Arthur Smith stands up for carers - 10 December 2018

Renowned stand-up comedian Arthur Smith brought an evening of laughs, songs and stories to a packed Riverside Barn – in a special gig organised for patients, carers and their families

Arthur’s brand of observational wit, peppered with poetry, songs and jokes of dubious nature, went down a treat with the 100 or so guests of Princess Alice Hospice at the Walton venue.

The internationally famous, semi-professional comedian (his words) did a set comprising jokes old and new, illustrated anecdotes and poetry.

The audience was captivated by the South London-born star’s memoir of his father Syd’s life, sharing tales of life in the Army, as a PoW and latterly as a Metropolitan Police officer.

He also shared personal observations about his own grief after his father died – and his ongoing experience of his mother’s being in residential care.

The free gig was a spot of seasonal cheer for some of the families using Princess Alice Hospice services.

“I haven’t laughed as much in ages,” said Zoe Byrne, Hospice Deputy Director, Community Engagement. “Arthur did a brilliant gig and we’re immensely grateful he came down to entertain us so well.

“The audience left in high spirits – we had fantastic feedback about how much people had enjoyed Arthur’s set.

“It’s lovely for us to be able to give so many people a chance to have an evening out together, enjoying a load of laughs.”

Among those who had a great time were Nigel and Janet Horsfield, who said: “This was our first live comedy event and Arthur provided an enjoyable, humorous evening.”

Hospice Man Shed volunteer session leader Andy Wilson, who went along to the gig with fellow Shedders and friends, said it was “a lovely social event”.

  • Arthur’s gig was made possible by the generosity of Walton Charity, to whom the Hospice extends its grateful thanks.

It’s ‘on with the old’ for Hospice fun run - 4 December 2018

A group of five friends who love nothing more than a fun run, dusted off their Santa outfits for the tenth time on Saturday

Cathy Hough, Sue Holley, Teresa Robbins, Pauline Bolt and Paula Bell, who meet regularly for runs in Nonsuch Park, made the trip to Richmond Park for the annual Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Run.

The women have carefully preserved their Santa outfits from their very first outing for the Hospice – with the jackets faring better than the trousers over the years.

Cathy Hough said: “It was a very easy course – good fun; although where we would have run it in the past, nowadays we take it a bit easier.

“The Santa outfits have been tucked away in various attics over the years and there was a slight panic this year when we thought we had lost them, but they turned up in time.”

The women regularly participate in fundraising runs and walks including Moonwalks, fun runs and on one occasions, a 10km event.

Claire Woodward, Princess Alice Hospice Senior Partnership Fundraiser said: “We love welcoming back people to the Santa Fun Runs each year – and these friends have done amazingly well to keep the same outfits year after year.

“It is thanks to the dedication and good spirit of our fun runners that we are able to raise vital funds through these events. The uplift in income enables us to continue to deliver outstanding care – free – to those who need it during the festive season.”

There are still two Santa Fun Runs to go, both in Bushy Park. Visit

  • Re-use and recycle: Santa suits returned in good condition after the fun runs, are offered to groups of carol singers to bring extra festive cheer.


Photo: From left: Paula Bell, Sue Holley, Pauline Bolt, Cathy Hough and Teresa Robbins

Girls’ teddy trade is a money-spinner for Hospice - 4 December 2018

Two enterprising girls have raised funds for Princess Alice Hospice by holding a teddy and book sale at their school

From initial ideas through poster design, publicity and a batch baking session, Jemima Dunn and Jess Quinton, both 10, masterminded the entire operation.

They began planning a few weeks before the sale at Weston Green Preparatory School and after getting the Head’s permission, set about collecting donated items and publicising the event via an assembly and posters.

Jess, who lives in Thames Ditton, said: “My Mum’s friend works at the Hospice – and my nan is a keen charity shop customer – we especially like going to the Molesey shop where a man sometimes plays the piano.”

The girls set up shop in the school playground during breaktime – selling homemade cakes and traybakes as well as teddies and books, to their schoolmates.

Jemima said: “We were surprised by the success of the sale – with keenest customers being years 2, 3 and 4.”

They brought their takings – £54.15 – to the Hospice, where each was presented with a certificate to mark their donation.

The school continues to support Princess Alice Hospice as one of four charities chosen this year.

Picture shows: Jemima, left, and Jess with their certificates in the Hospice children’s playroom

Pub’s right Royal result for Hospice - 3 December 2018

Warm-hearted regulars at a popular Hersham pub - The Royal George - have been pushing the boat out to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice, to the tune of £17,700

They’ve done everything from quiz nights to rounders games, football matches to a casino night and personal challenges. Most notable was a skydive by Royal George stalwart Micky “Mac” McMahon, whose airborne adventure raised more than £3,500 in May.

The run-up to Hallowe’en saw a fancy dress pub quiz enjoyed by the regulars and guests at the Hersham Road pub; to top off the evening they produced a giant cheque made up to represent the amount raised during the year.

“All our events specifically raise money for The Princess Alice Hospice,” said landlady Sandra Fitschen. “Most of us have some connection to the Hospice – it’s so local to us and has cared for many people’s family members and friends over the years.”

There are plans for a Casino Night to raise even more before long.

The pub’s community spirit and money-spinning efforts have won it the Ram Pub Company Fundraiser of the Year award for 2018.

“This wonderful sustained effort by such a great bunch of people as the Royal George customers and staff goes to show that time spent in the pub is definitely worthwhile!” said Tim Iredale, Senior Partnerships Fundraiser for Princess Alice Hospice. “Without local support, the Hospice would not be able to provide the outstanding level of care it does. We’re very grateful for their continuing generosity.”

Santa’s elfie tackles 5k with a smile - 29 November 2018

This cheerful and charming young elf – Molly by name – took a well-earned rest after the 5km Santa Fun Run for Princess Alice Hospice, on Sunday

It was the first ever charity event which Molly, six, has taken part in – and mum Katie Kean said she did the two laps of the lake “without a single grumble – this was 100 per cent down to the lovely marshals and the positive atmosphere along the route”.

Molly, a Year 1 pupil at Guildford High School, was so keen to help raise vital funds for the Hospice that she also organised her own “Homemade arts and crafts sale”, inviting neighbours to buy her handmade origami figures and hama bead coasters, which raised £26.50.

Molly, who lives in Walton, really wants to do the fun run again next year. The run was held for the first time at Painshill Park, the stunning 18th Century landscape garden in Cobham.

Katie said: “I’ve already mentioned it to her classmates’ mums, so hopefully we’ll get a crowd of little elves at Painshill next time.”

  • There are four more Santa Fun Runs for Princess Alice Hospice this festive season – two in Richmond park and two in Bushy Park.

To find out more and sign up visit

Young runners dash for charity cash - 29 November 2018

A group of school friends inspired to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice turned out to tackle a 5km Santa Fun Run on Sunday

The St Charles Borromeo pupils were joined by former pupils of the Weybridge school, at the event held for the first time in the beautiful surroundings of Painshill Park, Cobham.

Finishing in third place overall – behind two adult runners – was Conrad McLaren, nine, shortly followed by Oliver Middleton.  Both boys were still raring to do another lap of the lake. Our picture shows Conrad, right, and Oliver.

Fellow pupil Emily McGurk also ran, alongside ex pupils Katherine McGurk, Toby Punton and Joseph Kefford.

The youngsters’ head teacher, Stephen Holt, said: “I am so proud that some of our pupils were involved in such an important cause. The Princess Alice Hospice will always be close to our hearts and as a local charity we are so grateful for the support our local community.”

Hospice Senior Partnership Fundraiser Claire Woodward said: “Growing numbers of young people like these are finding that they can have a great time and help a good cause at the same time.

“At our Santa Fun Runs the focus is on fun – with the added bonus of much-needed donations for Princess Alice Hospice.

“It would be great if other schools fielded teams – a bit of friendly competition would add to the occasion.”

  • There are four more Santa Fun Runs for Princess Alice Hospice this festive season – two in Richmond Park and two in Bushy Park.
  • To find out more and sign up visit

Santa Fun Run 2018 – Painshill Park 25 November:

First over the line: Jonathan Cocks

First woman: Suzanne Cocks (Jonathan’s Mum)

First under-16: Conrad McLaren, 9

Mum’s marathon for Hospice funds - 27 November 2018

A mum who only rediscovered her passion for running a couple of years ago, has vowed to raise money for Princess Alice Hospice for as long as she is active

Nina McNeill had always been sporty but only took up running seriously once her young daughter had started school.

