horsfall | shorsfall@stlukes-hospice.org.uk or call 01752 401172.


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

Each February, Student Volunteering Week encourages students to get involved with civic life and make a difference.

Among our student volunteers here at St Luke’s are Plymouth University students Olivia Ridholls, 19, and Georgina Miller, 21. They told us about their roles and what volunteering with our charity means to them.

Second-year business student Olivia said: “I’ve been aware of St Luke’s for a long time as my parents do the Lottery and I’ve seen the branding around the city. When I wanted to give some time to making a difference locally, I knew I couldn’t do better than volunteer with St Luke’s.
“I’m with the Events team within Fundraising one day a week and have a great title – Volunteer Treasure Hunter! This means I’m often on the phone talking to various businesses and encouraging them to support St Luke’s by donating goods for our events. For example, I recently helped by securing 27 barrels of beer from Salcombe Brewery for our Men’s Day Out – that’s 1,950 pints!

“I love the role and it’s a great fit for my business course, too. Since starting at St Luke’s my confidence has really grown, which helped me when I applied for a placement as part of the next stage of my degree. I couldn’t have asked to be with a nicer team, and I would love to come back and continue volunteering here during my final year.”

Georgina, who is studying for a masters degree in brand design and management, said: “I’m mum to my six-year-old son as well as being a student, but I really wanted to volunteer as well because I feel it’s important to give something back.

“I enjoy volunteering with St Luke’s so much that I have not just one role, but two! I started with one day a week in the Drake charity shop in the city centre. Later, through a business networking event at the University, I heard about the opportunity with the Events team and learned a lot more about the various sides of the charity. I joined in June and help in any way that’s needed, from placing signage and stock-taking to briefing other volunteers. I love the variety and the people.

“I’m really proud to be part of St Luke’s and volunteering here is giving me really helpful examples I can use in my coursework, so it’s benefiting my studies too. Working in fundraising is great experience for a marketing career so this is ideal for me, and I know I’m helping a fantastic charity at the same time.”

Cuz Cussen is a man on a mission, giving Plymouth people a live music extravaganza to remember while raising as much money as possible for St Luke’s and the care we give our patients and their families.

Cuz is the man behind the city’s annual two-day Rockfest, which will reach its tenth anniversary of raising money for St Luke’s this spring. He started the event 17 years ago, fundraising for various charities close to his heart, and it was following the death of his beloved mum Dot, in May 2008, that he decided to donate all the money raised each year to St Luke’s.

During the last few months of her life, Dot received care from St Luke’s and spent her last few days at Turnchapel. Seeing at first hand the dedication and compassion of our team meant that St Luke’s gained a special place in Cuz’s heart, which has spurred him on to raise an incredible £77,932 through Rockfest for our end of life care.

Cuz, who sadly lost his father just a few months after Dot passed away, works tirelessly to organise and deliver the event at Crash Manor nightclub in Union Street. With 20 bands playing everything from rock to reggae and blues to punk over the two days, plus a raffle with a variety of great prizes, it is a regular fixture in the city and Cuz is always moved by the generosity of those who support it.

“The bands play for no fee, and I’m always blown away by how generously people give at Rockfest,” said Cuz. “I think it’s all a testament to how many people’s lives have been touched by St Luke’s and how highly we all think of the charity. It’s my aim to just keep going and get to £100,000 by 2020. Organising it all is very intense – I’m running on empty afterwards – but what a buzz! It is great to be giving something back to the place that cared for mum so well.”

This year’s Rockfest is on 31 March and 1 April (1pm until late). Tickets are £10 per day on the door and as it is a family-friendly event, entry for under-18s is free, although they can’t stay past 7.30pm.

Bands confirmed for this year include Stone Vulture, Rusty Angels and Funky Munks.

Keep on rocking, Cuz – we appreciate all you do for us!

Get involved…
Rockfest 2018 on Facebook
Rockfest 2018 on Twitter

 

 

Thank you to Plymouth Argyle Football Club for putting its best foot forward to support our Sponsor a Nurse campaign.

