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Image from Craig's run and an image of Craig with his Father
Completing a half marathon, 10K or 5K can mean so much more than a fitness challenge and you runners do a fantastic job of keeping St Luke’s close to your hearts. It makes us beam with pride when we see you clocking up the miles sporting our charity’s name across your chest. Collectively this year’s runners  have raised over £14,000 and still counting. That’s enough to provide a full package of care including bereavement support for over 14 families at home.

For kind-hearted runner Craig from Hartley Vale in Plymouth, it was a run to remember in more ways than one. It was a way to say thank you for the care that his father and mother-in-law received in their final days, both at home and in our specialist unit at Turnchapel.
With the help of his supportive friends and family, he was able to take on the challenge motivated by his precious memories of those he had lost and the St Luke’s nurses who made a difference in those final days.
Make your next run matter, run for St Luke’s. Whether it’s the Ocean City Half Marathon, the Plymouth 10k, the South West Coastal Path, Coast to Coast, the London Marathon or even the Marathon De Sable in the Sahara Desert, your amazing efforts will make all the difference to our vital patient care. Click here for information.
You can support Craig via his Just Giving page.

Biking bravehearts smash Compass Points Challenge

980 miles by bike in just ten days? They smashed it!

We’re in awe of the brave bunch who took on the epic challenge of covering England – north to south and east to west – on two wheels in aid of our charity, despite being relatively new to life in the saddle. Achieving all this in just ten days makes it all the more remarkable – that’s up to 11-and-half hours’ cycling a day for each of them!

Though the pandemic put paid to their plans to cycle to Barcelona last year, Dan Turner, Becky Smith, Tony Dinham, Jake Ryan, Max Hembroke and Jordey Logan could not be deterred from getting on their bikes for us and hatched a new plan. And – when the going got really tough – memories of their loved ones cared for by St Luke’s spurred them on, mile after gruelling mile.

As part of their route, which saw them cross the Meridian Line, go over (and under!) rivers and pass stone circles, they made a special stop-off at Turnchapel to meet some of our nurses who were there to cheer them on.

Dan said: “We’d never done anything like this before and there’s no denying the challenge felt brutal at times, but we were spurred on by memories friends and family cared for by St Luke’s, including my mum and my nan. We’re determined to give something back to the charity to say thank-you for such superb care. It’s the least we can do to support such a vital resource for our community.”

Huge thanks to all the cyclists, plus their support team Al Filbey and Chloe Dinham. We’re also really grateful to everyone who’s backed them with donations, taking them to a fantastic total of £7,115 – and counting!

If you’d like to add your donation, please click here.

Learn more about St Luke’s cycle challenges here.

A (ten) grand day for Elaine!

Friday 13 August turned out to be a very lucky date indeed for the winner of our weekly lottery rollover prize, Elaine from South East Cornwall. It wasn’t just a grand day – it was a ten-grand day, thanks to the news that she’d scooped £10,000!

To Elaine, who is disabled and lives with her much-loved dog Leah, her bumper win feels ‘life-changing’ after so many years spent struggling just to get by. She said: “When I got the call, it came as a huge shock but a very, very good one! It is more money than I have ever had all at one time and what it has given me is priceless. I now have peace of mind, knowing I can finally afford to replace my fridge and other old appliances – doing that, and keeping some for my future, means such a huge weight off my mind.

“I’ve taken part in St Luke’s lottery since 2014 because I know how needed their care is right across the community. I’ve won £10 before but nothing prepared me for this!”

Our lottery is played by people across Plymouth and surrounding areas where we give our compassionate care, and Elaine is one of almost 2,000 supporters who prefer to take part the traditional way, paying their fee in person rather than online. There to see her receive the bumper cheque from Trish Whitefoot of our Lottery Team was Yvette Walker, the long-serving, big-hearted Lottery Collector who’s got to know Elaine over the years she has been visiting to collect her participation fee.

Elaine said: “I look forward to Yvette’s visits and it means a lot that she always makes time for a catch-up. If, like me, you can’t get out much anymore because of age or disability, it makes a big difference seeing a friendly face you know and trust.”

