Snooker and stunt stars tee off at John Virgo Golf Day - 18 July 2022

Hersham Golf Club were thrilled to welcome top snooker and stunt stars to Hersham Golf Club on Friday, 1 July 2022, for its John Virgo Golf Day in support of Princess Alice Hospice. 
Left to Right John Virgo standing next to a Hospice stand with Rocky Taylor and Dean Mara, Golf Club Manager

Joining the 144 players who gave it their best shot on the day were top player and TV commentator John Virgo, professional snooker champion Patsy Fagan, and film and TV stuntman Rocky Taylor, whose credits include James Bond and Indiana Jones movies.

A popular event, this year the Golf Day raised £2,230 – bringing the total raised since the event’s launch in 2013, to £23,310.

Local furniture specialist Roche Bobois sponsored the hole in one competition, with a prize of £15,000 for anyone dropping a hole-in-one on the 12th hole.  Four players came close, but in the end, no-one managed this elusive feat.

Throughout the day, the sun shined as guests enjoyed a post-golf BBQ, had fun with a visiting magician, practised their skills on the archery targets and rounded off the day with some spectacular live singing.

The Hospice is extremely grateful to Hersham Golf Club Manager Dean Mara and his staff, the generous event sponsors (Srixon, Wilson Bet, Swing Grip and Aquajoy) and the many Hospice volunteers who turned out to make the event such a success.

[Photo shows (left to right):  John Virgo, Rocky Taylor and Dean Mara (Manager, Hersham Golf Club).]

We Talked the Walk to raise awareness of men’s grief - 26 April 2022

On Saturday, 9 April, 75 people walked a 10-mile route starting and ending at Esher Rugby Club to raise awareness of the Hospice’s vital bereavement services. The event sought to reach out to men in particular, who, research has proven, often find it difficult to talk about life and death, share emotions and seek help and support when they need it.

The walkers, wearing their Talk the Walk t-shirts, included 13 teams – the largest team, named Walk About, consisted of 19 people, all family members of different generations, and the youngest walker was a 12-year-old boy whose mum was cared for by the Hospice. Other participants and volunteers travelled from as far as Manchester and Essex to take part or support the event.

As many people met for the first time, conversation flowed and new friendships were forged. The route started at Esher Rugby Club in Hersham, past the Barley Mow pub and through Whiteley Village to the Avorian Cricket Club and Cobham Rugby Club, back around Garsons and the Hospice, finishing at Esher Rugby Club. Once there, everyone gathered to watch the Esher v Bury St Edmunds rugby match while having a well-earned drink with a burger.

Tim and James Oliver in their talk the Walk t-shirts

Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver, whose daughter, Emily, died at the Hospice in 2019, was interviewed by BBC Radio Surrey shortly before he set off for the walk with his son, James. He said:

“ Talk the Walk is about raising the profile of Princess Alice Hospice and also its bereavement services, and trying to encourage men to talk. One in three men doesn’t access any sort of bereavement support. It’s good to talk and to know there is support available to help get through difficult times.

“The Hospice is a fantastic charity which needs to raise more than £10 million each year just to fund the work that it does. It’s really important that people know about the important work they do.”

Claire Woodward, Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, said:

“The atmosphere was amazing. Mostly guys, and some brave women too, walked shoulder to shoulder along the route in the glorious sunshine. It was a lovely day and we’re so pleased we managed to smash our £30,000 target (£31,378 and counting).

“I’d like to give huge thank yous to our Hospice Man Shed volunteers who made bespoke medals for

A large group of smiling faces at Talk The Walk event

everyone who took part and to our wonderfully generous corporate supporters for helping to make the event such a great success – Esher Rugby Club, Whiteley Village, Cobham Rugby Club, Barley Mow Pub (Hersham), Avorian Cricket Club, Garsons, Family Building Society and Lodge Brothers. We are immensely grateful.”

Princess Alice Hospice rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - 23 March 2022

On 17 March 2022, the national independent regulator of health and social care services awarded the top rating of ‘Outstanding’, following a rigorous inspection of the Hospice’s expert palliative and end of life care services that took place in November and December 2021.

Following publication of the full report on its website, the CQC highlighted how 92% of patients achieved their preferred place of death and “doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals worked together as a team to benefit patients”. The report concluded that “multidisciplinary working was widespread across the service and reflected a focus on holistic, multifactorial care”.

Staff holding letters to spell OUTSTANDINGInspectors said that “staff demonstrated initiative in their kindness and efforts to make people comfortable and happy in their last days”, and they provided many examples of staff and volunteers who had gone above and beyond in their roles, planning and delivering new ways of providing patients with positive experiences.

Several areas of outstanding practices were highlighted, including the provision of emotional support to patients, families and carers to minimise their distress, and the comprehension of patients’ personal, cultural and religious needs. Inspectors stated that “staff empowered families and carers to understand their condition and make decisions about their care and treatment and be active partners in their care”. It was also noted that “staff had assessed regional unmet health needs to identify vulnerable groups who may benefit from access to hospice care”, e.g. people experiencing homelessness within the broad geographic care area.

The Hospice was commended for its promotion of inclusivity and equality as well as its tangible sense of flexibility and adaptability amongst staff to meet people’s needs. The CQC said the service had a vision for what it wanted to achieve and a strategy to turn it into action in a sustainable way.  It had a culture of learning, demonstrable high levels of engagement, and a willingness to introduce new approaches to care, such as delivering Wellbeing sessions using Zoom and making use of emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR).

Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive, said: “The last couple of years have been immensely challenging, but we have made it through thanks to an amazing and dedicated team and the support and encouragement of our communities. It’s a great privilege to provide free, expert, compassionate palliative and end of life care to patients and their families and carers at a very difficult time in their lives.

“The publication of this report comes as we are about to embark on the launch of our new strategy for the future. The retention of our Outstanding rating – first awarded in 2016 – is a tremendous boost to everyone and will give us the confidence to help us achieve our vision.”


Calling all men for Talk the Walk with Princess Alice Hospice - 28 February 2022

Research has shown that men often find it harder to talk about life and death, share emotions and seek help when they need it. We hope the Hospice’s new event, Talk the Walk, will help raise awareness of its bereavement services and vital funds to reach more people.
Two men wearing our Talk the Walk t-shirts

The event is a 10-mile walk that begins and finishes at Esher Rugby Club via Cobham Rugby ground, where walkers can stop for refreshments before continuing through Whiteley Village and back to Esher, in time for kick-off.

After listening to our supporters, we have introduced a shorter wheelchair accessible four-mile route setting off from Esher Rugby Club to the Hospice in West End Lane and back to the rugby club. Registration for both walks is £30 per person (£25 for 11-17-year-olds, and a discount of £5 per person for groups of four or more), which includes a rugby match day ticket to watch Esher vs Bury St Edmunds; a burger, a pint (or soft drink) and a Talk the Walk t-shirt.

Bereavement Lead at the Hospice, Sarah Friggieri, said: “Men’s grief is no less intense than women’s grief. All people go through the same process regardless of gender, but for some it is sometimes unseen, not spoken about or misinterpreted – and this is sadly more likely for men. As much as society has changed in a lot of ways, the unhelpful notion of strength in silence can at times prevail for men, and that can result in them not always receiving the care and compassion they need and deserve.”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead, Claire Woodward added, “We offer our bereavement services to anyone who has lost a loved one under our care – men, women, young people and children. On this occasion, we created Talk the Walk to encourage men to come together, shoulder to shoulder and challenge themselves while having fun, making new friends and raising money for the Hospice. Please register for the event today – anyone aged 11 and over can take part to support the males in their life, and we hope they do. It’s sure to be a wonderful day with plenty of walking to work up an appetite!”

It cost the Hospice £10.1 million last year to provide its free care and support, and that figure is likely to increase year on year, with just a small proportion coming from NHS grants and service funding. To find out more about the event and register, visit

**We are extremely grateful to The Family Building Society who are sponsoring the event and have given us £2,500, and to Whiteley Village who are supporting the event by allowing the walk to travel through the village estate. **

Chief Nurse for England presents silver awards to Hospice nurses - 13 January 2022

Princess Alice Hospice Clinical Leads on the In-Patient Unit (IPU), Jo Reynolds and Julia Lucioni, have been presented with the Silver Award for Nursing Excellence by Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer for England.