“After 18 years of marriage and having four children, I started running and it rekindled my passion,” she said

Staring with short runs and 5k challenges, within three years Nina has completed 35 half-marathons and six full marathons – including the recent Snowdonia event, in which she raised £1,233.28 for the Hospice.

What’s more, she ran with torn knee ligaments and bruised ribs – having fallen badly during her favourite outdoor pursuit – obstacle racing.

Nina chose to support Princess Alice Hospice as a result of the care and support given to her beloved Aunty Marilyn, who died at the Hospice in May this year, surrounded by her family.

Nina visited the Hospice every day from her home in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, juggling childcare, a fulltime job and part-time job in a pub.

She was extremely impressed by the Hospice and everyone she encountered during her aunt’s time here.

“The care my aunt received here was amazing, second to none” said Nina.

Nina recalled the weekend her aunt died as a time of joy as well as sadness; it was the Royal Wedding celebrations and she said the atmosphere at the Hospice was brilliant. “We joined the celebrations, watched TV, had cake – it was lovely,” she said.

When she learned how heavily the Hospice relies on donations and shops to fund its £9.9m annual care bill, she promised to do as much as she could to help.

The pub where she works part-time – the Alfred Arms – has also got behind Nina’s efforts and raised £600 towards her Snowdonia total by a fundraising night.

Nina brought two of her children to the Hospice to see the Giving Dove feather sponsored in her aunt’s name – Marilyn Andrews.

Nina’s sights are now set on the 2019 Brighton Marathon – with the London event being her ambition in 2020.

“I’m proud to be able to help the Hospice by my running,” she said.

Photo: Nina crosses the line in the Snowdonia Marathon

Stanley’s growing interest pays off for Hospice - 27 November 2018

A kind-hearted schoolboy’s wish to raise funds for those less fortunate has become a great success

Stanley Parrott turned an interest in gardening into a profitable veg and flower business over the summer and raised money for two causes close to his heart.

Eight-year-old Stanley decided to earn funds for a young friend with cerebral palsy, then added Princess Alice Hospice to his cause after the death of a much-loved family friend.

He asked his Mum Nikki and Dad Barry for a vegetable trough for his seventh birthday, then set to growing a variety of vegetables and flowers for sale to neighbours and friends.

He called into Princess Alice Hospice with his donation of £121.06, accompanied by his family.

His family’s longterm and close friend Nobby Wadmore, had been cared for both at home and at the Hospice until he died in January this year.

His wife Jackie, who accompanied Stanley and his Mum, brother and sister on their visit, said the care Nobby had received could not have been better.

“He used to go along to the Day Services while he was at home, and also spent a couple of weeks at a time at the Hospice – it was brilliant,” said Jackie. “Everyone was so kind and caring.”

It was during the Christmas season last year that Nobby was admitted, and he died in mid-January surrounded by his family.

Stanley’s project saw him raise carrots, beetroots, tomatoes, radishes, sunflowers and more. He named the enterprise Curly Roots Produce and made publicity posters and leaflets to deliver round the area, with the help of his brother Alfie and friend and neighbour Imogen.

Not resting on his laurels, he already has winter vegetables on the go – with plans to continue to grow his business.

Photo: Young businessman Stanley Parrott has a plot to succeed

Gerald’s on the run at 88 - 26 November 2018

There’s a first time for everything, they say – so after 23 years of retirement, 88-year-old Gerald has decided to join a Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Run

Former machine shop foreman Gerald, who hails from Whitton, has been walking regularly in Richmond Park and Bushy Park for the best part of a year, having joined the Princess Alice Hospice Walk and Talk group after the death of his wife Margaret.

They both worked at the Wilson and Kyle factory in Brentford; Margaret starting at 14 and Gerald at 17.

They married in 1958 and moved to a house in Whitton they day they were married, where they raised a family and where Gerald still lives.

He was inspired to join the fun run by a new friend he made while on the regular Princess Alice Hospice Walk and Talk strolls in Bushy Park.

“I got to know Barry, who has been on the walks for a couple of years – and who did the fun run last year,” said Gerald. “I thought ‘why not?’ so I’ve put my name down.”

He said he could not believe how wonderful the care was that Margaret received from the Princess Alice Hospice Community Team towards the end of her life in a local care home.

“It was six-star service – if there is such a thing!” he said.

Gerald – who was not a great runner but enjoyed running, reckons he will be taking the fun run at a leisurely pace – hopefully a fast walk.

If you would like to join Gerald and our other Santas in one of our upcoming fun runs in Richmond Park and Bushy Park, sign up at or call 01372 461808

Quality party wear without breaking the bank - 26 November 2018

With the party season well under way, the shops are full of sparkles, glitz and glamour.









Dresses can be an expensive purchase at an already costly time of year.

Did you know our Princess Alice Hospice shop in Shepperton has a dedicated floor of party and bridal wear? Labels such as Asos, Phase Eight, Pretty Little Thing and Monsoon are up for sale from as little as £20 each, cheap enough to buy two!

Linda Kemp, Manager of the Shepperton shop said: ”The quality of the dresses being donated is fabulous. A lot of them are brand new or have only been worn once. We’re very grateful for them and they are extremely popular.”

As well as a glamorous party dress, you can also find shoes, handbags and all the accessories you might need for your festive outfit.

The Hospice Shepperton shop is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 9am – 4.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm pop along and check out the party dresses.


Elvis spotted in Princess Alice Hospice shop - 24 November 2018

It’s Now Or Never for fans of the King of Rock ‘n Roll hoping to get their hands on some vintage vinyl

Scores of original Elvis Presley albums spanning his recording career have been donated to the Princess Alice Hospice shop on Feltham High Street – handed in by a mystery donor.

The morning after we tweeted we were All Shook Up by the gift, the manager arrived at the shop to find an eager customer waiting.

“He spent around £100 in one go – a fantastic find for him and a great result for us,” said manager Debbie Fewster.

“We have never had such an unusual donation. We hope there’s a lot of interest in these great albums – there’s still a lot available.”

Debbie and her volunteer assistant, Sylvia Allen, have been working their way through the treasure trove, pricing the dozens of albums for display.

The Feltham shop is not unfamiliar with rock royalty – just up the High Street is the Queen star Freddie Mercury’s “Walk of Fame” memorial set in the pavement.

Photo: Sylvia, left and Debbie with a couple of the albums in the Feltham shop.

Hospice Man Shed claims UK top spot - 23 November 2018

The highest accolade in the land was awarded to the Princess Alice Hospice Man Shed at a national competition at the weekend

The judges admitted they were “blown away” by what they learned about what goes on at the Man Shed in the Esher-based Hospice grounds.

The organisers, UK Men’s Sheds Association, said: “We were truly blown away by your application which gave insight into all that the Princess Alice Hospice Man Shed is providing to patients, carers and bereaved relatives. It really is truly wonderful to read and hear.”

The Man Shed of the Year 2018 prize was accepted by volunteer session leader Ken Snowdon at the annual ShedFest event at Worcester, in front of 250 fellow shedders from across the country.

In making the award the Chairman, UKMSA – Nathan Sarea – said: “We are delighted that this year to be able to give this award to Princess Alice Hospice Man Shed. They have done amazing work in bringing together the patients, staff and community to create this unique Shed.

“Loneliness is a serious issue which affects people of all ages and backgrounds and is often a particular problem at difficult times in our lives. This Shed has shown how we can help people stay positive and feel valued throughout such times.”

Hospice Community Engagement officer Helen Sergeant said afterwards: “We are so proud to have won Shed of the Year 2018; the therapeutic benefits of the Man Shed – for session leaders and shedders – are enormous and we are extremely proud of it.

“It truly changes lives, it gives people happiness, it gives them confidence and comfort and helps them move on with their lives.”

Photo: Man Shed volunteer session leader Ken Snowdon with the award at ShedFest.


Decking cheque checks in - 21 November 2018

A compassionate contractor went beyond providing professional services when they made a £6,400 donation to Princess Alice Hospice

Mike Wilderink, Managing Director of the Outdoor Deck Company of Teddington, presented the cheque on the fantastic new decking area installed by his company at the Esher-based Hopsice this summer.