Yvette, who is in her 60s, joined us almost ten years ago after living in London, where she was Area Fundraising Manager for the RNIB.  Struck by the positive difference a hospice in Harrow made to her mother when she needed day care support, she was keen to become part of the team at St Luke’s, recognising the importance of our lottery in raising vital funds to help our specialist service reach more local families.

Yvette, who – like all our Lottery Collectors – is self-employed, said: “This is so much more than just a job to me and I can’t imagine stopping. It’s needed because many of our lottery players – particularly those who are older – aren’t comfortable disclosing their bank details online and want to pay by cash. It also gives me a chance to ask how they are and catch up on their news. I’ll even nip to the shop if they’re not able to get out. I’m happy to help, knowing that for many I might be the only visitor they’ll have all week.

“I am thrilled Elaine is our rollover winner because I understand what a huge difference the prize will make to her. It just shows what is possible when you keep up your support for St Luke’s week on week!”

Get involved in our weekly lottery here.

Community unites for Midnight Walk in support of local hospice care

Midnight Walk turned Plymouth bright pink as a thousand women and girls came together wearing tee-shirts of that hue to walk across the city, raising vital funds to help ensure local people with terminal illness get high-calibre care that helps them live well to the end of their lives.

On Friday 20 August, saw much-loved local charity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth welcome faces both familiar and new to its hotly anticipated mass participation fundraising event, Midnight Walk, following the sponsored walk’s cancellation last year because of the pandemic. So popular was the event in aid of the compassionate care the hospice provides across Plymouth and surrounding areas that it was a complete sell-out.

Setting off from Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium, the ladies followed 5, 10 or 15-mile route taking in many Plymouth landmarks, including Smeaton’s Tower and the Barbican. And when the challenge got tough, moral support came in abundance from the spectators who cheered them on from their front gardens and the passing motorists who tooted their horns in solidarity.

The event, sponsored by GA Solicitors, saw many participants walking in memory of lost loved ones, having fun and making new memories as they celebrated the lives of people special to them who will never be forgotten.

Among those taking on the full 15 miles were Caroline Mercer from Salcombe, her daughters Cerys and Tegan and friends Debbie, Emma and Alice. The group was walking in memory of Lyndsey (Lynds) Fisher-Khoury, Caroline’s best friend and godmother to Cerys and Tegan, who was looked after by St Luke’s at Turnchapel before sadly, she died in May 2019.

Caroline said: “Lynds was such a special person – she loved life and was so kind and caring. She was always beautifully dressed and shone in any room yet was so down to earth. She was a lovely godmother, too, and we all miss her so much.

St Luke's Midnight Walk Caroline Mercer

“When Lynds needed St Luke’s care at Turnchapel, they looked after her wonderfully in a beautiful room looking onto the gardens. It helped her husband Mark, and all of us, to see that she was comfortable and at ease in such a peaceful place where nothing was ever too much trouble. Whenever we visited Lynds, we were always made to feel so welcome by the staff and I will never forget their kindness at such heart-breaking time.”

Also walking 15 miles were sisters Tracey Brannan from Crownhill and Suzanne Clough from Brixton, walking in memory of their much-loved grandfather Peter Clough. St Luke’s cared for Peter at home and later at its specialist unit at Turnchapel.

Tracey said: “Doing Midnight Walk this year feels extra special because it’s coming up to ten years since granddad died and it’s our way of paying tribute to him. What stood out to me about St Luke’s was the way their care helped him not just physically but mentally, too. They gave him – and us as a family – the ultimate support throughout. It’s really important to us to show our gratitude because there’s an endless need for what the charity provides.”

St Luke's Midnight Walk Tracey and Suzanne

Suzanne said: “I would have been marrying my fiancé Ashley today, but we postponed because of the pandemic. So, it was wonderful to be in an atmosphere of celebration at Midnight Walk, remembering our amazing granddad and doing our bit for such a vital service for our community.”

Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, Penny Hannah, said: “What an electric atmosphere! A huge, heartfelt thank you to all the ladies who came out to support St Luke’s – you are all incredible and we loved seeing you!

“From the dedications on the backs of all the tee-shirts it was clear to see the positive impact St Luke’s has had on so many local families in need at a time of crisis.

