The Hospice of St Francis – Hospice News, June 2019
It’s our 40th Birthday!!
The Hospice of St Francis was founded 40 years ago this month following a prayer vigil at St Peter’s church in Berkhamsted on 6th June 1979. A big thank you to you, our community, for helping us reach this milestone anniversary.
Led by Pam Macpherson, a small group of determined volunteers worked tirelessly to set up our charity and galvanise support for hospice care to provide ‘skilled loving care for the relief of symptoms and anxiety’ and to establish in a ‘gentle, unhurried environment, an atmosphere of peace, comfort and hope for patients and relatives’ across West Herts and into Bucks.
From the off, fundraising had a high profile in the local community and we are still indebted to our community for their continued support. Initially people were invited to donate just 25p and within three months, £19k had been raised which paid for the first community nurse. In the mid-80s a residential Hospice ‘Shrublands’ was opened in Berkhamsted and this was followed in 2007 by a new Hospice in Spring Garden Lane. A symbolic double rainbow appeared at the Topping out Ceremony which many believed signified hope and luck for our future!
We now support 2,000 people every year and today our ethos is the same as it was 40 years ago, helping people to live their precious life well and being here for family, friends and carers. We’d love to hear your stories and memories of special people we’ve helped or how you’ve been involved with St Francis over the years.
Finally, today, anyone, regardless of faith or background, can refer themselves to access our free care via our website or over the phone. We offer all kinds of support, with a focus on rehab, offering classes, exercise groups like Tai chi and Nordic Walking, physio, complementary therapy, clinical advice, creative therapy and psychological support.
Director of Care, Fay Richardson, explains “Many of our patients are active and getting on with their lives, dipping into the Hospice for help and support to manage specific symptoms and help regain confidence or strength so they can return to family life, work or achieve ambitions which are important to them.”
Please do get involved in our celebrations during our birthday month….
Hospice Official Birthday – Thursday 6 June
We will be out in Berkhamsted town and surrounding areas – offering information and spreading awareness of the work we do as we celebrate our official birthday. Come and say hello if you spot a member of the team!
We are recreating the silent Prayer Vigil that was held at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted on the 6th June 1979. St Peter’s will open its doors this year from 4-8pm providing a multi-faith, contemplative space to give thanks for our Hospice and to pray for our future. The Lady Chapel in St Albans Cathedral will also be open from 1pm-3pm and 40 prayer hubs across our catchment area will be saying prayers for us during our birthday week.
Garden Party, Ashridge House – Sunday 23 June 1-5pm
Join us for our big birthday party in the beautiful grounds of Ashridge House! There will be plenty of attractions including a shopping village with lots of independent producers, children’s entertainment, live music, refreshments including cream teas, local beers and Pimms, and tasty ice cream – not to mention, the chance to sing Happy Birthday!
Walk With Us – Saturday 29 June 7:30-11:30pm
Come together with family and friends to support the Hospice and remember special people – particularly those cared for at the Hospice over the past 40 years – on a six mile walk retracing our history through Berkhamsted. Along the way there will be poignant activities for walkers to do.
Finally, we’re 40 and we’d love you to help Fortify us for the future! We started with donations of 25p, today can you start by giving 40p in a collection tub or, can you donate 40p a day, £12 a month during our birthday year? We’d be so grateful for your support.
Find out more about hot to access our care, our events, how to donate and how to share your stories and precious memories from our past 40 years at stfrancis.org.uk or on social media.
Tel: 01442 869555