Mike said: “I recognise and have experienced first-hand the important work the Hospice does in the local community and I’m pleased to support the specialist care and work it provides in caring for patients and their families.”

The Outdoor Deck Company were commissioned to remove the existing deck that surrounds the Hospice and replace it with a new composite decked area with glass balustrades.

The new deck provides an attractive and tranquil safe outdoor space for a number of patient rooms, providing beautiful views of the gardens and koi pond.

Martin Osborn, Hospice Facilities Manager, who accepted the donation, said: “We are delighted with the new deck, which provides our patients and visitors in the front and west-facing rooms with a relaxing and peaceful outdoor space.

“Mike’s generous donation will be used to buy new comfortable Rattan outdoor furniture, with any surplus being used for much-needed patient care.”

Photo – Cheque on deck: Outdoor Deck Company MD Mike Wilderink, left, holds the cheque with Hospice facilities manager Martin Osborn

Floral fundraiser £500 for Hospice - 15 November 2018

A group of creative students called into Princess Alice Hospice with a welcome gift – cash they had earned from a college enterprise activity.

The 14 Supported Learning students at Kingston College spend time each week creating stylish, colourful desktop floral arrangements for staff.

At £1.50 each, these pretty reminders of the work of the Hospice not only enable the young people to learn and perfect skills, they offer a chance to help others through their donation.

“Alongside the improvement of fine motor skills, the enterprise helps students to realise they can make a small difference to the lives of others through their effort,” said their tutor.

“They are so proud when they deliver the cheques to the Hospice each year.”

One of the students involved – who are all aged between 19 and 22 – commented: “The project is good because it raises money to help people.”

The full-time Supported Learning course is tailored for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities.

It equips them with skills for work, skills for independence and personal progress; subjects include English, maths, ICT, cookery, art/craft, home management and sport.

Claire Woodward, Senior Partnerships Fundraiser at the Hospice, said: “It was great to meet the group when they brought along the £500 donation; their fundraising effort is very much appreciated and enables us to continue our work in the Hospice and across the community.

“What’s more – they also gave us a lovely impromptu performance of a song from Mary Poppins, the musical they had recently performed.”

First Facebook fundraiser for Hospice - 15 November 2018

Quick off the mark – and the first to sign up as a Facebook Fundraiser for Princess Alice Hospice – is a Teddington-based supporter raising funds in memory of his Dad

Andrew Dubey-James celebrated his 46th birthday by forgoing presents in favour of collecting online donations for the Hospice, which provided home-based care for his father, Charlie, before he died.

“I was talking to my Mum, Pat, about the ‘Hospice at Home’ nurse (also called Andrew) who had given us such tremendous support. By coincidence, I spotted the appeal for Facebook Fundraisers”.

“There were no two ways about it, so I signed up and set a target of £200,” he said.

“The help my Mum and Dad (Charlie) received was tremendous; it was entirely through the ‘Hospice at Home’ service that Dad could stay with his loved ones. The carers who came around were absolutely amazing. They took care of everything he needed to be happy and comfortable.

“Mum was given emotional support which enabled her to spend quality time with Dad during his final days.”

Andrew’s appeal message to friends and family on Facebook reads: “For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to Princess Alice Hospice.

“I’ve chosen this charity because of the help and support they gave my family and especially my Dad during his last few weeks, so their mission means a lot to me, and I hope that you’ll consider contributing as a way of saying thank you.”

The response from those who saw his message quickly broke through his target and reached £270 as the deadline arrived.

Andrew, an Army Staff Sergeant based at DMRC Headley Court, Epsom, spent his birthday literally plastered; he recently tripped at work and broke both wrists. It didn’t prevent him raising a glass on his big day with thanks to all those who donated in his dad’s memory.

>>>>   Facebook Fundraisers show their giving side by inviting donations in lieu of gifts – be it for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other celebration.

Visit our website at and on the Fundraisers section at the top, click on Create and follow the instructions.

Photo: Consoled by cards: Andrew Dubey-James who gave up his gifts for charity


Ready, get set . . . for winter - 5 November 2018

There’s no getting away from it – with warnings of plummeting temperatures and darker evenings upon us, winter is finally becoming reality.

The promised blast of Artic weather has materialised – bringing snow, sleet and hail in parts of the UK as the mercury heads towards freezing; councils have posted online pictures of gritters on standby.

So why not tackle the frosty season head-on and make the most of it? Banish the winter blues, and fight off the extra festive pounds by signing up now to one of the Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Runs.


Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • To keep “winter tiredness” at bay, get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, advises the NHS;
  • Counteract stress with meditation – which can be done on the move with a walking app;
  • Listen to uplifting tracks as you exercise – what better than the new Shatner Claus Christmas album featuring William “Captain Kirk” Shatner’s take on festive songs – joined by the likes of Iggy Pop, Rick Wakeman, and ZZ Top?
  • Arrive home to a warming bowl of winter veggie soup – carrots, parsnips, swede, turnips;
  • Sneak a treat from your novelty Advent calendar – varieties this year include Christmas gins, marshmallows, gemstones, green teas, biscuits – even pork scratchings!;
  • Make the most of winter breakfasts – starchy cereals combined with fruit, milk and yoghurt to boost your immune system
  • Call into your local Princess Alice Hospice shop to pick up some winter warmer bargains – we have boots, coats, skiwear, knitwear, winter hats, gloves and scarves at very reasonable prices

For details of the Santa Fun Runs, visit

Rocky’s golf bonus for Hospice - 1 November 2018

Take one stuntman, a boxer, a handful of snooker players, footballers and actors - and challenge them to a game of golf . . .

Result: a cash bonus for the one good cause they all support – Princess Alice Hospice.

Stuntman Rocky Taylor – the Cobham-based veteran of scores of movies – hosted a day of golf followed by dinner and entertainment at Burhill Golf Club.

The day was enjoyed by former world champion boxer John Conteh, snooker stars Steve Davis, John Virgo and Ireland’s Patsy Fagan, as well as former England and West Ham footballer Trevor Brooking; QPR and Arsenal footballer Terry Mancini and A Touch Of Frost actor John Lyons.

During the evening fundraising dinner, at which comedian Kev Orkian brought the house down, an auction helped top up the funds – with items including a golfing voucher for four from Irish pro golfer John O’Leary and a signed album by actor/singer Jess Conrad.

Rocky called by the Hospice with John Virgo (former professional snooker player, co-host of BBC’s Big Break, and commentator for BBC snooker coverage) to hand over the £3,615 raised by the event held in August.

The golf and dinner is now in its third very successful year. To date Rocky and his fellow golfers have raised around £12,000 for the Hospice.

Tim Iredale, Princess Alice Senior Partnerships Fundraiser said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Rocky and Burhill Golf Club chose to support the Hospice with this marvellous golf day for a third year in a row.  It’s wonderful that all involved can have a brilliant day out on the course in the knowledge that they are also helping to support such a worthy cause.

“This funding is vital for us to be able to provide palliative end of life care and bereavement support across such a wide area.”

Rocky was especially grateful to Farrants of Cobham for supplying the 80 goodie bags for the players on the day; with extra thanks to organisers Paul and Anita Jones.

Next year Rocky will be auctioning signed copies of his upcoming autobiography Jump, Rocky, Jump at the event pencilled in for 16 August.

Pictured – Cue for thanks: From left, snooker pundit John Virgo, Hospice Senior Partnerships Fundraiser Tim Iredale, and Rocky Taylor

DHL Express deliver for Princess Alice Hospice - 22 October 2018

A motley team of football-fan cyclists has raised a bumper sum for Princess Alice Hospice

A team of 20 set off from DHL Express’ Colnbrook HQ, bound for Belgium where the firm’s European divisions compete in an annual football tournament.

Among them was Fleet Services Manager Jason Free, whose personal goal has been to stay trim and fit after losing an amazing 12 stones in weight. He took up cycling to help manage his weight and enjoyed it so much he has remained a regular rider.

His colleagues included keen competitive cyclists as well as occasional riders, and people like him who enjoy the sport for their health. They did the 300-mile trip in three days, with Chief Executive Ian Wilson riding alongside as well.

“The trip to Lommel, where the tournament was held, was a joy for me,” he said, adding that the DHL Express UK team’s win on penalties against Germany was an undoubted bonus.

The 20 riders donated money themselves and raised £2,850, which Jason presented to Prince Alice Hospice.