“After the disappointment of having to cancel last year’s Midnight Walk due to COVID-19 safety measures, this year’s event felt even more special. For some of the ladies taking part, it was the first opportunity they have had to reunite with family and friends since losing a loved one during the past 18 months, which have been so incredibly tough for people going through bereavement.

“We are so grateful to everyone who took part. Sponsorship money raised helps keep our team on the road 365 days a year, giving their compassionate care to patients in the comfort of their own home and supporting their families – all of which helps make our community a kinder place for people living and dying with terminal illness and for those close to them, too.

“I also want to thank all the other big-hearted people who make an event of this magnitude possible. That includes our army of amazing volunteers, our sponsors GA Solicitors, Plymouth Argyle, Cheezifit for the fantastic warm-up routine, Devon and Cornwall 4×4 Response Team, Devon and Cornwall Cycle Marshalls, PL1 Events and all the businesses and other organisations who’ve donated products and services. We simply couldn’t have done it without them and we are so grateful.”

Aerial photograph of the South Hams

 

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 additional groups in the South Hams – maybe in Kingsbridge, Salcombe, Ivybridge or elsewhere. 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 my 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 both our events at Lower Combe Royal (Kingsbridge) and at Gnaton Hall (near Newton Ferrers); it was a little cloudy at Lukesland (Ivybridge) and at Sommerswood Lakes (South Brent), but this did not detract from the fabulous flora and scrumptious cakes. We are so grateful to the owners who open their beautiful gardens in aid of St Luke’s.

Our next Open Garden is at Bowringsleigh (Kingsbridge) on 5 September. Further information can be found at here. Here, you will see there’s also the opportunity to win an original painting by Brian Pollard.

A Compassionate Café was held 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 are grateful to the Lions Club of Ivybridge who invited us to run a stand at their annual Fun Day on 10 July. Thanks also to Martin French of the Totnes Hire Shop, who ran a stand: ‘Surf for St Luke’s’. The sun came out in the afternoon – as did the local crowds – and the event was a great success. On the Friday night the Wurzels played their ‘scrumpy and western’ gig, much enjoyed by the audience dressed in their hillbilly outfits.

The St Luke’s shops in Modbury and Ivybridge are getting back to normal, post-Covid. They have a terrific range of ‘pre-loved’ (and some new, factory-outlet) clothing and other bric-a-brac. They are normally open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 4pm, and can receive donations of goods on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, although this can be limited by a shortage of space.

There are many other events further afield, such as the Eddystone Lighthouse Challenge on 24 July. Eight 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.

Please contact Colin if you feel you might be able to help: 01752 492626/ cpincombe@stlukes-hospice.org.uk.

Treasured memories of a big-hearted mum and grandmother are inspiring four females from the same Plymouth family to step out together in support of St Luke’s after we gave her such compassionate care at the end of her life.

Louise Pudner and her daughters Chloe, 25, Megan, 22, and Laura, 16, have all signed up to take part in this summer’s Midnight Walk, the annual mass-participation event raising vital funds for St Luke’s and the specialist service we provides for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

With the ladies’ walk making its comeback on Friday 20 August after it had to be cancelled last year because of the pandemic, the foursome is taking up the opportunity to stride the streets, paying tribute to Louise’s mother Mary Mannell, who was looked after at Turnchapel as she neared the end of her life.

Sadly, Mary died in 2011 but memories of the special person she was, and the huge love and affection she gave her four children, plus the 15 grandchildren born while she was alive, are cherished by her family.

Louise, who lives in Southway, said: “Mum was such a caring person and is sorely missed by us all. Growing up, she was always there for us and when her grandchildren came along she devoted herself to them, too.

“When she was ill it was a very difficult time, and our whole family is so grateful to St Luke’s for being there for her and us as well. It wasn’t just the excellent medical care they gave mum that made a difference, but the way they always accommodated our visits – day or night – making all of us, including the children, feel welcome and at ease.

“I’ll always remember spending precious time with mum in the gardens at Turnchapel, taking in the beautiful views over the water. That meant a lot to her because she and dad always loved the sea.”