Ruth May and her team – Duncan Burton, Deputy CNO, and Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE, Chief Social Worker – visited the Hospice on 28 October 2021 to meet with the Chief Executive, Nicki Shaw, the Chair of Trustees, Professor Sean Hilton, and the Director of Patient Care, Lesley Munro, who then conducted a tour of the Hospice. Ruth described the Hospice as “incredibly impressive and wonderfully warm”.

As Ruth was meeting staff before she left the building, she said: “I want to say a huge thank you for everything you do. It is a real privilege to say thank you and to recognise people’s contribution. I especially want to congratulate Jo Reynolds – it is a huge privilege to say a personal thank you from me to you. Thank you for the leadership you have shown.”

On the day of the visit, Ruth had in fact two awards to present, however, the second recipient, Julia Lucioni, was on annual leave, and due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, it was only in mid-December 2021 that a surprise attendee appeared on the Zoom screen during a routine team catch-up.

Ruth said: “I am delighted to be here today, again! This time virtually to present Julia Lucioni with my Silver award for Nursing Excellence.

“Thank you for all you have done over many years and for how you have done it.

“As Chief Nursing Officer for England, I am delighted for you. You have battled this storm while having your own struggles with hearing. I have huge respect for you, and I wanted to take time out to present you with my Silver nursing award.”

Julia said: “I’m bowled over. It’s such a privilege to receive this esteemed award. I have been able to show that it can work – you can work with a disability. It can take a little time to overcome hurdles, but you somehow find the strength and a way to get through.”

Brief details of the nominations:

Jo Reynolds

Jo is an outstanding specialist palliative care nurse who is known by all who work with her for her expertise, high standards and compassion. Her specialist areas are head and neck, palliative fungal wound management and developing multi-professional teams’ clinical practice. Training specialist and general community teams in the management of altered airways is essential to ensure patients have a real choice around their advance care planning. The reality is that most patients who cannot care for their own airways at end of life get caught up in acute beds in the hospitals as most hospices and nursing homes can support this need. Princess Alice Hospice now has a reputation for supporting patients with altered airways and referrals, from within and out of the area, come through regularly. Jo has created, implemented and evaluated a training programme for Hospice staff caring for patients with altered airways at end of life. Jo is passionate about teaching clinical staff about the management and lived experience of fungal wounds. Many nurses, healthcare assistants, doctors, GPs and District Nurses have benefitted from her teaching and expertise.

Julia Lucioni

Julia has and will always advocate for staff with hidden and visible disabilities. She is a remarkable nurse leader and despite her conductive deafness she has shown immense courage and resilience throughout her career and the pandemic. Julia has had to endure casual and passive discrimination throughout her career so when COVID arrived at the Hospice in March 2020, it was clear she was not going to allow it to defeated her. Julia could not wear any PPE with ear loops, and thus could not wear FFP3 masks or even use the FP3 hoods due to her hearing aids. Her resilience showed through in her response to these challenges; rather than focusing on herself, she rallied around all the staff with disabilities on the IPU –  she raised awareness during team meetings giving the team helpful advice about what small things could help staff with impairments feel less isolated in and more included. In recent years, Julia has supported staff to continue nursing with early stage dementia, mental ill-health, Tourette’s Syndrome, anxiety, hearing and sight impairments. She knows that being open about her own disability helps build a diverse team where differences are celebrated and supported.

Lesley Munro, the Hospice’s Director of Patient Care, Community Engagement & Support said: “Both Jo and Julia have given their lives to the service of patients and nurses. I am so very proud of them both.”


Mums take on the Santa Fun Run challenge for Princess Alice Hospice - 9 December 2021

A group of local mums are taking on the Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Run in memory of their good friend Sharon who died in November 2020.

Helen, Zelah, Lorna, Karen and Harriet are supporting the Hospice in memory of Sharon and as a thank you for the ongoing support the Hospice is providing to Sharon’s husband Maneck and their two daughters, Ruby and Talulla.

Group of supporters smilingSupport for the family during the pandemic was sparse until they were introduced to the Hospice when Sharon was admitted for end of life care. The Hospice’s Dovetail group is designed specifically to support children who have lost a significant adult. It provides a safe space for children to come together to do arts and crafts and talk about their feelings.

The team, Sharon’s Santa Sisters, are taking part in Bushy Park on 5 December, which is just before Talulla’s twelfth birthday.

Sharon’s friend of 14 years, Helen, said: “Sharon was a great friend to everyone, she always had time for people and was a great listener. She’s left a huge hole in our lives. We wanted to do something that she, as a charity fundraiser, would approve of. We won’t all be running, that’s for sure. Some of us will jog, some will walk, but we’ll all be raising funds and saying a huge thank you to the Hospice for the support they’ve given and continue to give Sharon’s family.”

If you would like to support Sharon’s Santa Sisters you can do so here –

Details on taking part in the Hospice’s Santa Fun Run can be found here – Santa Fun Run | Princess Alice Hospice (


The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), in collaboration with Princess Alice Hospice, has launched a first-of-its-kind online training course for healthcare professionals (and carers) aimed at filling the gap in knowledge about caring for people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) who are approaching the end of their lives.

Collaborative working between SIA Specialist Nurses and the Education & Research team at Princess Alice Hospice has resulted in the development of this module and gives information about SCI and the specialist care needed in the final stages of life, something which is too often lacking in a general nursing/care setting.

Unusually, the training course has been sponsored by a member of SIA, Mary Tye, whose own spinal cord injury was sustained while in her eighties. Her daughter, Leo, a volunteer for Princess Alice Hospice, was dismayed by the dearth of medical knowledge about her mother’s situation.  She says, “My mother broke her neck 13 years ago, so we’ve had all of her nineties to prepare for her end-of-life care plan.  I’ve since learnt that most medical professionals don’t know much at all about spinal cord injury, and we’ve had to learn a lot about it ourselves.

“When I googled ‘end of life care for spinal injured people’ there was absolutely nothing.

“This course has been created to support medical professionals, and the families of SCI people, to ensure that their relatives get the very best treatment in that final chapter of their lives.

“It makes me and my family glad to know this collaboration between SIA and the Princess Alice Hospice has produced a first-class course, which enables professionals to know they’ve done the best they can for the people they care for.’

Carol Adcock, SIA Academy Lead and SCI nurse specialist, said: “We can’t thank Mary and her family enough for what they’ve done.  Their generosity and inspiration will help us to help so many more SCI people in years to come.

“We’ve been pleased to design this course together with the palliative care team at Princess Alice Hospice. Together, we hope that we can make that final chapter easier to bear for the patient and their loved ones.”

Jane Berg, Deputy Director of Skills, Knowledge and Research at the Hospice said:

“We were delighted to work with the SIA to produce A Fulfilled Life: The Final Chapter.

“The Hospice provides expert Palliative and End of Life care; we deliver care to people who are approaching the end of their life as a result of many different illnesses and conditions. We became aware that people with spinal cord injuries are increasingly living longer and experiencing the additional illnesses and frailty that age brings. They also have specific care requirements from their spinal injury which are not always well understood.

“Working with the SIA has been fantastic and has allowed us to share our different but complementary skills and knowledge to produce this resource, which is available for all healthcare professionals and will support them in delivering care to this growing and important group of people.”

This in-depth course covers a wide range of topics and information from explaining what SCI is, and types of SCI, to focusing on the key elements of rehabilitative palliative care, Advance Care Planning, symptom control, management of breathlessness, to giving advice about neurogenic bowel dysfunction and bladder management.

The number of SCIs (though illness or trauma) is thought to have been underestimated. Recent data suggests that 2,500 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with SCI rather than the 1,000 previously thought with the number of people living with this condition in the UK estimated at approximately 50,000.

Entitled A Fulfilled Life: The Final Chapter the course is available to all healthcare professionals for free.


Celebrities join forces to support Princess Alice Hospice - 5 November 2021

For the past six years Annette and Paul Jones have organised a charity Golf Day at Burhill Golf Club in aid of Princess Alice Hospice. They’ve been organising events for 18 years, but started fundraising for the Hospice after meeting stuntman Rocky Taylor who lives close to the Hospice in Esher.Comedian Bobby Davro

Retired professional footballer, Paul, who played for Southampton, Wolves and Liverpool, has many celebrity friends willing to join in to help raise the profile of the event. Famous guests included former professional footballer Razor Ruddock, former boxer John Conteh and Moody Blues bass player and vocalist, John Lodge, who has recently released a new album, The Royal Affair and After.

