‘Drink tea and make time for your friends’

Vicky Marshall and her colleagues at Shendish Manor who are all backing her Tea Challenge PNL-160802-095517001
Vicky Marshall and her colleagues at Shendish Manor who are all backing her Tea Challenge PNL-160802-095517001

A Hemel hotel worker has set herself a new year’s challenge to make time for friends over a cuppa, in memory of a friend she lost to cancer.

Vicky Marshall, aged 30, was devastated when her former Cavendish School pal, Hayley Makepeace, died at the age of 29 just before Christmas, nine months after being diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer.

Vicky, who works as operations manager at Shendish Manor, said: “I messaged Hayley when she was ill and she said: ‘Come round for some tea and cake,’ but to my eternal regret, it never happened.

“She was such a lovely person, a friend to everybody she met, but her condition deteriorated so quickly and I was so busy at work that we never got to share that cuppa.

“It made me realise that we just don’t make enough time for the people we care about any more.”

So Vicky decided her New Year’s resolution would be to have as many cups of tea as possible with people she doesn’t see as often as she’d like, and at the same time collect a donation for the Hospice of St Francis, where Hayley was cared for during the last 12 days of her life.

Vicky said: “I know from her fiancé, Joel, that the care Hayley and her family received at the hospice was just outstanding and I thought how great would it be if I could do this, whilst raising some money for a fantastic place.”

Vicky has created a Tea Challenge page on Facebook to get back in touch with friends, help spread the word and enable everyone to post together,.

She said: “It’s awesome. So many people have messaged me, wanting me to come for tea, hold tea parties, and even wanting to do their own tea challenge for Hayley and the hospice.”

Even Shendish Manor is holding a tea party on February 20 as part of the challenge, when everyone is invited to bring a friend to have a cuppa, with all takings going to the hospice.

So far Vicky has shared a cuppa – or occasionally something stronger – with about a dozen friends and relatives and collected just over £30 for the hospice, and she’s set to continue with her challenge all year.

She said: “I love tea so I’m in my element and it’s so lovely to see people I haven’t seen in while.

“My simple message is: ‘Drink tea and make time for each other.’

To take part in the Tea Challenge see www.facebook.com/Theteachallenge/?fref=ts or donate online at www.justgiving.com/HayleyMakepeace/