Sponsored by GA Solicitors, Midnight Walk will see hundreds of women coming together to support St Luke’s. Just like Louise and her daughters, many will be going the distance in memory of lost loved ones, celebrating their lives while making new memories. All are welcome, regardless of whether we were involved in the care of your relative or friend.

The event starts and finishes at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium, with ladies completing a 5, 10 or 15-mile route across the city.

Louise, who along with Chloe, Megan and Laura is taking on the 15-mile route, said: “Walking together is something we are really looking forward to. We’ll be remembering both mum and my dad, who sadly also died from cancer.

“It’s our way of saying thank-you to St Luke’s, not only for care given in the past but right now, too, looking after people who are special to our family. It’s a charity that touches so many lives and we must never take it for granted.”

Registration for Midnight Walk costs £22, which includes the cost of your tee-shirt as well as a medal and goodie bag for all completers. Click here for more information and to sign up.

If you would like to sponsor the Pudner ladies, please visit their Just Giving page.

Inspired by memories of her beautiful mother who was cared for so compassionately by St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, our charity’s very own Finance Director is set to take a million steps to raise vital funds that will help other local families affected by terminal illness.

Sue Cannon, who joined the senior leadership team at the hospice just over three years ago, is taking on the walking challenge with her sister, Carol Giles. Starting on 1 July, they’ll be clocking up at least 11,000 steps each a day to make sure they reach their target of a million steps each by 30 September.

The sponsorship they raise along the way will go towards the specialist care and support St Luke’s provides 365 days a year for patients at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

Sue and Carol’s mother Christine was looked after by the hospice team at home and at Turnchapel before sadly, she died in 2002.

Sue said: “I’ve had the privilege of working at St Luke’s for over three years now and in my role I see first hand how the efforts of all our supporters help pay for the care our charity gives free of charge to those who need it. I decided it was time to do my bit!

“For Carol and me, taking on this walking challenge is also a way of saying thank you to St Luke’s for being a beacon of light for our family. Our dear mum died far too young at just 55. It was an incredibly difficult time, but the team was so kind, helping dad and us to deal with some of the day-to-day challenges you don’t expect. The practical support and advice we received in addition to the specialist care they gave mum at home and at Turnchapel made such a difference.

“I am especially proud that as well as Finance, Facilities and IT, I am also responsible for the Catering department at the hospice, as this brings back really special memories – the simple joy that our mum got from hearing the tinkle of the drinks trolley and the wonderful home-cooked food she enjoyed.

“Thank you, St Luke’s, for caring for our mum with such warmth and compassion…. Let the steps begin!”

Sue is aiming to raise £1,000 to provide a full package of care, emotional support and practical advice for a family at home – see here.

This is your chance to explore the exciting and historic Drake’s Island, set in the beautiful surroundings of Plymouth Sound. We’ve also received word that recently discovered secrets have been revealed.

During it’s fascinating history, the Island – which was born out of the sea 400 million years ago – has been a place of pilgrimage, a refuge, a fort, a prison and an observatory, while local people of a certain age are most likely to remember it as an adventure centre in the 1960s and 70s.

With the site being out of bounds to the general public since 1989, it is a place many long to visit so they can discover its secrets and learn about its past. Those lucky enough to snap up one of the places to visit the historic location will get the opportunity to do just that as they get the lowdown from the Island’s Warden, avid historian Bob King, who will lead the tour.

Bob said: “The best part of my job is researching the history of the Island and sharing it with as many people as possible. Although the fortifications and how they have been used and defended Plymouth over the centuries is fascinating, what brings the history alive are the personal stories of the people on the Island.

“I am really excited to have the chance to take people in Drake’s footsteps and help them discover the Island and its past.”

This promises to be a fascinating journey into Drake’s Island’s story through the ages. The trip includes:

  • Boat journey to and from the Island.
  • Guided tour of Drake’s Island, by an experienced historian.
  • Opportunity to explore the labyrinth of hidden underground tunnels.
  • Exquisite photo opportunities.
  • Wildlife engagement: Seals, herons and egrets are regularly spotted from the island, so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Unique views of Plymouth and Cornwall.

