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Run for St Luke’s and go the distance in our 40th anniversary year

If ever there was a year to run in aid St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, this is it!

Whether you’re an experienced runner or fairly new to the sport, we’re asking you to put your best foot forward for our patients in our 40th anniversary year by signing up to take part in Britain’s Ocean City Running Festival on Sunday 19 June or the London Marathon on Sunday 2 October.

With 40 – and hopefully, many more! – big-hearted people like you running the 5k, 10k or half marathon to raise much-needed funds for St Luke’s, we’ll be able to reach more of the local families who rely on our compassionate care and support at the toughest time of their lives.

Perhaps you’ve run in support of our charity before, or maybe this will be the first time – either way, it shows great kindness for your community.

Whichever race you sign up to, we couldn’t be more grateful. You’ll help us keep going that extra mile for our patients and their loved ones so they can make precious memories together when time is running short.

Britain’s Ocean City Running Festival

Right here in our great city on 19 June 2022, there’s the opportunity to take on a 5k, 10k or even a half marathon to fundraise for our charity, so we’re seeking 40 (or more!) runners who are up for the challenge.

Sign up to support St Luke’s and run a route widely respected as one of the most challenging in the UK as well as full of local landmarks.

 

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It’s Midnight Walk! Step back in time for local hospice care

We’re taking you back to the past to raise vital funds that will help local families for generations to come.

Our iconic Midnight Walk is back on Friday 22 July, when it is set to be awash with women embracing this year’s theme of 1982, which is when our hospice – then based at Syrena House in Plymstock – welcomed our first patients.

But that’s not all! As well as the retro theme to mark four decades of St Luke’s compassionate care and support for families across Plymouth and surrounding areas, this year – for the first time – we have added a new 2.5-mile route to the popular annual event.

While this shorter walk has been introduced so that young children can be part of Midnight Walk, both this distance and the 5, 10 and 15-mile routes are open to all girls and boys aged up to 17, as well as adult women, so that doing good in the community can be more of a family affair.

Sponsored by local company Drakes Jewellers, Midnight Walk is an opportunity for women and children to come together and celebrate the lives of relatives and friends who have died but will never be forgotten, sharing precious memories and creating new ones as they stride the streets of Plymouth in aid of St Luke’s.

Leaving from – and returning to – Plymouth Argyle Football Club’s Home Park Stadium, they will be raising funds that will help us continue our specialist service caring for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at Turnchapel and providing emotional support for them and their families.

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 – St Luke’s 40th anniversary year.

“As part of marking such a special milestone, we’ve made Midnight Walk more family friendly so that children can join in and enjoy the party atmosphere, too. It feels fitting to be doing this as we look to the next 40 years and build our charity’s resilience so that we can be here for all the local families who will need us in the future.

“This summer’s Midnight Walk is an opportunity for us to come together as a community to pay tribute to each and every person the hospice team has had the privilege of looking after since our specialist service began, in 1982. We’re inviting our walkers to bring a copy of a favourite photo of their lost loved one and add it to our Memory Wall on the night – they are welcome to do this even if that person was not a patient of St Luke’s.

“Whether they have taken part in our event before or are participating for the first time, we can’t wait to see our supporters in their pink tee-shirts, embracing our 1982 theme and enjoying what is always a really uplifting atmosphere! What really makes the night for everybody though, is that they’re doing what they can to help local families going through the toughest of times, showing great kindness for them.”

Registration for Midnight Walk costs £24 for those aged 11 and over and £12 for children aged ten and under. Click here for more information and to sign up.

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Open Island Guided Tour 2022

This is your chance to explore the exciting and historic Drake’s Island, set in the beautiful surroundings of Plymouth Sound. This promises to be a fascinating journey into Drake’s Island’s story through the ages.

During its 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.

The day includes a historical guided tour and exploration of the hidden network of abandoned underground tunnels.

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 our charity (except a small booking fee).

Click here to book your tickets.

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Open Gardens 2022

Always an annual highlight, our Open Gardens season feels even more special this time around. That’s because 2022 is our 40th anniversary year!