The day started with golfing teams, each with their own celebrity, teeing off against each other for the winner’s spot. The day was followed by an evening of dinner, fun and games, all hosted by famous comedian and local resident, Bobby Davro. This year’s event proved so popular that the evening celebrations were moved to a larger venue, Brooklands Hotel, to accommodate the number of supporters.

The fundraiser raised £8,500 for the Hospice, which is double the amount raised in previous years. Annette suggested this was because events have been so limited during the pandemic which made everyone keener than ever to get involved.

Annette said, “We really enjoy organising the events, we’ve met some lovely people over the years and it’s always a good day. Having the celebrities attend creates lots of excitement with everybody wanting to be in their teams.”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, Claire Woodward, said, “It was lovely to see so many people having fun after the year we’ve all had and we’re so grateful to Annette, Paul and of course Rocky for all they do for the Hospice.”

Rocky, who is now filming Death in Paradise in Guadalupe after finishing Mission Impossible, added, “The event is always good fun and this year it was great to be back after having to cancel last year.  I’m really pleased the amount raised has increased this year too, it’s a hard time for charities so this is really great news”

Large cheque being presented to Claire WoodwardRocky, John and Bobby visited the Hospice to present the cheque to Claire Woodward.

If you’d like to organise your own event to support the Hospice, you can find information and ideas on the website here –

Local brothers take on 24-hour exercise challenge for Princess Alice Hospice - 8 October 2021

Mason and Tom Chisholm in gym gearTom and Mason Chisholm, whose father David died at Princess Alice Hospice in 2018, are exercising non-stop for 24 hours on Saturday 30 October, to raise funds in gratitude for the care their father received at the Hospice in Esher. The brothers have already taken part in several fundraisers for the Hospice, including Munday’s 5k and the Royal Parks half marathon; they also run their own Chisholm Cup football tournament raising over £8,000 for the hospice in 2018 and 2019, which has unfortunately been delayed for the time being due to the ongoing uncertainties around COVID-safety.

Since David died, the brothers have been looking for ways to express their grief. From that they created the Geezers Grief podcast in December 2020. The podcast allows them to talk openly and freely about their feelings and encourages other men and boys to do the same.

Tom and Mason have interviewed several people on their podcast with their own stories of grief, and it has really helped them, the interviewees and their listeners. The podcast is available on Spotify and Instagram via

The boys have proven to be extremely loyal supporters of the Hospice and their 24-hour exercise challenge will see them working out continuously in their home gym, inviting as many friends and family as possible to encourage and motivate them through the muscle aches and tired limbs, as well as supporting with much-valued donations. Invitees can even join in if they’re brave enough. Anyone wishing to donate can do so here –

Mason Chisholm in gym gear

Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, Claire Woodward, said, “I don’t envy these boys exercising for 24-hours, but I am incredibly impressed that they plan to do so and support the Hospice at the same time. I’m also pleased to hear they’ve found a way of dealing with their grief. We all cope in different ways and it’s great that they’ve found a way that works for them.”

Once the boys recover from their latest challenge, they’ll be back to planning for next year’s Chisholm Cup – watch this space!

Information and ideas for organising your own fundraising activities to support the Hospice visit their website –

Princess Alice Hospice celebrates 20 years of success of European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care course - 27 September 2021

ECEPC banner with 2 staff members

Princess Alice Hospice provides expert end of life care and support to people at the Esher-based Hospice and in their own homes. Education and Research plays an important role in the Hospice’s success and is integral to one of their current strategic goals, which is to “share our knowledge and expertise”.

This year the Education and Research team celebrated twenty years of the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care (ECEPC) course which was founded at Princess Alice Hospice. In 2001, the course launched with 31 candidates; in 2021 it is projected to reach in excess of 7,000 candidates.

The course runs as an eight-week distance learning qualification, aimed at healthcare professionals new to palliative care. Candidates are supported by a facilitator, provided with an extensive course handbook and given access to a comprehensive virtual learning site, which has been developed continuously in format. Learning culminates in a mandatory assessment day, which in recent years has taken place simultaneously across multiple, global sites. Since the start of the pandemic, the day has been held online via Zoom, with over 350 people joining the most recent assessment from national and international locations.

On 16 September, Education colleagues, and healthcare professionals from different settings gathered in person at the Hospice and online from as far as Australia, to celebrate twenty years of success. Betty Riddle, a longstanding volunteer at the Hospice, was in attendance too, in recognition of the many years of dedicated service she has provided to the Education team since the early days of the course.

At an evening reception, Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive, welcomed everybody and introduced Jane Berg, Deputy Director of Education and Research, to say a few words. Attendees heard recollections from course co-founder, Max Watson, Project ECHO Programme Director at Hospice UK, about the first ten years. Clair Sadler, ECEPC Course Lead and Senior Lecturer at Princess Alice Hospice, went on to explain how the course has evolved and increased in scope as an increasingly globally recognised qualification through the proceeding ten years. Guests were then invited to watch a short animation (below). The presentations were followed by a social gathering over drinks, canapes and celebratory cake, which gave guests an opportunity to share personal reflections and memories. During this time, people were invited to offer up three words to sum up the ECEPC course; words included ‘care’, ‘knowledge’, professional’, ‘confidence’, ‘collaboraton’, ‘hollistic’ and ‘community’.

Clair Sadler said:

‘’20 years of the ECEPC is a significant milestone. We are so proud of the course and the candidates who have completed it. We believe that the course enhances the care that candidates offer their patients as they approach the end of their lives – regardless of the setting in which they are cared for. We are confident that the course will continue to be responsive to changing needs for many more years.’’


Ocean Cycling continue their support of Princess Alice Hospice - 20 September 2021

Since 2015, Ocean Cycling has been raising valuable funds for Princess Alice Hospice by cycling 300km from the Hospice in Esher to Paris; now in its sixth year, the group was determined to continue the event despite COVID restrictions, which necessitated them rerouting from Esher to Land’s End instead.

Ahead of their quest to raise funds, the cyclists gathered at the Hospice to fill up on bacon butties, croissants, tea and coffee before being waved off on their adventure: four gruelling days of cycling across the English countryside, covering a total of 580km to reach their destination in Redruth for a well-earned rest.

The annual event, which is organised by Kevin Taylor and Matt Pegg, started out with just four riders and has expanded to 20 this year. Since beginning the event, they’ve managed to raise almost £80,000 for the Hospice and donations for this year’s challenge are still coming in two weeks after the event. Their target this year was £10,000 and at the time of writing the total raised was more than £12,500.

Organiser Kevin said: “It feels amazing to finally put on a ride for the Hospice, after having to cancel last year’s event. This one is a bit different to our usual trip but one we won’t forget!”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, Claire Woodward, said: “What a great group they are and what a fantastic job they’re doing of raising funds for us. Four days in the saddle with only short breaks sounds like hell to me, but they battle on, through blisters and muscle aches to do an amazing job – thank you guys.”

Anyone interested in taking up a cycling challenge for the Hospice can register here –

Recyclable Hospice Christmas cards are now on sale - 3 September 2021

While most parents are busy getting into the swing of the new academic year, Retail workers at Princess Alice Hospice are already focusing their thoughts on Christmas. They believe it’s never too early to start planning for the festive season, which means Hospice Christmas cards are already being snapped up by customers and supporters, both in the Hospice shops and online.

The sourcing of the cards that the Hospice sells begins well in advance. The past few years have seen the Hospice focus on recycling and Responsible Sourcing to help the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.

This year the Hospice has researched festive products that are kinder to the environment and also more sustainable. Their new range of Christmas cards will be completely recyclable, including the packaging, so there’s no plastic, foiling, glitter or cellophane. The range features all new designs in recyclable boxes which contain embossed, cut out and multi-folded cards, but the price range remains the same – from £2.00 to £6.00 for a box of 10 cards and with 100% of profits going to Princess Alice Hospice.

Volunteer buyer, Leo Tye, is responsible for sourcing the cards and told us, “I am so pleased that we have managed to make such a step forward in Responsible Sourcing and our smart new boxes.  We have also included a QR code for additional donations to our charity.”

The sale of Christmas cards for Princess Alice Hospice raises vital funds each year, which in turn help to ensure the compassionate care continues for patients and families.

