EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE
A GROUP of East Cheshire Hospice colleagues, who have spent weeks hiking across the country on foot, are helping make life a lot easier for patients who just want to take the weight off their feet.
Suffering blisters and sores, the group has raised £40,000 for the hospice in a series of long treks over the last seven years, with another great walk planned for next spring.
And now their hardearned efforts have helped to pay for a specialist chair which will enable blood transfusions at the hospice to be carried out in comfort.
The hospice launched its unique blood transfusion service last June and with patients having to sit for a minimum of six hours and sometimes up to eight hours, comfy seating is imperative.
“With its padded gel seat and tilting backrest, this chair will make a massive difference to the patients’ lives,” said advanced nurse practitioner, Sarah Dale.
“Patients can sometimes be tired and drained and normal seating just doesn’t give them the relaxation they need”.
The chair is the latest in a long list of equipment bought by the walking group which includes hospice nurse, Penny Molloy and occupational therapist, Marie Leddy.
Their first fundraising walk in 2007 was the 73-mile Great Glen Way which stretches from coast to coast across the Highlands of Scotland. Two years later, the 80-mile Wicklow Way south of Dublin was their chosen route, while in 2011 the group chose to walk the 84-mile trek along the Hadrian’s Wall path.
With the group every step of the way along every route has been Ub – a flea-bitten ventriloquist’s dummy owned by one of the walkers, Moira Furmage. The mascot manages to get into the rambling mood by wearing appropriate clothing for each walk.
“In Scotland, he wore his kilt and on the Irish walk he was dressed as a leprechaun,” said Marie. “And of course he was a Roman centurion when we tackled Hadrian’s Wall. The walks are quite a challenge usually lasting up to six days, especially the last one when we camped out every night.
“But they are also very therapeutic and the laughing and singing along the way keeps us going.”
The next walk, across the West Highland Way, may be their toughest walk to date. The 96-mile route passes through Glencoe and the foot of Ben Nevis, although the group say there are no plans to climb Britain’s highest mountain.
The hospice is encouraging more people to set their own challenge and is hoping more than 1,600 people will take part in their ‘Challenge Series’ this year.
There are a range of challenges in the programme, all with easy registration – find the one for you at eastcheshirehospice.org. uk/challenge-2015.
‘This chair will make a massive difference’
●● Wendy Elton, Marie Leddy, Penny Molly, Sue Lyons, Lyn Dobson and Sylvia Gaskell