Recently two of the players, Jamie Ness and Luke McCormick, visited our specialist unit at Turnchapel to meet some of our nurses and see for themselves the compassionate care St Luke’s provides.

 

 

Wow, what a night! As part of their support for our Sponsor a Nurse campaign, Plymouth Argyle dedicated a recent home match – beating rivals Northampton Town in the process!

It was wonderful to see the players in their St Luke’s t-shirts, and we’re grateful to the club and the fans who demonstrated such tremendous support for our charity.

Recently, a keen fundraiser and St Luke’s Lottery winner visited the specialist unit at Turnchapel to collect his £1,000 cheque and enjoy a special cream tea.

Lesley Coulton, Regular Giving and Lottery Manager, and Paola Simoneschi, Communications Officer, had the pleasure of meeting retired stonemason Raymond Shipton, who shared with them treasured memories of Tricia, his beloved wife of 58 years, who was cared for at Derriford and passed away in the summer. Raymond’s niece, Susan Van Neck, was a patient at St Luke’s many years before.

Over the tea and scones, Raymond spoke movingly about Tricia and the life they shared. “Tricia was a very, very special person and we had the most wonderful life together,” he said. “We met when we were really young. In fact Tricia was just nine when I first saw her – I was delivering the newspaper to her house,” he said. “Later, we attended a youth club together and school in Horrabridge, and we were inseparable.”

The couple married after Raymond completed National Service and went on to have three daughters. In later life came the joy of eight grandchildren, and the family continue to be very close.

Keen baker Raymond has been President of a Plymouth Lions Club twice. The Club has generously raised money for St Luke’s, and Raymond remains a very active member.

“I’m so pleased Raymond was able to visit us to receive his cheque,” said Lesley. “It was a real privilege to meet him and particularly special to hear his memories of Tricia.”

In his gratitude for receiving the Lottery cheque, Raymond presented Lesley with a cheque for £100 for St Luke’s.

Inspirational Espi - Esperanza Merry

 

Inspirational Espi - Esperanza Merry

Among St Luke’s fantastic volunteers there’s a special person who’s packed an impressive amount into her young life and is a great inspiration to all around her, whatever their age!

A familiar face at the specialist unit at Turnchapel, where she gives her time to help on reception and serve in the Driftwood Cafe, 17-year-old Esperanza Merry was recently named Volunteer of the Month by Improving Lives Plymouth. Meeting Espi, as she likes to be known, it’s easy to see why – her enthusiasm for giving back to St Luke’s, which cared for her grandfather at the end of his life, bubbles over.

I was incredibly close to my grandfather and losing him was very hard,” said Espi, who is half Peruvian and grew up in Plymouth. “I wanted to honour him, and volunteering at St Luke’s is an important part of that. Being on reception and working in the Cafe means I frequently meet families visiting a loved one, and I can really relate to some of what they must be feeling.”

Espi is not a ‘typical teenager’. By the age of 11 she had competed in – and won – over 40 tennis tournaments worldwide. However, in 2011 a life-threatening infection in her hip led to septic arthritis and not only did this impact her professional tennis career, she was expected to be in wheelchair for the rest of her life. With the help of surgery, physiotherapy and her own grit and determination though, she gradually progressed to walking on crutches and then completely unsupported, although she still has to deal with constant pain.

Inspirational Espi made her mark along the way, becoming the world junior champion in wheelchair tennis. Although it was a huge part of her life, she has since retired from the sport to follow other interests. As part of this, she is studying business at City College.

Listening to Espi, it’s clear she is very happy to juggle her studies and volunteering. It’s also obvious that this is someone who relishes a challenge!

Due to my experience of hospitals, I’m not phased by the hospice environment but volunteering on reception was daunting at first,” she said. “I want to work on my weaker areas though, and this is really helping to build my confidence. Plus, I’m surrounded by people who are an inspiration to me – the staff, fellow volunteers and the patients and their families.”

If Espi has inspired you to volunteer with St Luke’s – or to speak with friends or family about volunteering – the new year could be a great time to start!

Find out more here: https://www.stlukes-hospice.org.uk/volunteering/