Christmas Crackers are also new for 2021 and are recyclable too, with the crackers themselves and their contents containing no plastic.

If you would like to buy Christmas cards and crackers and support the Hospice, the easiest way to secure your order is online, at or by visiting your local Princess Alice Hospice shop; you can find your local one here:


Hospice supporter takes on 7 day challenge - 2 August 2021

Princess Alice Hospice supporter, Mikolaj Zieleznik, has just completed his three part challenge, starting and ending in Chamonix, France, in a bid to raise £20,000 for the Esher based Hospice.

The challenge started with a run: 90km distance, 6km elevation in the Chamonix Ultra Marathon – through snow and sunshine. Mikolaj completed this run in 19 hours 36 minutes beating his 20 hours target! He had a well-deserved day off before setting off on a drive to Italy to climb the 4,000m Grand Paradiso peak. This is Italy’s highest independent peak and a very difficult event after running 90km!

After finishing on day 5 he then drove back to Chamonix for a rest day, in readiness for Challenge 3 on day 6/7 climbing Western Europe’s highest peak: 4,800m Mont Blanc. The mountain stands between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France.

However, the weather had other plans for Mikolaj and he was unable to complete this section of his challenge due to the severity of it. Not to be deterred he drove back to Italy, where he was met by some equally awful weather, but still was able to climb Piramide Vincent  (4,215m)  on Friday morning, having sat out the storm at Refuge di mantova (3,500m) before flying back to the UK on Friday afternoon in time for his daughter’s birthday.

Mikolaj’s decision to attempt this three part challenge came when he learned how badly the local charity had been affected by the COVID pandemic with almost all events being cancelled during 2020. It costs £10.1m to run the Hospice for a year with 76% of the income coming from local supporters like Mikolaj.

Training for the events started in January before Mikolaj was sure how or when the lockdown was going to ease, but he knew he would be doing something big to support his local Hospice.

He said, “Local charities have suffered enormously over the past year and I felt the need to do something big to try and help. What the Hospice does in supporting those at the end of life and the help they give families and friends is priceless.”

If you’d like to take on a less daunting challenge you can visit the hospice website at

You can also check out the latest images of Mikolaj on his travels on his Just Giving page here –

Going above and beyond for patients and families - 2 August 2021

Staff at Princess Alice Hospice embodied two of their values, Compassion and Excellence, recently when they made it possible for one of their patients, David, to participate in his daughter’s wedding blessing alongside his wife, Carole.

When David and Carole’s daughter, Hannah, expressed a wish to have the blessing in the Hospice, the Housekeeping team sprang into action. There’s nothing they love more than a celebration so they went shopping for balloons, ironed the bunting and decorated a room close to David’s own room as a lovely surprise for the family.

In-Patient Unit staff then organised for David to be wheeled into the room with his daughter by his side, to give them that special Father and Daughter memory together.

Senior Healthcare Assistant on the In-Patient Unit, Gill Sansom, said: “The family was so happy to

be able to make special memories with David and are extremely grateful to everybody on the In-Patient Unit who made it possible. It was such a lovely occasion for them all.”

The value of Princess Alice Hospice Compassionate Neighbours during lockdown - 2 August 2021

Just as the country went into a national lockdown, John Jemmett’s wife Ruth died in March 2020. During the weeks and months that followed, he found that friends slowly started to distance themselves from him and he was left with almost nobody he could freely talk to about Ruth.

It was Compassionate Neighbour Co-ordinator at Princess Alice Hospice, Alison Kilby, who first suggested to John that he be matched with someone who could support him through this difficult time.

Princess Alice Hospice Compassionate Neighbours are trained volunteers who offer friendship, a listening ear and regular emotional and social support to people in their local community; people who are lonely or socially isolated due to the effects of their own or a loved one’s long term or life limiting illness.

John was matched with Robin who phoned John weekly to chat about anything and everything.

John quickly learned that Robin was a good listener and understood his situation. He could talk to Robin freely about Ruth and this reduced the stress he felt. They also shared a love of football which led to a regular swapping of notes on their teams.

What started off as a weekly phone call, due to COVID restrictions, soon progressed to regular Zoom sessions and these gave John something to look forward to. In John’s words: ‘a reason to get up, get washed and get a proper shirt on’.

He also added: “I would whole heartedly recommend the service even for a short time to get over the initial months of bereavement.”

Since March 2020, Princess Alice Hospice has recruited 130 Compassionate Neighbour Lite (CNL) volunteers from diverse backgrounds to provide telephone support, medication collection and shopping support during the successive pandemic surges and associated lock-downs.

If you, or somebody you know, could benefit from the support of a Hospice Compassionate Neighbour, please visit

Butterflies released in the grounds of the Hospice - 2 August 2021

The family of a patient at Princess Alice Hospice gathered together in the early June sunshine to release some beautiful butterflies into the grounds of the Hospice in Esher.

Sue, who has been receiving palliative care at the Hospice, was keen to release the butterflies herself as she had reared them from eggs. Sue’s husband arranged to transport the butterflies and Hospice staff organised for Sue’s bed to be moved out onto the terrace so that she could be part of the release. Sue wanted her grandson present so he could see them fly off and the whole family was involved.

The Hospice has always tried to accommodate the wishes of patients and families, encouraging pets to visit, allowing puppies to be born and now butterflies to be released.

Senior Health Care Assistant at the Hospice, Gill Sansom, said, “It was lovely to watch the whole family get together in the sunshine and release the butterflies that Sue had raised. Her grandson loved it. There were lots of squeals of delight, a real family memory for them all to cherish.”


Princess Alice Hospice allotment digs deep for Loneliness Awareness Week - 10 June 2021

The Clumps Allotment in Ashford, launched by Princess Alice Hospice in May 2019, is holding an open day on Wednesday 16 June 2021 between 1pm and 3pm. It has recently re-opened after having to close in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
The open day coincides with Loneliness Awareness Week, which runs from 14-18 June.
Aimed at people in the local community who may be feeling isolated due to ill health, being a carer or recently bereaved, the allotment offers a place where residents can escape for some much needed fresh air and a cup of tea over a friendly chat.
The idea of the allotment is to bring people together to grow healthy food, meet new people and feel closer to nature. Community volunteer-led allotments can have a hugely beneficial effect and, you don’t need any gardening experience.
Head of Volunteering and Community Engagement, Vanessa Hill, said, ”We know that when you’re living with a life limiting illness or chronic condition, if you’re caring for someone or are bereaved, it can lead to loneliness and isolation and it can be difficult to feel part of the community. Our community allotments are a great way of bringing people together in a relaxed and friendly way.”For more information or to register your interest in the open day as well as the weekly sessions, email or call 01372 461870.
Sessions are held on Saturday 10am – 12pm and Wednesday 1pm – 3pm at The Clumps Ashford, Feltham road, Ashford, TW15 1AA.
One of the Hospice’s aims is to reach more people in their community and support them through a range of services from the allotment to the Community Choir. For more information you can visit

Father and son row marathons for Princess Alice Hospice - 24 May 2021

Darryl and David L-R

David Hughes and his father, Darryl, are rowing a full marathon and a half marathon respectively to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice. The event, due to take place on Friday 28 May, will consist of David and Darryl using two rowing machines situated side by side and will be live streamed so supporters can watch their progress and suggest motivational music tracks.

David’s mother, Alison, Darryl’s wife, received care both at home and at the Hospice in Esher over the course of a year.  David says the Hospice Community Team ‘played a vital role in providing care’ for his mum and this enabled her to stay at home until her very last days in December 2020, when she was admitted to the Hospice.

Training for the event has been challenging for them both, having to motivate themselves to row alone due to COVID restrictions. However, David has found the time to fit in several 30km stints in preparation for the big day.

Of the care Alison received, David said: “The realities of cancer and caregiving for family members are incredibly difficult and would be even tougher without institutions like Princess Alice Hospice. Together my dad and I will row some 39.3 miles and it would be great if you can give what you can to the Hospice.”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead, Claire Woodward, said: “What a challenge! Thank you to both David and Darryl for taking on such a feat. We are always in awe, or even oar, of the lengths (literally) some people go to. We hope you don’t ache too much afterwards and thank you!”