We simply couldn’t have reached this milestone without the kindness of all our supporters. This includes everyone who attends our Open Gardens and, of course, the big-hearted people who throw open their beautiful gardens to welcome them. Together, over the 12 years the scheme has been running, you have raised more than £429,000 to help local families receive our charity’s compassionate care, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

A huge thank you to NFU Mutual Plymouth for sponsoring this year’s scheme – please look out for their stand at our gardens this season.

Whether you’re a green-fingered guru or someone who simply enjoys being outside in the beauty of nature, we’ve got a diverse selection of enchanting gardens to delight and inspire you this season. Many of our featured gardens are hidden gems not normally open to the public, so visiting is a rare chance for you to get an insight into garden planning and planting schemes. For a Mothering Sunday treat, we have the opening of Gnaton Hall’s spectacular spring gardens on 27 March. Come and explore this private estate and enjoy tea and cake on the lawns.

Gnaton Hall | 27 March | 2pm – 5pm | PL8 2HU

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Enjoy over five acres. which include a spectacular display of daffodils, walled gardens and grand Magnolia trees. Peaceful woodland walks surround the terraced lawns, where a selection of delicious cakes will be served.

Mothecombe | 15 May | 11am – 5pm | PL8 1LB

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Approached through its pretty hamlet of thatched cottages, Mothecombe has a formal walled garden with a terrace by Sir Edwin Lutyens. A gravel walk through the orchard and bluebell woods, planted with a wide variety interesting trees and shrubs, leads past the bog gardens and down to the private beach.

Flete House | 3 July | 12 – 5pm | PL21 9NZ

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The enigmatic and fascinating Flete House is surrounded with elegantly landscaped parkland estate. The Italianate gardens, shrubbery and water gardens are complimented by some excellent specimen trees and panoramic views of the beautiful South Hams. Join us for exclusive access to the private and historic Devon estate.

These and all our other Open Gardens provide an enjoyable and inspiring way for our supporters to raise vital funds for local hospice care. Please let your family and friends know so that they can visit, too. The more people who support our events, the more families St Luke’s can help across Plymouth, West Devon and East Cornwall.

Tickets are available on the day, and we have a contactless payment facility as well as accepting cash. Entry is free for under-16s. We aim to offer refreshments and plant sales at all our gardens, where possible.

On behalf of all of us at St Luke’s – and everyone we look after- a big thank-you to our visitors, garden owners and volunteers who make our Open Gardens scheme so popular and successful.

For directions and details visit our Open Gardens webpage.

St Luke's looks to the future

St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth looks to the future

When St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth welcomed its first patients in 1982, it marked the start of a new era of more personalised and compassionate care, not only for local people living and dying with terminal illness but for countless others facing similar circumstances around the UK and overseas, thanks to the work done to share our expertise far and wide.

Teaching others what high-quality end of life care looks like remains integral to St Luke’s mission so that no-one with cancer, motor neurone disease or any other progressive, life-limiting condition needs to die alone, in pain or distress.

Steve Statham, Chief Executive of St Luke’s, said: With people living longer, and with more complex conditions, pressure on our charity is growing year on year. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to share our knowledge and skills with others – such as staff in care homes – so that more people with terminal illness are looked after in the way that’s right for them in their last months, weeks and days of life.”

This collaborative approach is one of our hallmarks. In 2005, the forward-thinking hospice broke new ground by being the first in the UK to establish an integrated care service, joining forces with the then-Derriford Hospital and community services to provide patients with properly joined-up, high-calibre care at home, on hospital wards and at Turnchapel.

Today, we continue to provide care for the community in partnership with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Livewell South West and Marie Curie.

Steve Statham said: “At the end of people’s lives, it matters more than ever that they are looked after as seamlessly as possible, and that is always what we strive for to help make such a difficult time for them and their families that bit easier.”

“We welcome working with Plymouth’s Integrated Care Partnership, which was launched last year so that people across the city and its surrounding areas benefit from more joined-up health and social care, helping them live well, age well and die well.”

Even working collaboratively though, as a charity we still face huge challenges in making our limited resources stretch further so we can reach more families in desperate need of medical expertise, sensitivity and kindness.