Accepting the giant cheque on behalf of the Hospice, senior partnership fundraiser Claire Woodward said: “Donations from kind-hearted people like the DHL Express colleagues make it possible for us to continue our vital work in the Hospice and in the community. We rely heavily on donations and are always impressed with the effort people put in to helping us.”

Swapping wheels for trainers, Jason’s next challenge is the 2020 London Marathon.

Our photo shows: DHL Express Fleet Services Manager Jason Free, left, with Princess Alice Hospice senior partnership fundraiser Claire Woodward and DHL Express Head of Health Safety & Environment Keith Sturge

BP gift makes quick work of garden tasks - 22 October 2018

A crisp sunny autumn day saw the arrival of a crowd of keen volunteers at Princes Alice Hospice, donating a new leaf-blower to help tidy up the grounds

The group from BP Sunbury’s HR department were put to work to help the Hospice volunteer gardeners during their weekly tasks.

As well as collecting the hundreds of fallen leaves which cover the garden each year, they raked, dug, planted shrubs and weeded throughout the morning.

They were kept fuelled by tea, coffee and cake – and a lunch enjoyed at the end of the session.

Hospice Facilities Manager Martin Osborn said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome the BP teams on their volunteering visits. They really get involved and work hard to help our garden volunteers maintain our lovely grounds.

“They are great ambassadors for their company and tell us they appreciate the opportunity for team-building and giving something back by volunteering.”

BP staff are regular visitors to the Hospice’s Esher base, where they use their volunteering time for team-building and networking across the company.

Teams of volunteers will soon be seen around the Hospice care area, publicising the upcoming annual Santa Fun Run – wearing distinctive Santa suits!

Our picture shows BP’s Nigel Caufield with garden volunteer John and the new leaf blower

Gym girls’ display raises funds - 22 October 2018

Nine nimble gymnasts staged their own display to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice – and popped in to the Dorking shop to share the proceeds

They handed over a magnificent £240, raised at a Sunday morning display in the playground of Surrey Hills School, Westcott, in the summer term.

The gymnasts had decided to raise money for a good cause and, as one of the girls’ grandmas was cared for at the Hospice, they chose the charity to benefit.

With the head teacher’s permission to use the playground on a weekend, they performed a display for families and friends and raised funds via a collection on the day.

The girls’ parents provided drinks, while the girls themselves made cakes which brought in further donations from the 50-strong audience.

The girls, all aged nine or 10, usually practise at a club in Leatherhead but decided to create and perform their show close to home.

Cherie Noy, Princess Alice Hospice Deputy Director Retail Operations, said: “We were so impressed with the girls’ initiative in organising the entire thing from start to finish – and the proceeds from the show are most welcome.

“It’s heartwarming to see young people getting involved in fundraising for a cause close to their hearts. I hope they continue to support the Hospice in future!”

Handover, from left: Emily, Eloise, Flo, Millie, Pip, Lucy. Abbie standing behind. Not pictured, River and Eden.

Clothes, for what they’re worth - 18 October 2018

If you think your wardrobe is costing you the earth - you are probably right!

Almost everyone is aware of the devastating effects on the environment, of discarded plastic and the pollutants generated by its production.

Only recently is the spotlight being turned on the globally-damaging effects of clothing manufacture and our obsession with buying clothes.

Recent TV documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secret (BBC3) triggered headlines in the nationals – “Shoppers vow to ditch fast fashion” . . . after the show revealed an entire sea has been drained to desert by cotton production in Uzbekistan – just one example of the devastation wrought by clothes production globally.

An investigation is currently under way by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, into ways in which the clothes industry – worth £28bn a year to the UK economy – can be made more sustainable.

Our almost insatiable appetite for new clothes – worn a few times and then discarded, can add to landfill if they are just binned. Add to this pollution, the release of toxic chemicals throughout the manufacturing process and the scourge of microscopic man-made fibres flushed into the water system when we wash our clothes.

Among the solutions which can help slow down the process of environmental damage, is to make the most of Princess Alice Hospice shops –  for both donations of usable clothing, and for picking up items that have plenty of wear left in them.

People frequently donate top quality, hardly-worn items which can be picked up for a fraction of their original price.

We visited our Esher outlet to pick out a few outfits to show the way you can look nifty and be thrifty – and help the planet at the same time.

We also looked into how much those charity purchases could buy in terms of services provided by Princess Alice Hospice.

Cherie Noy, Deputy Director Retail Operations, said: “Canny clothes shoppers are realising the fantastic bargains to be had at Princess Alice Hospice shops.

“Thanks to our generous donors we can stock fabulous designer wear and accessories – and we price them keenly to appeal to people who love to look good without breaking the bank.

“Not only does the Hospice benefit – but ultimately the environment as well.”

Ø  Don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation if you can – this tax break means an extra 25p for every pound in the till.

Our ensembles comprised:

Pictured: Outdoor practical: Pink bobble hat: £5; White Hawke jacket: £15; Pink M&S sweater: £6; River Island jeans: £6.95; Leopard print Zara wellies: £9.  £41.95 (£155 new) This would pay for just under two hours of care at home by an Enhanced Support Service Nurse

Chic and cheerful: Green sequinned LK Bennett dress: £59; Grey Carvela shoes: £10; Rodo clutch bag: £35; Stella & Dot necklace: £23.95; bangles from £3.  £136.95 (£920 new)

This would pay for a visit to a patient at home by a Rapid Response Nurse; a session of physiotherapy at the Day Services and two family bereavement support sessions

Casual class: Black Lipsy jacket: £12; Short leather studded boots: £9; Mustard blouse: £8; black trousers: £7; black Zara bag: £9.   £45 (£270 new)

This would pay for two bereavement support group sessions for a child, plus a year’s worth of art materials.


Money-spinning discs boost Hospice shop takings - 18 October 2018

Scores of vinyl records collected over several decades, have hit the shelves of a Weybridge charity shop.

The 33s and 45s – ranging from Mario Lanza and James Last to Queen – were donated to boost the takings in an “Apprentice” style challenge.

Teams of volunteers from DHL Express were recruited for a day at the Princess Alice Hospice shops in Weybridge and Shepperton. The challenge was to increase takings and beat the other team’s efforts.

The boxes of rock, pop, classic and easy listening records were donated by DHL Express Reward and Recognition Advisor Harry Tugwood. They had been collected over several decades by his Grandma. “She lived next door to a record shop and built up a huge collection,” said Harry. He and his dad collected all the records together after she died and decided to use them to benefit the local Hospice.

Customers at the shop were also tempted by a raffle to win a signed Harlequins rugby shirt donated by DHL Express.

Over at the Shepperton shop, the DHL Express team were also set to work, sorting donations, preparing clothes for sale and pricing goods.

The team offered face painting to raise further funds.

Thirteen staff from the global logistics firm’s Colnbrook HQ took part in the challenge. Winners will be announced once the takings have been added up and compared with the same period last year.

“Everyone had a fantastic day – it was hard work but lots of fun and we’re so pleased to help the Hospice via this event,” said DHL Express’ Keith Sturge. “As a team-building opportunity this is excellent and our staff gain a great deal from the experience,” he added.

Hospice Retail Operations Deputy Director Cherie Noy said: “Income from our 47 shops is incredibly important to Princess Alice Hospice; without the generosity of customers and volunteers, maintaining our services would be impossible. We’re deeply grateful to DHL Express for choosing to support the Hospice in so many ways – and with such enthusiasm!”

Our picture shows Ollie Kirkman, left, and Harry Tugwood sorting through and pricing the record collection

Be like Santa – Challenge yourself to 5k - 12 October 2018

There’s still time to help a good cause and do yourself a whole lot of good before Christmas – by taking the Couch to 5k Challenge

The NHS-designed programme will help you gradually work up towards running 5K in just 9 weeks – enough time to get fit for the last of the Santa Fun Runs in aid of Princess Alice Hospice.

 There’s a choice of dates spread over four weekends in good time for Christmas, with the final one on 16 December.

 First run this year – 25 November – sees a magnificent addition to the choice of 5k runs – Painshill Park in Cobham, the award-winning 18th century landscape garden with beautiful vistas, trees, water features and follies.

We’ve also added a second date to the Bushy Park schedule. This brings to four the number of Royal Park runs – two each in Richmond Park and Bushy Park. 

An “Early Bird” discount is on offer for anyone signing up before 31 October. 