If you would like to donate to David and Darryl’s event for the Hospice, please click here –

The Hospice receives only 24% of its income through NHS grants and so relies heavily on the generosity of the general public. If you’d like to create a challenge for yourself or take part in one of the other Hospice events, visit

Nurses praised at special Westminster Abbey Service – there has never been a year like this - 17 May 2021

Head of In-Patient Services, Keetje Gull, represented Princess Alice Hospice at a service to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, 12 May. She was in great company with special guests including The Rt Hon. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and Florence Nightingale Foundation Ambassador, Oscar-winning actress, Helena Bonham Carter.
Keetje at Westminster Abbey

Before the Service, Keetje talked to ITV News (which was later broadcast on News at Ten) about the crucial part the Princess Alice Hospice team has played in the pandemic effort, and the effort and resilience still required ahead. Following the Service, Keetje said: “It was such a beautiful ceremony, and I feel incredibly proud to have been invited. I had a lump in my throat watching the procession of the Roll of Honour, followed by the lamp being carried to the High Altar.”

Helena Bonham Carter said: “They looked after us – we must look after them. The irony is we actors get awards all of the time. Sometimes, I think it is disproportionate to what we actually do. We pretend to be heroes and heroines. These people are genuine heroes and heroines.”

Note: The Service is available to watch until 12 June 2021 – Streamed services | Westminster Abbey (

Watch the News at Ten package, broadcast on 12 May, featuring Keetje Gull –


Hospice Night Nurses take on Snowdon - 17 May 2021

5 walkers

Nurses at Princess Alice Hospice need stamina and commitment to achieve what they have during the past year. Now some of them are about to go one step further. Not one but two teams of clinical staff have signed up for the Snowdon at Night challenge to raise funds for the Hospice.
Senior Staff Nurse and Night Team Leader at the Hospice, Jayne Nelson, and her team of Night Avengers have been training by walking up and down Box Hill, while In-Patient Unit manager, Keetje Gull, is donning her trainers to get some steps in before the big event.
Jayne told us. ”During a very busy night shift we decided we needed a fun challenge and something to look forward to. We decided to combine that with supporting the Hospice so took up the Snowdon at Night challenge. We’ve been trekking up and down Box Hill to do some training, wearing our Hospice T-shirts and the support from the public has been amazing. We are keeping fit, having fun and raising funds. What could be better?”
Senior Partnerships Lead, Claire Woodward, said, “As if they don’t do enough for us! We’re so impressed with our nurses, they’re great. Good luck to the Night Avengers and thank you for taking on such a challenge for the Hospice.”
If you’d like to see how the Night Avengers are doing for the event which takes place on 22 May, you can check out their JustGiving page here.
It costs over £10.1 million each year for the Hospice to provide its free, high-quality care. As a charity, only 24% of their income comes from NHS sources. If you’d like to take on a challenge to support Princess Alice Hospice, you can find details on the website

‘Championing’ Dementia Care in Care Homes - 14 April 2021

Princess Alice Hospice Education & Research department is working with Signature Senior Lifestyle to embark on a five-month programme to train ‘End of Life Care Dementia Champions’ across its network of 13 luxury care homes.
2 people chatting

Signature Senior Lifestyle was looking for a way to increase its expertise in dementia care – they approached the Hospice for help in bringing together and educating the champions to increase their knowledge, skills, and confidence which will then allow them to be a valuable resource to support all care home staff and residents with dementia. A spokesperson for Signature said: “This programme is a wonderful step in ensuring that our residents are getting all the very best care that can be provided, as well as giving family members, friends, and loved ones all the support they could need.”

Using a mix of teaching and interactive learning carried out via Zoom, the Dementia Champions have been encouraged to bring examples from practice which are then used as a basis for discussion and learning.

The role of the champion is to implement organisational change and support mechanisms to facilitate best practice in end of life care for residents with dementia.

Signature went on to say, “We are extremely pleased with the progress with End of Life Care Dementia Champions. As ever, peace of mind, security and reassurance for our residents and their loved ones is of the utmost importance and never has it been more apparent than during the difficulties of the last year.

“It has naturally been a very difficult period for everyone but we are greatly looking forward to implementing this programme, seeing its effects and standing proud behind what can be accomplished in care.’’

This has been echoed by Anne Reed, Community Outreach Practitioner from Princess Alice Hospice who has been impressed with the commitment that staff have made. She said: “Seeing the commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by the staff caring for residents with dementia to this programme is a real testament to Signature Senior Lifestyle, especially considering the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This can only serve to enhance the care given to residents with dementia in these environments.’’

Princess Alice Education & Research department can offer the programme to other care home groups or tailor-make a programme to meet different training requirements.

For further information about our Education courses, please contact

Princess Alice Hospice will reflect, a year on from the first national COVID lockdown - 22 March 2021

As part of the National Day of Reflection, on Tuesday, 23 March, staff, volunteers, supporters, patients, families and carers will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the UK's first COVID lockdown to remember and honour all those who have died during the pandemic - reflect - connect - support.
Princess Alice Hospice entrance sign

The initiative was started by Marie Curie; the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will be joining in a minute’s silence at midday and people are being encouraged to light up their doorsteps as part of a national doorstep vigil that night; prominent buildings and landmarks will also be illuminated across the UK.

At 11.50 am, Chief Executive, Nicki Shaw, and the Hospice’s Chaplain, Revd Dr Steve Nolan, will host an event, which will be streamed on Facebook Live – @pahospice – from 11.50am. They’ll share some of their own reflections from the past year.

Just before midday, the Hospice will pause for a collective one-minute silence, which will be followed by a blessing from Steve Nolan.

If you can, please join Princess Alice Hospice on Facebook. 


Dame Esther Rantzen’s Channel 5 documentary (Thursday, 18 February) – ‘Living with Grief’ - 17 February 2021

In February 2020, Burning bright Productions, a leading UK TV Producer, contacted Princess Alice Hospice to talk about the possibility of filming as part of a broader documentary -with Dame Esther Rantzen - exploring the experience of bereavement and coping with grief.
Esther Rantzen

Unfortunately, following the outbreak of COVID-19, the production team were unable to film in any hospices, however, they kept in touch with us and we had several conversations during the initial research stages about death, dying, grief and loss.

A synopsis of the programme – Thursday 18 February at 10pm on Channel 5:

In a year of 100,000 unforeseen deaths, with many thousands of people losing loved ones to the COVID pandemic, Dame Esther Rantzen explores the experience of bereavement and coping with grief.

Esther wants to learn from others who have been through loss and enlists the help of six extraordinary individuals. Each has a very different story to tell, from a woman who lost her husband to COVID-19 and a mother whose child drowned, to a young man who was just eleven when his brother was murdered.

It’s exactly twenty years since Dame Esther lost her husband Desmond Wilcox, but in many important ways, she has yet to come to terms with the loss of the man with who she shared her life with.

The much-loved presenter and campaigner, who’s been on our television screens for half a century, strips away the television presenter veneer in this extraordinarily personal and candid exploration of what it’s really like for people to deal with loss. Dame Esther, now eighty, has found widowhood a challenge and likes to focus on looking forward but her family say she’s in denial.

Esther and her fellow bereaved confidantes reveal what it’s like to lose someone you love, and tear up the rule book on bereavement. With unflinching honesty, they explore what is uniquely individual, and discover how much is shared. From the death bed to the first anniversary, from dark days of suffering to finding ways to celebrate, through vivid stories and unearthing memories, Esther takes a journey through life after loss, and with the help of her children, challenges her approach to her bereavement.

In an emotional and ultimately uplifting documentary, over one summer Esther is forced to look back, unlock some doors and recognise there are no rules when it comes to losing a loved one.

**During an interview with Good Morning Britain on Wednesday 17 February, Dame Esther said:

“This was not my idea. What we were going to do was speak to many people who have experienced loss of all different kinds, and have found helpful ways of coping. Then, COVID struck, and the production team said, ‘That’s alright; you can talk about your own feelings’. Before I knew it, my children, all three of them, were levering open the tin can.”

Our Wellbeing Centre Art Group Gallery - 11 February 2021

The aim of our Wellbeing Centre is to help give participants, who either have a life-limiting illness, or care for someone who does, the best possible quality of life by managing their symptoms, building their confidence and helping them take back control of their lives.

As part of a varied programme of sessions, the Wellbeing Centre runs an Art Group which currently meets via Zoom weekly.

