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Making memories marcia's story. Marcia pictured with St Luke's nurse

We will always do whatever we can to support local families touched by terminal illness and this includes helping them make special memories.

That’s why, when we received a plea for help from Ryan Lidley, we sprang into action, determined to make sure his wedding to fiancée Naomi was a day to remember for his much-loved great auntie Marcia, whose cancer left her unable to attend the event she had been so looking forward to.

With Marcia receiving our care at her home in Keyham, Ryan sent us an email hoping we could show her how to use a laptop so she could watch the service from the comfort of her armchair. What he got in response went way beyond his expectations when we pulled out all the stops to do that and more besides!

 

 

With the ‘can do’ attitude typical of our team, we attended the service at Ridgeway Methodist Church so that we could live stream it, ensuring Marcia didn’t miss out on being part of the happy occasion. Dressed in her finery, she treasured every moment – including the wave from the vicar! We even laid on a spread of baked goodies for her to enjoy just as she would have done at the couple’s reception.

Marcia said: “I can’t put into words what it meant to me to see the service as it happened. It was wonderful! I sat for the rest of the day, thinking about it. It’s so important to be left with memories and that is what St Luke’s did for me. I am so grateful to have this charity in our city.”

St Luke’s Healthcare Assistant Lynn was there alongside Marcia to make sure she was feeling comfortable throughout. She said: “We knew Ryan and Naomi’s wedding was very, very important to Marcia so it was important to us, too. It gave me such a boost to know I was doing something to help.”

The last word goes to the groom, Ryan. He said: “My great auntie is such a lovely and loving lady. When we were talking about the fact that she wouldn’t be able to physically make it to the wedding, it was the first time I’d ever seen her cry. I made it my goal to come up with a solution, but never did I guess quite how much St Luke’s would go above and beyond. It made our big day all the more special and I’ll always remember their kindness.”

Colin Pincombe, St Luke’s Impact Volunteer Partner in the South Hams, rounds up the news on what’s been happening across the area to support our charity’s compassionate care in the community.

“Our volunteers are gradually mobilising after the lockdown. Recently, the Friends in Modbury held a most successful stand at the Modbury Fair, selling clothes, accessories and raffle tickets to raise almost £500. This is a really sociable and supportive group, and it is a pleasure to be associated with them.

“My dream is to form one or two similar groups elsewhere in the South Hams – maybe in Kingsbridge, Salcombe or Ivybridge. Membership can lead to lasting friendships, while supporting an essential local healthcare charity. Do get in touch with me if you might be able to help – please see contact details below.

“With the easing of some lockdown restrictions, St Luke’s Open Gardens scheme has been able to proceed. In the South Hams the weather was glorious for our events at Lower Combe Royal (Kingsbridge) and Gnaton Hall (near Newton Ferrers); it was a little cloudy at Lukesland (Ivybridge), but this did not detract from the fabulous flora and scrumptious cakes.

“Future Open Gardens are at Lower Combe Royal (Kingsbridge) on 20 June and Sommerswood Lakes (South Brent) on 11 July. More will follow, and further information can be found here. Here you will see there’s also the opportunity to win an original painting by Brian Pollard. We are so grateful to the owners who open their beautiful gardens in aid of St Luke’s.

“A Compassionate Café was opened in Kingsbridge in mid-June. This enables anyone who is looking after someone who is dying, has been bereaved or is living with a life-limiting illness to talk to someone with a sympathetic ear. Where needed, more specialised services can be signposted to provide specific advice. Do come along to the Compassionate Café for tea, coffee and a chat, every second and fourth Saturday, 10.30am – 12.30pm, at Harbour House Café, Kingsbridge. Please contact the café organiser, Linda Christian, on 07517 019131 in advance to say that you wish to attend or for more information.

“We have been chosen to be sponsored by the Lions Club of Ivybridge and to run a stand at their annual Fun Day on 10 July at the Rugby Club, Cross-in-Hand, Filham, Ivybridge. Please visit us there or, better still, put on your straw hats and come to enjoy The Wurzels on 9 July from 7pm. Booking and further information can be found here.

“There are many other events further afield, such as the Eddystone Lighthouse Challenge. Nine boats have entered in aid of St Luke’s, all from the Plymouth area, so I’m looking for an entry to represent the South Hams. See Sail for St Luke’s for details.

“Do contact me if you feel you might be able to help – 01752 492626 / cpincombe@stlukes-hospice.org.uk.”

With an increasing ageing population, hospices like ours can’t reach everyone who needs our care and, for the majority of people it will be their GP, and their teams, that look after them at home at end of life.

When this care is high quality, planned and consistent, patients and their carers benefit, and – thanks to the Daffodil Standards, a free resource introduced earlier this year by the Royal College of General Practitioners and Marie Curie – there’s clear guidance with simple steps that are helping hardworking GPs and their practice teams of nurses, receptionists, healthcare assistants and pharmacists work more closely together and make simple yet effective changes that benefit people whose time is running short.

Experienced GPs and healthcare professionals helped to develop the standards, making sure they fit into the work these teams are already doing, rather than adding to their workload.

Quite simply, the Daffodil Standards help the whole practice team to spot areas for improvement and build on the good care they already provide.

It’s not about ticking boxes, but building the confidence of staff and a compassionate culture, recognising when someone needs support earlier, and sensitively involving patients and their families in their care.

Life is precious, and better support in this area for patients means they can focus on enjoying the time they have left rather than worrying about how to get the care and support they need.

Read more at the standards here.