All routes are 5km – you can run, jog, walk or just stroll – alongside the hundreds of fellow Santas expected to turn out to raise much-needed funds for your local Hospice.

 For dates, details and to book, visit

 Details of NHS Couch to 5k:

Santa sets the pace for fun runs! - 4 October 2018

Santa’s cover was blown this week, when he was spotted out and about in pursuit of a great new fun run venue for Princess Alice Hospice in Esher.

The red-suited one was pictured on a recce in the spectacular setting of Painshill Park, Cobham – where he traced the 5km route that’s been designed to delight everyone who signs up.

Sweeping vistas, magnificent follies and pretty waterside paths make this what must be the most picturesque fun run route of all, to kick off the 2018 season.

We’ve also added a second date to the Bushy Park schedule. This brings to four the number of Royal Park runs – two each in Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

There’s a choice of dates spread over four weekends in good time for Christmas.

All routes are 5km – you can run, jog, walk or just stroll – alongside the hundreds of fellow Santas expected to turn out to raise much-needed funds for your local Hospice.

Runs are scheduled on Saturday 25th November at Painshill Park; 1st December at Richmond Park and the 9th and 16th December at Bushy Park. Runners can be big or little, on four legs as well as two(!), in teams, or singles and family groups.

Entry is £18 for 16s and over, which includes a free Santa Suit; £8 for five- to 15-year-olds which includes a free elf hat. Under-5s are free. Book by 31st October for a 20% discount.

“Our festive fundraisers always raise lots of smiles as well as vital funds – it’s inspiring to see the turnout at these popular events,” said Nigel Seymour, Director of Fundraising at the hospice which serves a population of around 1 million in Surrey, SW London and Middlesex.

“We rely on fundraising and our community support to generate the £9.9 million we need every year to provide Hospice care free of charge. We are so grateful to each and every fundraiser, as the money raised really does make an enormous difference to the care we can provide at Christmas.”

For details and to book, visit

Everybody needs good neighbours - 25 September 2018

More than 160 crazy golfers of all ages turned out for a day of family fun and fundraising, in aid of Princess Alice Hospice.

Just over £1300 was raised by the event held at Sandown Park Golf Centre, Esher.

Organiser David Smith, owner of the Wishing Well card shop in Great Bookham, masterminded the day; his store is next door to the Princess Alice Hospice outlet in the High Street and over the years the two shops’ staff have formed a warm friendship.

David wanted to arrange an event which would appeal to families and friends; raising money for the Hospice was a natural choice.

Hospice shop manager Val Woodward said: “This was all down to David – it was a fantastic day and we’re very grateful.”

David said: “It was perfect – a great family day was what we were aiming for and it came together thanks to the efforts of so many kind people: The golf centre offered the venue free; we had great prize donations including wine from William Reed of Crawley, and Surrey Hills Community Radio helped with publicity.”

Shop staff and volunteers pitched in with sourcing tombola and raffle prizes; selling tickets and helping out on the day.

Val also had a special “thank you” to Leatherhead store manager, Anita Latham, who gave her time to help at the event.

Dove from Above - 19 September 2018

A flash-mob of volunteers, supporters and staff formed themselves into a giant living, colourful version of the Hospice’s iconic dove symbol – to mark the launch of its Compassionate Communities campaign.

The 85-strong crowd gathered on the Event Field at Garson’s Farm, Esher, where the bird’s eye view was captured by a drone – which also produced stunning footage of the logo taking shape as it flew over the scene.

The innovative campaign’s aim is to encourage people to come together to make a difference – highlighting how everyone can support and help others in their local community. That might be volunteering in one of the Hospice’s 47 shops, becoming a compassionate neighbour, volunteering at our new allotment or becoming part of our wider support network.

Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director of Community Engagement, extended her thanks to everyone who had contributed to the “Dove-mob”.

“The event was a lot of fun – but also showed what can be achieved if everyone does their bit; Compassionate Communities is about coming together to offer support and have a positive effect on the lives of people around you.”

Among those taking part were corporate volunteers from global logistics company DHL’s team at Slough and East Midlands, along with customers and staff of Garson’s, who have chosen Princess Alice Hospice as their nominated charity for the year.

Are you ready to Rock the golf course? - 5 September 2018

On Friday 17th August 2018, Stuntman Rocky Taylor hosted an amazing day of Golf followed by dinner and entertainment at Burhill Golf Club in aid of Princess Alice Hospice.

Tee off was at 11am with 20 teams taking part. John Virgo (former professional snooker player, co-host of BBC’s Big Break, and commentator for BBC snooker coverage), Steve Davis OBE (6 times snooker world champion, winner of 28 ranking titles, BBC snooker pundit) and Stephen Hendry MBE (7 times snooker world champion, winner of 36 ranking titles and commentator for the BBC and ITV) were just three of the famous faces attending.

They were joined on the green by Sir Trevor Brooking, John Conteh, Dave Jones, Luther Blissett, Kenny Lynch, Jason Burrill, Paul Jones and Paul Walsh.

The event is now in its third very successful year. To date Rocky and his fellow golfers have raised almost £9,000 for the Hospice.

Evening entertainment was provided by Raymond and Mr Timpkins.

Tim Iredale, Princess Alice Senior Partnerships Fundraiser said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Rocky and Burhill Golf Club chose to support the Hospice with this marvellous golf day for a third year in a row.  It’s wonderful that all involved had a brilliant day out on the course in the knowledge that they are also helping to support such a worthy cause.  And I’m personally very excited that my snookering hero, Steve Davis, was there!”

Rocky Taylor added: “We wanted the day to be a real success and raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile, local charity.”

It’s the shedders second birthday! - 19 June 2018

On 20 June, our wonderful Man Shed, whose users are fondly referred to as ‘shedders’, celebrates its second birthday. In the space of two short years, this innovative resource has had a huge impact, both on individuals and on the wider community.

Man Shed, which is only the second hospice-based shed of its kind and the first volunteer-led in the UK, was originally conceived as a way to reach out to the ‘missing men’ within our communities who were not seeking support – bereaved husbands who had lost their sense of purpose, men who were caring for their partner and needed someone to talk to, and men coming to terms with their own terminal illness. The intention was to provide a friendly and inclusive environment, in a building quite separate from the Hospice, where men could work on practical projects of their own choosing at their own pace. This would encourage the development of relationships in a way that was natural for them and meet the unanswered needs which illness, caring and bereavement often brings.

From small beginnings – just a handful of shedders in the first month – Man Shed has become a hive of activity, with more than a hundred sessions each month. People like Andy, whose wife Louise sadly died at the Hospice on the morning of Man Shed’s opening. Louise had suggested that Andy and his two sons might like to attend Man Shed as a way of forming a connection with the Hospice. “Coming here makes things easier for me,” Andy explains, “and it feels like I’m giving back to the Hospice through Man Shed because I can come, and I can help other people. I’ve been through leukaemia myself, and also lost my wife. I know various people here have gone through the same thing, and I know how they feel. Some of them are quite a bit older than me but it’s not about age. You’ve lost a partner, and you need something to carry on.”

And if you thought it was a male-only domain, think again! Of the eight weekly woodworking sessions, two are designated for ladies. Man Shed also offers basic DIY and computer literacy sessions for bereaved women. Young people who are being supported by the Hospice are made very welcome too.

Sessions at Man Shed are all run by talented volunteers, who have often been builders or craftsmen in their working life. It’s brought volunteers from a different background to the Hospice but has also inspired some shedders, including Andy, to take on the role of session leader themselves, bringing a rich seam of experience and understanding to the Man Shed mix.

Man Shed is run at no cost to the Hospice: its materials are donated by local businesses. Not only that, items produced by the shedders are of exceptional quality – wooden Easter bunnies, candlesticks and bespoke memory boxes for example – and have raised an impressive amount when sold at the Hospice’s Christmas and summer fairs.

At the recent Civil Society Charity Awards, and competing against much larger national charities, Man Shed came runner-up in the Education and Training category. A huge achievement that reflects the impact of Man Shed, not just on our local community but as an example, we believe, for other hospices to follow.

If you are interested in finding out more about Man Shed or you’d like to become a shedder or a session leader, please contact the Volunteering team – phone: 01372 461856 or



Father’s Day and grief - 15 June 2018

Grief is hard at any time, and at any age, but special occasions can be particularly difficult for people coping with bereavement.

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone, and you may find these suggestions useful.