The Wellbeing Centre team recently put together a gallery of their work – impressive both in quality and quantity (given there were seven regular members) and we’re so delighted with the result, and the participants have been so positive about the benefits they felt.

Here’s team member Nicky explaining more about the Art Group and their gallery in a short video:




Use the arrows to scroll left and right, to take a look at more of the individual pieces below.


Two days, 31 miles and no blisters! - 8 January 2021

A group of people on the banks of the river

Walking 31 miles from Tower Bridge to Hampton Court might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Paul Barrett and Paul Cunningham found it a great way to raise spirits during lockdown 1.0 as well as vital funds for Princess Alice Hospice in memory of Paul Bs sister and Paul Cs good friend, Jane.

When Jane died on her birthday in January 2020, Paul and Paul decided to give something back for the care she had received. Paul C had already experienced the marvellous care and support the Hospice provides as his dad had died there in 2001, which prompted him to become a Hospice volunteer.

Paul and his life friend, also called Paul, organised the two-day walk with an overnight break at Kew Bridge for around 25 family and friends with an original target of £1,000. Lockdown did not put the Paul’s off their mission to fundraise; they simply moved the event to accommodate, keeping people in bubbles in line with social distancing guidelines and raised an amazing £4,500. On top of that, they then decided to arrange a socially distanced cricket day at Old Woking Cricket ground and raised a further £600 for the Hospice.

Paul told us: “The turnout was amazing. The weather was good, and we’re so proud to have raised so much more than our original target in Jane’s memory. The feet were a bit sore afterwards, but we all coped really well considering we’re not seasoned walkers – nobody trained! Big thanks to the Jolly Coopers in Hampton who fed and watered us and huge thanks to the Hospice for all they did for Jane, they were amazing.”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead, Claire Woodward said: ”Wow, 31 miles, that’s quite a distance. Without people like Paul and Paul creating events of this kind that can be completed despite the social distancing guidelines, the Hospice would struggle. We’re so grateful to Paul Barrett and his family and friends who did a great job to raise so much. Thank you.”

Paul’s tip for walking long distances: Cover your feet with Vaseline before donning your socks to avoid blisters. Works a treat!

Anyone looking for a New Year challenge can get involved by signing up to our Try January event here –

Family fundraise in memory of mother and father in law - 24 December 2020

Smiling people dressed as Santa

A family remembering a mother who died at Princess Alice Hospice 25 years ago raised funds by bringing their family together and taking part in the Virtual Santa Fun Run in Surrey, Kent, Liverpool and Bristol.

Richard’s first wife and Max and Fred’s mother, Linda, died at Princess Alice Hospice in January 1996 and the family wanted to mark the occasion. Max’s father in law, Steve, also received the charity’s Hospice at Home service in 2008.

Richard said. “It started as an idea from my two sons, Max and Fred, and me to mark the 25th anniversary, but we decided to invite other family members as well.  We received a fantastic response and ended up with 24 members of our extended family taking part on the day, Sunday 13 December, and two more members at a later date.  17 of us ran or walked in Bushy Park, while socially distancing of course, four in Kent, two in Liverpool and two in Bristol. It was really moving that so many of our family wanted to sign up to the event in memory of two very special people. It became the major family event for this very strange Christmas”

The family organised a Zoom call before the run/walk which brought the whole event and the family together, and the group in Bushy Park stayed for over an hour in the freezing cold drinking coffee and chatting to family members many hadn’t seen this year. In fact, they’re thinking of making it an annual family get together.

Community Partnerships and Events lead at the Hospice, Claire Woodward said. “This is what this year’s Virtual Santa Fun Run is all about; bringing together family, albeit virtually, to take part in an event to remember loved ones. We really appreciate all the effort they made and hope that collectively, they had a great time. Hopefully, we’ll see them next year”.

Rosebery Runners trek across the UK - 24 December 2020

Map of the UK

Rosebery Runners comprise 17 students from Rosebery School in Epsom, who ran an amazing 788 miles in honour of their Maths teacher, Mr Celine, to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice. They gave themselves two months in which to complete the mammoth task of running a relay, linking all their university towns together to form a huge loop across the country.

For the students, Mr Celine, was both inspirational and popular. To mark the second anniversary of his death, the students wanted to do something to celebrate his time at the school and to raise money for Princess Alice Hospice, where he was cared for at the end of his life.

Organiser Sophie said, ’The last time he saw our class he told us he wanted us to work hard on our A-levels and do our best to get into the universities of our dreams. It started off with students from Mr Celine’s A level maths class between 2017-2019, but then a group of Maths teachers from Rosebery School also got involved. We kept track of who was running and their mileage by using a group Strava page. After a slow start due to some of us having to self-isolate, we soon picked up the pace and the miles seemed to rack up very quickly. It was really nice to monitor our progress as a group and everyone was so supportive of one another!”

Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, Claire Woodward said. “What a wonderful way to remember a teacher who made such a positive impact on his students. We’ve been so grateful for the support from our community during this difficult year, but getting outside in the fresh air and keeping fit has never been so important, so I hope this inspires other young people to take up the fundraising mantle in a similar way!’’

For anyone wanting to support the students, please visit

A remarkable film production by Princess Alice Hospice - 30 November 2020

This year, for the first time, the Princess Alice Hospice Light up a Life Service of Remembrance will be a virtual one.
Marfleet family image

In September 2020, the Hospice put out a call on social media to film production professionals to volunteer to help produce our Christmas Light up a Life Remembrance Service, which unfortunately will not be held in the beautiful gardens this year, because of the COVID pandemic.

Julia Russell, Deputy Director of Marketing & Communications, said: “Light up a Life is such a special annual event for bereaved families and friends. Since March, we have swiftly adapted and remodelled the majority of our services – we knew that we must take a similar approach to our remembrance service, giving everyone the essential opportunity to remember and celebrate their loved ones.

“Shortly after the post on social media, and several conversations later with our Volunteering Team, I spoke to Merryn Conaway, a film producer by profession, and a volunteer Compassionate Neighbour for the Hospice. Merryn asked her colleagues if they’d be willing to get involved, and here we are, we have a beautiful film, which will be shown on our website on Sunday 6 December.

“We think our production is unique in that it is a series of individual films pre-recorded – by musicians, Hospice staff and Merryn’s team – and professionally edited. Previously, a family of a person cared for by the Hospice has attended the service and switched on the Christmas tree lights. This year, we were able to make a film about Emma, and her life with her husband, Tom, who died at the Hospice last year, aged 42, and their three sons, Daniel 10, Matthew, 8 and Sam, 4. We have not done this before – Emma and her boys were just brilliant. Their contribution was pivotal to this captivating and powerful production.

“We are so grateful to Emma and her family, and to sports broadcaster, Jacqui Oatley MBE, who lives in our local community and introduces the film, and recently fundraised for the Hospice by competing in ITV’s The Chase Celebrity Special on Saturday 24 October 2020. We are thrilled with the final result.”

Chaplain, Revd Dr Steve Nolan, who leads the filmed service, said: “It has been such an incredibly tough year for so many. The challenges of keeping safe and helping to keep others safe from the COVID virus has affected all our lives. For some of us, the effect has been profound, especially to those who have been unable to visit loved ones who are nearing the end of their lives.

“This year, our Light up a Life service has had to adopt a very different format. We’ve kept many of the familiar features of past services, but the challenge to stay safe has allowed us to think about our broader connections with our community. We will take time to pause, reflect and remember – together or apart – as we endeavour to fill the darkness with shining light.”

Princess Alice Hospice: For Compassion. For Excellence. For People. For Living.

