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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Hospice at Home West Cumbria celebrates ‘incredible 25 years’

People from all walks of life came together on Friday to launch Hospice at Home West Cumbria’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The anniversary launch event at Workington’s Hunday Manor hotel was attended by staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters of the charity.

The charity’s president, Lord Judd of Portsea, and vice presidents Lady Egremont and Dr Brian Herd were also there.

Lord Judd, who was made president in 2008, said: “It has been an incredible 25 years and it is going to be an even more incredible next quarter century.

“The organisation is in tremendous heart and it is wonderful that the people of West Cumbria really believe it is theirs, the community feels a responsibility for it and the community sustains it in so many ways.

“It is a lovely concept for people who want to finish their lives at home. I am incredibly proud.”

Terry Collins, of Crosby, near Maryport, became the charity’s chairman in 2007 after initially agreeing to the role for three years. Before that, he was a trustee for three years but had been involved in the hospice’s work through his time as a GP at Maryport Health Services.

He said: “I feel very humbled to be here today because my contribution has been very limited and so many people here have been with the organisation from the beginning, including staff, volunteers and Brian Herd and Lady Egremont, who have been a driving force in keeping it going.

“I feel proud and privileged to be in this position at this stage when the organisation is so well established as part of West Cumbria.”

The charity needs to make around £10,000 a week on top of the contribution it gets from the NHS to keep its vital services going for the people of West Cumbria, and this relies on a team of dedicated volunteers.

The launch starts a year packed with fund-raising events, including Paint the Town Red in Workington on May 19, the annual Midnight Walk, Brides’ Ball and Santa Dash.

Ruth Ousby, 82, of Westfield, Workington, got involved in the charity as a volunteer when her daughter Dawn became finance officer four years ago.

She has also had personal experience of the charity’s work as it cared for her brother at the end of his life.

She said: “I have met many friends through doing this and you just don’t know when you are going to need the hospice yourself.”

As an extra fund-raising challenge for the anniversary year the hospice aims to create a ‘golden mile’ of pound coins, equal to £67,584.

Anyone who raises over £100 for the charity during the anniversary year will become a hospice “hero” and have their name put in a book to mark the anniversary. All the heroes will be invited to a special event held next year.

Mary Todd, of Mayo Park, Cockermouth, has been involved in the organisation from the start as its legal advisor. When she retired, she became a trustee.

She said: “It is fantastic how far it has come. All the hopes we had to start with are coming true but there is always more to do, more research, more fund-raising.”

Bill Dobie, of Dobies Group, has been a trustee of the charity for three years and his businesses has supported the charity.

He said: “I have followed the hospice since it was founded and we have supported it for about 10 years.”

The charity began with home nursing and has grown to offer range of services both for patients, families and carers. This includes nursing support, complimentary therapy, family and bereavement support and a lymphoedema service.

For more information or to ask about a representative giving a talk to a community group, call 01900 873173.

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