• It’s OK to feel sad – it’s likely to be a difficult time and you should allow yourself to grieve
• Ask for support if you need it – those around you may feel awkward asking but keen to help however they can
• Think about how you want to spend your time
• Is there a family tradition that you’d like to continue, or is that too painful at the moment? You can always start a new tradition
• If you do want to be out and about, think about the type of places that may suit your mood – for example gardens may provide peace and tranquillity
• If you don’t want to do anything at all, that’s fine – just take some time for yourself and maybe a moment to reflect
• Look after yourself – because grief can be very tiring and draining
• Share your memories with family and friends
• You may like to mark the occasion by doing something to symbolise shared times, or by simply lighting a candle in your loved one’s memory
• It’s OK to enjoy yourself and feel happy – you shouldn’t feel guilty


‘Thank you’ – An open letter from Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive - 1 June 2018

Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), is a chance to celebrate the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Senior Management Team and all of the staff at Princess Alice Hospice, to thank our amazing volunteers who generously give their time, energy and skills to enable us to provide patients, carers and families with the outstanding care and support they deserve.

We have more than 1,300 volunteers, aged between 16 and 100, from a wide range of backgrounds and communities fulfilling 100 different roles at the Hospice, in the community and in our shops. Some of our volunteers have been with us for more than 30 years.

We are hosting two special events to celebrate our volunteers:

  • Tuesday 5 June from 2.30 pm – Tea Party at the Hospice, West End Lane, Esher, KT10 8NA
  • Wednesday 6 June from 6 pm – Volunteers’ Quiz Night at the Hospice

All of our volunteers are welcome to attend one or both events; please let the Volunteering team know if you are planning to come along – or call 01372 461856.

Creating and nurturing ‘compassionate communities’ will be crucial to the future provision of end of life care in the coming years and expanding and broadening our volunteering offering will very much be a focus of that. We are always delighted to hear from people who would like to volunteer for us – there is something for everyone.

Finally, the Hospice simply could not operate without the dedication of volunteers; their commitment, compassion and life experiences bring an enormous richness and diversity to the Hospice family. We are immensely proud of them all.

Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive

Celebrating our amazing volunteers - 24 May 2018

We will be thanking our volunteers for contributing their valuable time, energy and skills during several special events taking place to mark Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June. Members of the Hospice’s Senior Management Team will also be visiting all 46 Hospice shops to say a personal ‘thank you’ to its hundreds of shop volunteers.

There will be daily events including corporate volunteering by BP, a tea party and a quiz night.

Vanessa Hill, Volunteer Manager said: “Volunteers are central to the work of the Hospice and we are lucky enough to have more than 1,200 people volunteering in over 100 different roles at the Hospice, in our shops and in the community. We simply could not provide the services we do without their support; they add enormous value to everything we do and so we want to mark this week by saying a big ‘Thank You’ to them.”

For many charities the week will also be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer. In the case of the Hospice, we are looking for volunteers for our shops particularly in Epsom, Raynes Park, Twickenham, Banstead, Chertsey, Sunbury, Staines and Walton on Thames.

We are also looking for volunteers to support patients in the wider community. Anybody wishing to volunteer should email or for more information visit

Launch of new community volunteer role - 15 May 2018

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Community Hub Volunteers Project. The project is a brand new collaboration with East Elmbridge Hub designed to support people in thinking about their choices and wishes for the future, up until the end of their life. 15 volunteers attended their final training session at the Hospice on Monday 14 May – the first day of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Commissioned by Surrey Downs CCG, the project involves volunteers who will meet weekly for four – six weeks with a member of the community living with a life-limiting illness to go through the process of Advance Care Planning. The volunteers will offer people an opportunity to consider their future care and write their wishes down, which can then be shared with the people important to them and updated long afterwards. They will be supported to think through important decisions in the hopes that this will help them to put those decisions and wishes into practice when they need to.

The role is being launched in East Elmbridge Hub at Molesey Community Hospital, and will be extended to the Epsom & Leatherhead Hub in the coming months. Anybody interested in the role supporting the Epsom and Leatherhead Hub should get in touch with

Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director, Community Engagement said: “This is an exciting project which supports our objective of reaching more people. It will enable the Hospice to work in partnership to support community members who are not Hospice patients but who are approaching the end of their lives”.

There are 100 different volunteering roles available at the Hospice, in its shops and in the community. Whilst the Community Hub Volunteers will offer short-term support, our Compassionate Neighbours role involves regularly visiting someone approaching the end of their lives. Full details of these and other roles can be found on our website



Dying Matters…to us all - 15 May 2018

The Hospice is teaming up with Epsom and St Helier Hospital and Kingston Hospital in two interactive events to mark Dying Matters week, the annual national awareness campaign which aims to open up debate and conversation about dying, death and bereavement.

The week will run from 14 to the 20 of May; there will be hundreds of events across the country asking “What Can You Do… in your community?”

Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director, Community Engagement, said: “With an ageing population we are a nation on the brink of a significant rise in the number of people dying each year. Within our care area alone we expect the number of people receiving our direct care and support to nearly double in the coming years. This makes it all the more important to do everything we can to break down the barriers around the issues involved with death and dying.

“By empowering our communities to talk to their families and friends openly about their wishes at the end of life – practically and emotionally – we hope to reduce the anxiety and heartache that many people are often faced with when a loved one dies, or when they are approaching the end of their lives.

“The Community Engagement team has been working with our partners to organise events which offer a safe and friendly space for people to feel inspired to ask difficult questions and think about a subject that will, inevitably, affect us all.”

On Monday 14 May we will be launching our newest volunteer role – ‘Advanced Care Planning Volunteer’. This is an exciting new partnership between the Hospice and East Elmbridge Hub. Volunteers will empower and support patients to think about and record their wishes for their end of life care. East Elmbridge Hub will match volunteers with a patient in the local community. Our volunteers will be having a briefing session at the Hospice followed by a launch celebration.

As well as internal events for Hospice staff and volunteers, Dying Matters week kicks off publicly on Wednesday 16 May with an information stall at the entrance to St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey between 11am and 12.30pm – pop along, pick up some information and have a chat.

Between 2pm and 4pm on Wednesday 16 May there is a drop-in ‘I did it my way’ café at St Helier Hospital for anyone interested in talking about death and dying.

On Friday 18 May there will be a Death Cafe in the Pink Room near the main entrance at Kingston Hospital between 10am and 11.30am where people can come together to discuss death and face their fears in a supportive environment.

These events are free and will provide a unique opportunity to share ideas, experiences, hopes and fears.

Man Shed makes Charity Awards shortlist - 15 May 2018

On Wednesday 9 May the Civil Society announced this year’s Charity Awards shortlist and we are delighted to confirm that Princess Alice Hospice’s nomination for Man Shed, has been chosen from hundreds of applications and in the Education and Training category.

Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director of Community Engagement said: “The Civil Society’s nomination process was rigorous and demanding involving up to 3,000 words of copy to satisfy six ‘Hallmarks of Excellence’ in:

  • Outcomes and effectiveness
  • Value for money
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • Replicability and scalability
  • Best practice

“We were aware that we were up against some big names in the charity sector. The last hospice to receive a Civil Society award was Julia’s House Hospice in 2012 in the Healthcare and Medical Research category for a project to expand palliative care for children in their homes.

“Man Shed is a cross-organisational project to be extremely proud of. Operational for less than two years – it was officially opened on 20 June 2016 – it is hard to imagine what life was like before it was built. It is only the second shed to be opened by a hospice in the UK and the first to be volunteer-led; rapidly becoming cost-neutral and making a good profit.

“Kathy Birch, Day Services Programme Lead, who presented the original idea and led on the project, was told about the shortlist news before she left for her Churchill Fellowship. She was absolutely delighted and sorry that she cannot make the awards ceremony which takes place at The Pavilion, Tower of London on Thursday 7 June.”

Mums Join Our Compassionate Neighbours Programme - 27 April 2018

We have come together with Clarendon Children’s Centre in Ashford to promote the Compassionate Neighbours volunteering programme. In February 2018, eleven potential volunteers signed up for six two-hour training sessions to become Compassionate Neighbours.

They were able to do the training because the experienced staff at the Clarendon Children’s Centre ran a crèche for their young children. Six of the mums successfully finished the course and will soon be matched with a community member living with a life limiting condition who they will visit once a week. Many of them intend to take their young children with them, recognising the power and importance of inter-generational contact.