Please take a look at our 45-second promotional trailer:



Oli, the dog - 26 November 2020

At Princess Alice Hospice, we love a fabulous furry friend, so when our new Supporter Care Assistant, Rianna Pike, shared a fur-ly big secret with us, we were intrigued.
Oli grown up

Rianna told us in her first month that she owns a dog that was born at the Hospice. Oli, who is now eight years old, was the puppy of a dog owned by patient Oli Pereira and his wife, Mariel.
Mariel told us that on admission to the Hospice, Oli had expressed concerns that he might not see his beloved dog’s puppies being born. On hearing his worries, clinical staff at the next admissions meeting arranged for the canine mum-to-be to come into the Hospice when Oli was admitted, and her puppies were all born under Oli’s bed.
Soon after the birth, Rianna’s mum, Clinical Nurse Specialist Beverley Clayton, who had worked at the Hospice for over 30 years, enquired after the puppies and found there was only one left; after a quick chat with her family, she offered to adopt him, calling him Oli with the same spelling.
Beverley retired from the Hospice three years ago, but Rianna is a recent recruit to our Supporter Care team, and her colleagues were amazed when they heard about Oli.
On hearing of Rianna’s story, Oli’s widow Mariel told us: “I am eternally grateful to Princess Alice Hospice for allowing Oli the opportunity to witness the puppies’ birth during his last days of life. It was such a compassionate gesture of humanity and kindness on behalf of the team at Princess Alice. It fills me with happiness to hear that everyone there still remembers this joyful event and keeps the fond memories alive.”
Beverley and Rianna told us that Oli is a very affectionate pet and a joy to have in the family.
Beverley said: “Hearing that puppies were being born at the Hospice was a little surprising, but we do go above and beyond to do this kind of thing. Then I learned the last one was still available and went for it, calling him Oli seemed the right thing to do after his mum’s owner. We all love him very much, and he’s very special to us. Particularly as he had an unusual start in life.’


Allotting time to care - 14 September 2020

Residents in Ashford now have the opportunity to grow vegetables as well as friendships, harvest fruit or simply sit in the fresh air due to a new allotment scheme.

The scheme, launched by Princess Alice Hospice, is aimed at those living with life limiting illness, their carers or recently bereaved and is designed to bring those people together to work on the land and benefit from the healthy produce grown there.

The allotment, which was closed in March due to COVID-19, is now open to those who would just like some fresh air, a cup of tea and a well deserved socially distanced chat.

Community Communities Lead at the Hospice Mia Patterson said: ’We all know that being outside has many health benefits and we hope that the allotment will bring people together, those who might not otherwise get many visitors, and give them the chance to do some digging or get some air, or maybe both’

The allotment sessions run two days a week at The Clumps Ashford, Feltham Road, TW15 1AT, Saturdays between 10am and 12pm and Wednesdays between 1pm-3pm.

If you would like more information or if you can spare some time and expertise, and who would like to volunteer to support the scheme and your local Hospice, please contact or 01372 461958.

Our commitment to ensuring that our website content is inclusive and accessible - 10 September 2020

In order to ensure that our website content is accessible and inclusive, we have engaged The Shaw Trust to complete an Accessibility Assessment on our behalf.

The assessment will be completed during October 2020.

Barry takes to the skies - 17 August 2020

Night Response Team member at Princess Alice Hospice, Barry Armour, isn’t afraid of going above and beyond to raise funds for the Hospice. He’s taking on his second wing walk on 28 August at RFC Rendcombe Airfield, Cirencester and this time he’ll be doing stunts.
Barry Armour wing walking

Travelling at up to speeds of 150mph at a height of 2500ft, the Wing Walk will include the Loop the Loop, The Stall Turn and the Hesitation Roll. Barry, who has completed a wing walk before to support the Hospice, says, “It’s exhilarating to be up in the clouds”.

Barry, who has worked for the Hospice for five years and is a registered paramedic, has seen first-hand how recent restrictions and cancelled events have had a huge detrimental effect on Hospice funds. Looking for an exciting challenge, he decided on the Aerobic Wing Walk

He says, “It’s great fun. Initially, when you stand on top of the plane and get strapped in, you think ‘what am I doing?’ However, that feeling soon disappears as you speed along the grass runway and take off into the blue sky. Along with the securing straps and the wind, you are safe and secure, there’s nothing to worry about, you won’t fall off, and you have some hand signals for the pilot, so he can land any time you’re not happy.

“I’m really looking forward to doing this again and hopefully reaching my fundraising goal.”

If you would like to support Barry and the Hospice you can do so here

Princess Alice Hospice shops make a phased return to the High Street - 6 July 2020

COVID poster in shop window

Princess Alice Hospice was forced to close all 46 of their charity shops on 21 March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following weeks of extensive work and planning behind the scenes, we are delighted that 7 shops will re-open their doors to customers on 2 July, as part of wider, phased re-opening plans. The first shops to reopen will be in Ashford, Banstead, Croydon, East Twickenham, Esher, Staines and Twickenham.

The shops bring in approximately £500,000 of vital funds for the Hospice every year, which means we have lost in the region of £125,000 while they were closed. The shops have been risk assessed and will be following the latest Government guidance to protect staff, volunteers and customers.

Cherie Noy, Deputy Director of Retail Operations, says: ‘We’re delighted to be throwing open our doors to customers again from 2nd July. It’s been a tough few months for us but I want to reassure everybody that we’ve worked incredibly hard to protect our staff, volunteers and customers for the re-openings. We’ll quarantine all donated goods for 72 hours before processing them, and we’ll have hand sanitiser in all shops. We’ll be displaying posters with advice about how to shop safely in all our shops, and we’ll only be accepting card and contactless payments. Our shops will also close an hour early to allow for cleaning.’’

Cherie continues: ‘In June we rolled out a series of ‘drive-through donation’ points to allow people to donate items to us safely and easily. Due to the overwhelming response we received, we introduced an appointment-only scheme and we’ve been delighted by the high-quality nature of donations we’ve received: from high-end fashion labels through to designer items too, I would encourage people of all ages to come and grab themselves a bargain in our shops!’

Details about further drive-thru events can be found on our website. People can also drop off donations at their local shop when it reopens, between 9.30 and 11am. We plan restart our furniture collection and delivery service as soon as we can. Please follow us on twitter, Facebook and Instagram for latest updates or visit our website to find out more.

Tribute to Tony Pidgley CBE - 2 July 2020

It is with great sadness that we learn of the unexpected death of Tony Pidgley, 72, on Friday, 26 June. We extend our most sincere sympathies to his family at this difficult time.
Tom Pidg;ey

Tony was the founder and chairman of Berkeley Group Holdings, as well as a highly influential visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was a former Trustee of our Hospice in Esher, Surrey between 1992 and 1999, and Berkeley Group was one of the sponsors of the variety show at Wimbledon Theatre to celebrate the Hospice’s 15th anniversary.

We have benefitted from several Berkeley Group donations over the years, which have helped us to develop and grow our charitable services in palliative and end of life care.

Jane Formby MBE, a founder Trustee of the Hospice, and Honorary President said: “It was such a shock to learn of Tony Pidgley’s sudden death last Friday. My first meeting with him was in 1983 when I was vice-chairman of the appeal committee set up to raise funds to build a hospice in Esher. He had been approached for support by Virginia Waller who was Chairman of the appeal committee, and he turned up unannounced at my home to introduce himself, and I suspect to suss me, and the committee out.

“We hit it off straight away – he was so straight-talking, you knew exactly where you stood with him. I saw more of him when he was for a time a trustee of the Hospice and then at odd intervals over the years. I am so grateful that after a gap of several years, I had a long meeting with him last December when he was in good form and we shared memories and had a laugh together.

“He was a doughty opponent in business, but underneath you sensed a warmer, more caring centre. He will be much missed by many.”

Claremont 4 Carers - 17 June 2020

Claremont 4 Carers raises vital funds for Hospice during lockdown
Child dressed for Fancy Dress Friday

Claremont Fan Court School pupils have risen to the challenge with their ‘Claremont 4 Carers’ fundraising campaign during lockdown, in support of Princess Alice Hospice.

With most school children spending their days at home during lockdown, many have been finding worthwhile ways to use their time for good causes. Pupils of Claremont Fan Court School in Esher have been fundraising for their own campaign, ‘Claremont 4 Carers’ since April, in support of Princess Alice Hospice. The campaign began in the senior school, inviting pupils to complete a set of ten sponsored activities from home which amounted to a £20 donation to the Hospice, when completed. Activities included:

  • 30 minute run or cycle
  • helping with household chores
  • visiting someone who may be feeling lonely
  • writing a thank you letter to the NHS or a key worker

The senior school hit their initial £1,000 fundraising target in one week; after two weeks they had raised over £3,000. Nursery and pre-prep children then participated in a Great Claremont Fancy Dress Friday charity day on Friday 15 May, completing their sponsored tasks in full fancy dress. The total of fundraising for Princess Alice Hospice now stands at over £4,000.