This adventure could make a memorable gift to someone, or simply a very special way to raise funds for St Luke’s. All ticket sales will go directly to St Luke’s (except a small booking fee, which you will be asked to cover on registration).

Click here to book your tickets.

St luke's fundraiser Jill sat in a garden

While for many of us, it’s a piece of equipment that goes unused – simply gathering dust despite our best intentions – a Plymouth grandmother living with Parkinson’s disease has used the power of pedalling her exercise bike to raise much-needed funds for St Luke’s.

When she heard about our Landmark Challenge, Jill Baragwanath, aged 77, wasted no time in signing up to take part in our Covid-safe fundraising event in memory of her beloved husband, Gerald, who was cared for by our team at Turnchapel 13 years ago before, sadly, he died.

For Jill, who lives in Pomphlett, it was not only an opportunity to say another thank-you to St Luke’s for looking after such a special man with the utmost compassion, but a chance to keep up her fitness level while the gym she usually attends remained closed under lockdown restrictions.

Cycling a total of over 20 miles on the exercise bike in her bedroom, Jill – who has two daughters and two grandchildren – raised a fantastic £300 in sponsorship to help keep the wheels of our specialist service turning.

Jill, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year, said: “Gerald and I were married for more than 45 years and he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather – a real family man with a zest for life. He was really sociable and loved snooker and gardening.

“It was very hard when he became ill with cancer, but what made it that bit easier to bear was knowing he was receiving such superb care from St Luke’s. Every time I spent the day with him at Turnchapel, which is so peaceful, I left feeling reassured that he was comfortable and in a safe place because everyone there was so kind and nothing was ever too much trouble.

“I do whatever I can to support the charity because none of us must ever take its service for granted. I’ve taken part in the ladies’ Midnight Walk and I donate items to the shops. The Landmark Challenge was an opportunity to do something different while keeping as fit as possible, which is an important part of managing my condition.

“Memories of Gerald and all the happy times we had together helped me to keep on pedalling, knowing I was doing something positive to help other local families affected by terminal illness.”

From all of us at St Luke’s, a big thank you to Jill and everyone else who took part in our Landmark Challenge – and to all those who kindly sponsored them, too!

Ladies across the city are being invited to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones and put their best foot forward for our Midnight Walk that is making its much-anticipated return this summer.

Following its cancellation last year because of lockdown restrictions, Midnight Walk is set to take place on Friday 20 August. The popular mass participation event raises vital funds to help our charity provide specialist end of life care for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at Turnchapel, as well as emotional support for them and their families – services that are likely to be needed more than ever in the months ahead due to the impact of the pandemic.

Kindly sponsored by GA Solicitors, Midnight Walk is an opportunity for women and girls of all ages to come together as one to pay tribute to relatives and friends who are gone but will never be forgotten, sharing precious memories and creating new ones as they stride the streets of Plymouth for the sponsored walk.

This year, the ladies will set out from Home Park Stadium, taking on their choice of a 5, 10 or 15-mile route across Plymouth in their brightly coloured tee-shirts adorned with the names of the loved ones whose memory they are honouring.

Speaking about the event, Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising, said: “If ever there was a year for coming together to walk in memory of lost loved ones, this is it, and we are thrilled that after such a long wait we can finally welcome ladies back to take part in Midnight Walk. We can’t wait to see them, and as always, we are going to make it a really fun night for them all.

“We are conscious though, that alongside the excitement as we move towards the lifting of restrictions on big outdoor events like ours, there is sadness for so many who have been bereaved as they continue to gradually adjust to life without that special person by their side. 

“It’s possible that for some, Midnight Walk could even be the first opportunity they will have to reunite with friends and family they have been forced apart from – and perhaps unable to grieve with – because of the pandemic, which means it will be an extra poignant occasion.

“All ladies are welcome, regardless of whether or not their loved one received care from St Luke’s and, of course, you don’t need to be walking in memory. You can join us simply for the fantastic uplifting atmosphere, knowing you will be making an important difference for local families right when they need it most.”

Registration for Midnight Walk costs £22, which includes the cost of your t-shirt as well as a medal and goodie bag for all completers. Click here for more information and to sign up.

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