Chief Executive, Nicki Shaw, presented them with their Compassionate Neighbours certificate, t-shirt and badge at an event at the Hospice on Thursday 26 April.

Maddi Burgess said: “After having my little girl I’ve been at home and feeling, like a lot of new mums, rather lonely. I started to wonder how many other lonely people there might be in the same position and found the Compassionate Neighbours Programme through my mother-in-law who is the manager of the children’s centre. I signed up for the training hoping to make new friends, get involved and do some good in the community.”

Rusa Parascovia said: “I am interested in taking the idea of Compassionate Neighbours and the ‘hospice world’ to my home country of Romania. I joined the programme to show and teach my children all about respect for older people and those in need.”

Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director of Community Engagement for the Hospice said: ‘This has been an amazing partnership that has removed the barriers to volunteering for a truly inspirational group of women. It has been a fantastic start to our aim of nurturing ‘Compassionate Ashford’ where people are confident and able to support people as they approach the end of their lives, or struggle with grief and loss. We would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved with our Compassionate Communities initiative, either in Ashford or elsewhere in our care area.

Sue Burgess, manager at Clarendon Children’s Centre said ‘We know how important volunteering is in building confidence and helping young parents return to work and this initiative has increased the confidence, skills and motivation of the group who are now able to help their local community. They are a real support to each other as well, which is so important.”

Marathon runners do us proud - 27 April 2018

Soaring temperatures did nothing to deter our runners in this years’ Virgin Media London Marathon.

A team of 15 ran in this years’ Virgin Media London Marathon to raise vital funds for the Hospice. The team included three members of staff: Community Engagement Programme Lead, Anne Cullen, who retires in May, Consultant, Clare Smith and Hospice at Home Locality Team Leader, Nina Kale – all finished in good times and smashed their fundraising targets.

Claire Woodward, Event Lead said: “Our runners were absolutely amazing. Each and every one of them – despite the heat – arrived at The Carlton Club for the post-race reception with huge smiles on their faces.

“So far, and people are still donating, they have collectively raised more than £55,000. This is the highest total ever raised from the London Marathon for Princess Alice Hospice.

“Thank you to all our fantastic runners and to everyone who has sponsored them, supported them on this journey and to all the volunteers, trustees and colleagues that contributed to the success of the event.”

If you would like to do something amazing and support the Hospice, enter next years’ Virgin London Marathon 2019 ballot which opens on Monday 30 April 2018.

Raynes Park Shop Hosts Art Exhibition - 17 April 2018

Our Raynes Park shop held a special Art Exhibition on Sunday 25 March 2018. The shop, which is open seven days a week and is well known locally for its wide selection of specialist high quality items, displayed a range of oil paintings, first edition children’s books, designer clothes (including a clerical cloak with the original brass fastening), handmade children’s wooden toys, beautiful jewellery and some marvellous original artwork.

Shop Manager, Maureen Creely and her amazing staff and volunteers raised more than £2,150 on the day and they still have some bids to consider for some of the items. The local Waitrose and Co-op gave their support supplying wine, orange juice and glasses for customers and Gleeson Framers assisted with some items which needed some TLC.

Maureen said: “There was a constant stream of people in and out of the shop and local interest and support was really high. The income that we raise from generous donations from the public helps us to provide vital care and support to patients and their families and carers.”

If you’d like to find your nearest Princess Alice Hospice shop visit

Our very own Day Services Lead awarded prestigious Churchill Fellowship - 13 March 2018

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) announced on Friday 9 March 2018 that Kathy Birch, our Programme Lead for Day Services, has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship in the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ category for her project ‘Extending the scope and reach of palliative day services’.

Kathy is one of up to 150 candidates chosen from approximately 1,000 applicants; the 2018 Fellows will travel to 48 countries across six continents to explore global best practice, gain knowledge and experience and bring back fresh ideas to benefit others in their UK professions, communities, and society as a whole.

Kathy joined the Hospice in 2001, initially as a physiotherapist followed by therapy team lead. In 2009 she became the Therapies and Day Services Manager while also continuing her work in physiotherapy, and in 2017 she became Programme Lead, supporting the strategic development of palliative day services at the Hospice, and implementing new programmes for people affected by a life-limiting illness.

Kathy – now a life-long Churchill Fellow – will travel to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand for six weeks in early May. She said: “I feel very honoured to have been given this unique and once in a lifetime opportunity. I know that different approaches to palliative care have been developed and adopted overseas and I am keen to learn and to explore new ways of supporting and reaching out to more people through day and outpatient services.

This trip will also give me the chance to establish new professional connections. I want to explore how other services support minority and ‘hard to reach’ groups, how informal caregivers are trained to look after their loved ones and see how digital technology is starting to be used to reach more people. I’m sure I’ll pick up lots of new ideas which I will share with my colleagues, both locally and nationally, when I return.”

On her way to Australia, Kathy will stop over in Singapore where she’ll look at their palliative day care provision. She’ll then visit health care professionals in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney before travelling on to Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.

Chief Executive at the Hospice, Nicki Shaw said: “We are all incredibly proud of Kathy’s achievement. We know that in the coming years we’ll see enormous pressure put on the provision of end of life care and support for families and carers. Kathy’s learning will be invaluable in helping us shape our future services to make our care go further.

“We wish Kathy the best of luck in her travels. Not only is she an inspiring ambassador for the Hospice, she’ll also prove to be an excellent ambassador for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.”

If you would like to know more about Kathy’s trip, take a look at her blog.

Coping with grief this Mother’s Day - 7 March 2018

We recognise that Mothers’ Day can be very difficult for many people, for a range of reasons.

Sarah Dowd, Senior Social Worker at Princess Alice Hospice, has the following suggestions which may help if you’re contemplating a special day without a loved one.

  • It’s OK to feel sad – it’s likely to be a difficult time and you should allow yourself to grieve
  • Ask for support if you need it – those around you may feel awkward asking but keen to help however they can
  • Think about how you want to spend your time
  • Is there a family tradition that you’d like to continue, or is that too painful at the moment? You can always start a new tradition
  • If you do want to be out and about, think about the type of places that may suit your mood – for example gardens may provide peace and tranquillity
  • If you don’t want to do anything at all, that’s fine – just take some time for yourself and maybe a moment to reflect
  • Look after yourself – because grief can be very tiring and draining
  • Share your memories with family and friends
  • You may like to mark the occasion by doing something to symbolise shared times, or by simply lighting a candle in your loved one’s memory
  • It’s OK to enjoy yourself and feel happy – you shouldn’t feel guilty

Launch of our Family Focussed Animation - 17 January 2018

Helping families stay involved and together up to the very end, is the message behind a new animated film launched by the Hospice, which aims to show the care and support the Hospice offers to patients and their families.


The film was created for the charity by award winning animation studio Plastic Milk, based in Kingston. The powerful animation Family Time, tells the story of the Pearcey family and how the Hospice offered comfort and advice at every stage of their loved one, Sarah’s, illness and death.

The film shows how creating memories and sharing special moments with the family is vital to a patient’s wellbeing and how children need and want to be involved.

Leo Ellmers, Senior Social Worker at the Hospice said “It’s not always easy to have the conversations you need to have when someone you love is dying. We help them find a way to have that conversation and to be open with one another. Children especially want to know what is happening, they want to be involved and play a role. We try to normalise things for the patient and their family, whether they are in the Hospice or their own home. The film really captures this. I hope it raises awareness of the care we offer, which is only possible with the support of our local communities.”

Death doesn’t discriminate and having a family member with a life limiting illness impacts on all aspects of family life. It can be a difficult story to put into words.

Duncan Raitt Head of Animation at Plastic Milk explains “Such an emotional story works really well as an animation, as it allows us to tell it in a way live action wouldn’t. We put a great deal of time and effort into making the film, as we not only wanted to do justice to the family’s story but also to capture the warmth and joyfulness of the Hospice and staff. I wanted Thomas Pullin to illustrate it. He’s an incredible talent and able to convey so much of the story from a single image. I found the Pearcey family’s story very powerful and moving. We all did. It really brought home to me how any one of us could find ourselves in a similar situation. How any one of us might need the support of a hospice like Princess Alice.”

Martin Pearcey said “I like the fact that people can hear our story as it may help others. Talking is important. The Hospice looks after the whole family, not just the individual and you don’t know how much the Hospice does to support people until you are in that position. I want the Hospice to be able to offer this kind of support to every family who wants and needs it.”

