Berkhamsted hospice marks 40 years with special festive events

Many families affected by a life-limiting illness have been touched by The Hospice of St Francis over the past four decades.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 2:28 pm
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 2:29 pm

And now, during this festive season, the Berkhamsted-based charity is encouraging everyone to do their bit to ensure its free care can continue.

Whether it's dedicated a star, dashing like Santa, buying Christmas cards and trees or shopping local, it all helps to raise the £5million the charity needs each year.

Forty years ago, following a prayer vigil in June 1979, volunteers held Snowball coffee mornings and by Christmas that year, £25,000 had been raised to pay for the charity’s first community nurse to care for a handful of patients. Today, 40 years on in its milestone birthday year, the hospice has grown to provide care and support for 2,000 people across Herts and Bucks every year.

Members of the hospice's clinical team

To remember someone who has been cared for by the hospice over the past 40 years, you can dedicate a light free of charge or make a donation to its Light Up a Life Appeal on the hospice’s website at www.stfrancis.org.uk/lual. The lights will shine at the hospice throughout the Christmas period.

Jo Maher, from Berkhamsted, whose husband Brendan was cared for at the hospice said: “This year we’ll be lighting a candle for Brendan and holding him close in our hearts alongside all the other families who have been touched by the hospice’s incredible care this Christmas. The hospice has supported our whole family and at any time day or night, we have never felt alone. We’ve always felt there is someone we can call on - the hospice has been our crutch and guide.”

Or, if you’re feeling energetic, the hospice’s Santa Dash is taking place at 10am on Sunday, December 15 at Riverside, Hemel Hempstead. Everyone - pet pooches included - is invited to dress up as Santa and walk, scoot or jog around the 2.5-mile course.

But if that's just too much exercise, you can always buy your Christmas cards in one of the hospice’s eight charity shops; enjoy a special Christmas shopping evening with fizz at its re-loved furniture and furnishings showroom Returned to Glory on Thursday, December 5 from 6-8pm; or buy your Christmas tree from the hospice grounds at Spring Garden Lane between

November 30-December 19.

Cathy Marriott, senior staff nurse at the hospice, said: “This Christmas time, we really appreciate all donations and support to help us care for patients and their loved ones.”

For more information about all The Hospice of St Francis’ Christmas and 2020 events, visit: stfrancis.org.uk/events