Steve Statham said: “Though much has changed since St Luke’s got started in 1982, what has not is our need for our supporters to keep on fundraising, volunteering and donating to help us continue.

“They know about the crucial difference our charity makes to families, either because of their own personal experience or because they have heard of the wonderful care we give, and we are hugely grateful for their phenomenal support over the past four decades.

“What we’re saying is, please don’t stop. We’re only going to need you more to help us weather the next 40 years. From joining in with our popular events such as Midnight Walk and Men’s Day Out to sponsoring our nurses and donating to our charity shops, there are many ways to get behind us. Please help us ensure our city continues being a kind place for people at the end of their lives.”

Volunteers at a shop opening

People Experience Manager Claire Boosey, whose role is to help ensure everyone in St Luke’s workforce feels recognised and valued, pays tribute to the volunteers whose support is so crucial to the service our hospice provides.

“The dictionary defines a volunteer as someone who freely gives their time to take part in a task, but I know from experience that what St Luke’s volunteers contribute is about so much more than the hours they put in.

“We really appreciate all the community-spirited people who join us in a voluntary capacity. They come from a such a variety of career backgrounds: catering, carpentry, retail, finance and social care, to name just few. Their experience and skills are a great asset to our charity, and for each person we always try to find the role that’s the best fit for them, from being part of our bereavement support service for families to helping with the maintenance of our buildings.

“With growing demands on our charity’s resources, we simply couldn’t do all that we do, as well as we do it, without our volunteers. Age-wise they range from 15 to 93, but what unites them is their compassion for the people who are the very reason St Luke’s exists, our patients and their families. Our volunteers have in common a strong desire to make a difference to them in whatever way they can as part of our valued team.

“Volunteers have always been the lifeblood of St Luke’s. It was thanks to a small band of fervent, unpaid campaigners that support for hospice care in Plymouth was first ignited 40 years ago. Enough money was raised to buy Syrena House in Plymstock and have it converted so that St Luke’s could welcome its first patients, in 1982. Ever since then, we’ve steadily recruited more volunteers as our service has expanded across the community.

“For many, assisting us is their way of saying thank-you for the superb care their loved one received, while others simply want to broaden their horizons or gain valuable experience.

“A huge thank-you to all our volunteers, past and present. In taking St Luke’s to your hearts, you’ve made more of a difference than you may ever know. Our message to anyone considering volunteering with us is, please get in touch! You can contact our People Services team on 01752 964355 or at volunteer@stlukes-hospice.org.uk. Whether you’d like to give a couple of mornings a week or just a few hours, you’ll be part of a friendly team working together to help more local families who desperately need St Luke’s.”

With 36 years’ service, Jeannie Norris, who lives in Eggbuckland, is one of the hospice’s longest-serving volunteers. The big-hearted great-grandmother is part of the team at the Drake City Centre charity shop.

Jeannie said, “My late partner Jim was looked after by St Luke’s at Turnchapel, so I know what a haven it is.

“Serving customers in the shop is about so much more than the just the transactions – you’re there to represent all St Luke’s stands for today, as it always has: respect, kindness and compassion. I get so much out of it and it’s very sociable. I’d definitely recommend it.”

Volunteer Adrian Frost began giving his time as a van driver for St Luke’s before training as a befriender and bereavement visitor.

Adrian said, “Some people find just one visit is all they require, while others I see several times. My role is about helping them take their first steps after their bereavement, until they can move forward more confidently. So, I could be helping them with practicalities, or simply listening. I can’t imagine my life without this role now, and I consider it a privilege to be allowed into their lives.”

John Horwell’s beloved wife Margaret was looked after at Turnchapel before sadly, she died in 2016. Having joined St Luke’s as a volunteer seven months ago, John gives a few hours a week to help maintain the grounds around the specialist unit.

John, who lives in Down Thomas, said: “Everyone at hospice is so friendly, and it means a lot to me that I am trusted to get on with whatever needs doing in the gardens and along the driveway. When I see families arriving, my heart goes out to them because I relate to what they are going through, but I know that with St Luke’s they are in the very best of hands. It comforts me to know I am giving something back to the charity for looking after Margaret so well.”