Princess Alice Hospice is highly regarded for its innovative and pioneering work with young people and families and is here for patients and their families when they need it most, helping them to feel better, to do more and to make the most of the time they have.

To view animation ‘Family Time’, find out more, get involved or donate please visit


Bringing death into the open - 17 January 2018

Eminent broadcaster Sir Martyn Lewis CBE was the guest speaker at a reception hosted by the Hospice at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park on Tuesday 16 January 2018.

Fiona Ross, Sir Martyn Lewis & Nicki Shaw

The Chair of the Board of Trustees, Professor Fiona Ross CBE, set out the organisations new five-year strategy which has one over-arching ambition; to reach out to deliver care, not just to the few but to the many, ensuring that everyone in its communities will have the best care before, during and after death.

Sir Martyn, a great champion of the hospice movement said: “In developing their plans for the future the Hospice has asked some difficult questions around the enormous pressures that will be put on providing end of life care in the coming years; they are already progressing effective solutions to address those questions while continuing to embrace their communities with their five star, Rolls Royce level of care.”

After recounting some amusing stories from his 32-year career as a television journalist and news anchor Sir Martyn went on to say, “The hospice movement as a whole is what I call a ‘real’ democracy in action – people on the ground getting together to provide help when it is needed the most.

“Princess Alice Hospice’s ‘news story’ is about tomorrow and getting it right and given their track record of being at the top of the tree in the work and innovation they deliver, I know they will succeed. “

During the event, the Hospice premiered its new powerful animated film – ‘Family Time’ – which tells the story of a family who is being supported by the Hospice and shows how the Hospice helps families stay involved and together to the very end.

The evening concluded with Leo Ellmers, Patient and Family Support Team, interviewing Martin Pearcey and Tariq Hassan, both of whom were left with young children after their wives died and are being supported by the Hospice’s specially trained bereavement team. “The Hospice has become my extended family”, Tariq said. “You are allowed to find your own path and are supported all the way in a space where you are not alone.”

To view the animation ‘Family Time’, find out more, get involved or donate please visit the website

To see an interview with Chief Executive, Nicki Shaw on That’s Surrey TV regarding our plans for the future visit

How we made a difference at Christmas - 15 January 2018

Every year the Day Services team at Princess Alice Hospice in Esher organise Christmas celebrations in the Day Hospice for its patients and their families. 2017's festive fun kicked off the week before Christmas with four fabulous parties which included a wonderful Christmas dinner, carol singing, games and other activities.


Kathy Birch, Programme Lead for Day Services said: “For people with life-limiting illnesses, Christmas can be quite a daunting time. For some, Christmas Day may seem just like another day, interrupted only by short visits from a carer. One patient said that the party effectively was his Christmas. We know how important it is to make it as special as possible for those who rely on our support – and this year was no exception – with staff and volunteers pulling out all the stops.”

Everyone was encouraged to wear Christmas outfits or jumpers and volunteers decorated jumpers for some patients who did not have one. The rest of the Hospice, including patients and families on the wards, were invited to join in with the carol singing, the magical sound of which could be heard throughout the building.

In readiness for the celebrations, Norman converted his mobility scooter into Santa’s sleigh at the Hospice’s Man Shed, which was opened in 2016 enabling people with terminal illness or those affected by bereavement to work together on practical projects.

“Norman attends a weekly social group and is one of our many keen ‘shedders’. It was wonderful to see him dressed as Santa arriving on his sleigh” Kathy says, “These events not only help to create memories, the underlying therapeutic benefits are significant, allowing patients some normality and to feel relaxed and happy…something that many of us take for granted.”

Light up a life Service of Remembrance 2017 - 12 January 2018

On Sunday 3 December 2017 we were joined by recently bereaved families for our annual Light up a life Service of Remembrance.

Light up a life appeal Princess Alice Hospice

The Service was led by our Chaplain, Revd. Dr Steve Nolan, and included the following dedication and prayer:

Princess Alice Hospice Light up a life 2018 candlesGardens are places where people work together with nature. Plants and other objects that are intrinsically beautiful are arranged and given an order that enhances their beauty and that inspires those who enjoy them. Gardens are places that are ever-changing. As the seasons turn, the garden is now awakening, now bursting with life, now yielding us fruit, now returning to its winter’s sleep. Gardens are places where the cycle of life is played out across the year. They teach us that all things must pass but that we nevertheless remain connected; and they provide a space in which we can pause and find peace to remember and reconnect.

Favourite gardens offer all these things: inspiration, enjoyment, fun, reflection. They also provide a place to remember; a place to walk with our memories, good ones and difficult ones; a place to reconnect and to know that the one we have loved and are remembering may be gone but they have never left us.

In these moments of reflection, surrounded by others who are walking with their memories in this garden, I invite you to tend your particular memories, to nurture them and cultivate their strong growth, and in the nurturing to foster your connection.


Nurturing God,
who walks the garden
to be at one with creation,
hold us in your memory to nurture us and be at one with us.
As we walk with the memories
of those we have loved and lost,
tend the memories we cherish that they may endure.
And as we walk the garden planted with sweet recollection
and quiet celebration,
may reminiscence be an inspiring fragrance,
and memory a path to healing.

Thank you to all our guests, and everyone who contributed to the service to make it so special.

Festive Fun Run Raises Over £40,000 - 12 January 2018

A combined total of over £40,000 has been raised so far by participants taking part in the Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Runs at Richmond and Bushy Parks.
Santa Fun Run 2017 Princess Alice Hospice

Runners both large and small, on four legs and on two and in teams or individually ran a collective 3,520 miles in aid of the charity in memory of loved ones, neighbours and friends who have been cared for either at home by Princess Alice Hospice specialist teams or at the hospice in Esher.

Over 500 runners donned Santa suits and Elf hats to take part in the fun family event at Richmond Park on 3 December, with a further 500 runners taking part at Bushy Park on 10 December.

The money raised helps to provide vital funding for the hospice, as 74% of their income comes from fundraising.

Richmond and Twickenham both fall within the hospice’s large care area with many patients choosing to be cared for at home.

Nigel Seymour, Director of Fundraising said: “We are so grateful to all our festive fundraisers, as the money raised really does make an enormous difference to the care we can provide. It costs £1031.96 to pay for a Community Princess Alice Nurse for a week and it really is thanks to fabulous support like this we can provide free hospice care to those who want and need it. We need to raise £9.5 million every year and the Santa Fun Runs are key events for us. Merry Christmas and many thanks to all our wonderful supporters.”

Prudential RideLondon - 18 July 2017

Princess Alice Hospice supporters will be out in force on Sunday 30 July to watch the Prudential RideLondon cycle event, which starts at 6am in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then follows a 100-mile route on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside.

The place to see all of the action and cheer on the riders is the Thames Ditton Supporters Hub at Giggs Hill Green, Thames Ditton. It is run by volunteers to help raise vital funds for the Hospice and Thames Ditton Cricket Club.

During the day there will be plenty of attractions to keep the whole family amused. Refreshments will be available in the form of a licensed bar, tea/coffee/cake stand, delicious BBQ, Bratwurst Stall, and ice cream vans. For the younger ones there will be face painting, a fun fair, music from the Capital Radio Bus and opportunities to join in with football (Esher FC) and cricket (Thames Ditton CC)!

Hub Event Director, Danny Russell, says, “With many of our local roads closed during the day we wanted to provide an opportunity for the local community to come together to enjoy this hugely successful event. Thames Ditton Supporters Hub at Giggs Hill Green will be a great place to watch the cyclists and will be open all day – from the first amateur rider in the morning to the final professional rider in the afternoon. We have organised everything you could possibly want to make your day special and the money we raise will go to Princess Alice Hospice and our hosts, Thames Ditton Cricket Club “.

Tim Iredale, from the Hospice Events Team, added, “We have over 20 people taking part in the challenge to raise vital funds for the Hospice. The Prudential RideLondon event is a really exciting opportunity for cyclists of all abilities to follow the route made famous by the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins during the 2012 Olympics. We’ll be at Giggs Hill Green to cheer on our supporters who are taking part as they whizz past and soak up the brilliant party atmosphere.”

So, if you are in Thames Ditton on Sunday 30 July, come along and join us for a fantastic family day while helping to raise money for a great local charity.