Kerry Brown, Senior Partnerships Fundraiser at Princess Alice Hospice commented: ‘It’s been a difficult time for us, with most of our planned fundraising events being cancelled, but support from local schools like this is absolutely fantastic and so appreciated. We were bowled over with the school’s fundraising efforts, which will all go towards ensuring our compassionate care continues for those who need it most in the local community.’’

Lottie Andrews, Website and Communications Coordinator, Claremont Fan Court School, commented: ‘’Our school community came together during the COVID-19 lockdown to support a wonderful team who, as key workers, continued to provide vital compassionate care for patients throughout the pandemic. The response has been fantastic and we congratulate every pupil who got involved to successfully complete their sponsored activities from home whilst the school was closed. Equally, a huge thank you to our school community who came together to support this fantastic cause and donated towards our Claremont 4 Carers campaign so very generously. It has been a great pleasure to support a local charity in this way.’’

Thomas Rixon, Head of Academic PE, Head of Football, Claremont Fan Court Senior School, also commented: ’We are extremely pleased with the success of the initiative where we have raised a great sum of money which we hope can make a huge difference. We haven’t quite finished yet!’’


New Help and Advice Service launched - 1 May 2020

A new Palliative Care Help and Advice service has been launched by Princess Alice Hospice, in Esher. Supported by Surrey Downs Integrated Care Partnership, the service is designed to support health and social care professionals caring for those with palliative care and end of life needs.
Nurse on phone

The Hospice has for 35 years been committed to supporting patients and their families in the local area, but has found that health and social care professionals are often in need of some guidance and advice, particularly since the outbreak of COVID-19, and where a full referral to the Hospice might not be necessary. The unique service, which will operate remotely, will be available seven days a week from 1 May and differs from the usual hospice service as the main aim is to offer advice on caring for those who are not already under their care.

Health and social care professionals will have access to a dedicated website where they can find guidance and advice on caring for patients who have specific palliative care needs. From here they will be able to talk to a specialist advisor via telephone, Webchat, email and WhatsApp. The advisor can give guidance on specific cases regarding a number of issues such as medication, pain relief and broaching difficult subjects.

The service will be open from Monday to Sunday 9am -6pm.

Chief Executive Nicki Shaw said, ‘’We care for patients, their families and friends in our local community and will continue to do so for as long as they need us. This exciting new service will ensure that healthcare professionals in our area, whether their patients are under our care or not, are also being supported at this challenging time.  It is a mark of the strength and vision of the Surrey Downs ICP that we were able to work together to get this new service up and running in a matter of weeks so that more patients can benefit from the expertise of PAH specialists in end of life care.’

Harry Swings into action! - 1 May 2020

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore, keen sports enthusiast, Harry Swing 11, ran a full marathon over the course of four days to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice.
Harry Swing in PAH T-shirt

His mum Gail told us that Harry normally spends a fair amount of time running around a football pitch at Claygate Royals FC and Wycombe Wanderers Football Academy, competing in cross country events and playing golf all over Surrey in county tournaments. The recent lockdown has proved extremely difficult for him as he likes to be so active.

In a bid to burn off some of his excess energy and support the Hospice, Harry, a pupil at St Pauls, Thames Ditton, chose to take on a 2.6 challenge and has so far raised more than £2000 for his local Hospice

His mum Gail said, ‘He’s always been active and the recent restrictions have proved really difficult for him. After seeing Captain Tom walking round his garden, he decided he would go one further and raise funds for our local Hospice by running a complete marathon. He’s an absolute inspiration, we’re so proud of him’

Community Partnerships Lead at Princess Alice Hospice, Claire Woodward added, ‘We loved watching Harry complete his challenge to run a marathon for Princess Alice Hospice. It is with thanks to our community, taking on creative challenges whilst staying safe, that our Compassionate Care Continues to be funded.  Harry is an inspiration to children of all ages and I have no doubt that he is as proud of his achievement as we are of him.’

If you would like to sponsor Harry, or if he has motivated you to take on your own 2.6 Challenge

Hospice chaplain in the front line - 10 April 2020

Princess Alice Hospice chaplain Steve Nolan is used to working alongside medical staff at the frontline of end of life care – but the coronavirus crisis is adding almost unbearable stress to their jobs. Steve has written a blog of his thoughts as Easter approaches.
Steve Nolan

Living with and learning from Covid-19

There was a joke I spotted in a newspaper around the time the Corvid-19 lockdown began. Two people were talking and one said: “I didn’t expect to give this much up for Lent!”

For anyone unfamiliar with the season, Lent began a mere six weeks ago. Since then everyday life has been radically transformed. Not by the spiritual preparation of self-denial, which is intended to characterise the build up to Easter, but by the arrival of this invidious virus, too small to seen but powerful enough to separate families and bring the economy to a virtual stand-still.

For the Hospice, the first group to be impacted has been our highly-valued volunteers. Most have been stood down. This has been difficult for both the volunteers and the staff who continue coming to work.

The Hospice is a team, and we miss seeing our teammates, many of whom are self-isolating and miss so much the social interaction that working at the Hospice brings. But those of us who are able to still work also feel the loss of the important contributions our volunteers make to the work.

Speaking personally, I feel the loss of my beard! It’s kept my chin warm for 40 years, and provided me with at least a pretence of maturity if not wisdom. But like other colleagues working on the In-Patient Unit, I feel the loss of my individuality. That’s because, like them I’ve gone into uniform. This is part of the new and wide-ranging infection control procedures now in place.

Beyond the constant handwashing and the social distancing measures, the thing I find most difficult is having to don the personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to visit a patient. This is for their protection as much as ours, but it creates a barrier between us and those we want to care for. The apron and gloves are one thing. But the real difficulty comes from trying to offer care from inside a mask and goggles.

At the weekend I was asked to visit a young person who was dying. A close family member was in the room with the patient. I donned the full PPE and went into the room. The patient was asleep so I spoke with her very tearful family member. I wasn’t able to shake hands or in any way touch either the relative or the patient. I wasn’t able to offer any comfort for the tears, and the family member was unable to see the reactions on my face as I responded to the emotional pain they were expressing. I was able to offer a prayer, but I had to stand at the foot of the bed and not place a gentle hand on the shoulder, as I might normally have done.

This sense of distancing from patients is shared by the nurses, doctors, social workers and therapists. Shielded behind PPE, we all struggle to project the compassionate care that we are so used to and so skilled at providing. We of course understand the importance of PPE – it protects patients and staff – but we nevertheless feel constrained by its limitations.

But if Covid-19 has anything to teach us (and I’m sure we will learn a great deal from the experience of living with it) it is that human connection and contact is profoundly important to us. Even when we are locked away behind PPE or viewed at a distance inside a computer screen, something in us remains able to reach out and touch the spirit if not the body of another person with humanity and compassion

Our latest appeal –



Hospice donation raised by not going out - 10 April 2020

The disappointment of a cancelled night out for charity didn’t dampen the spirits of a Surrey Rotary club – they dug deep and made a donation to Princess Alice Hospice regardless.

With the ban on fundraising events for the foreseeable future – due to the Coronavirus emergency – the Hospice’s income has taken a pounding.

The Hospice has launched Compassionate Care Continues – a campaign and appeal to help boost income to replace that lost by the measures imposed by Government during the crisis.

The Bookham and Horsley Rotary Club had planned to raise money with a prestigious musical evening, A Touch of Glyndebourne, featuring the Cameo Opera company from Kent and offering a three-course meal.

This would have taken place in Great Bookham’s Old Barn Hall in the centre of the village.

Rotary President Nick Garrett said: “We have done this once before and it was very well received. The plan was to sell around 140 tickets with the aim of raising some £1,500 for the Hospice – helped by local caterer Elizabeth Treliving, making this one of her charitable events of the year.

The event was to be given a boost of sponsorship by Lane’s Health, a family company of which one of the Club’s members, Paul Simons, is a director.

With postponement until 2021 an inevitable decision, the members faced disappointment and the Hospice, the loss of vital funds.

In a happy turnaround for all concerned, Lane’s very generously said the Club could keep their sponsorship money and use it to support one of their nominated charities.

At a recent meeting using Zoom technology, the club agreed to that the money going to the Hospice, and that members would match fund – making a donation of £1,300.

Nick said: “We were really disappointed not to be able run this fun event in May, but Bookham and Horsley Rotary, with the generous support of Lane’s Health, are delighted to be able to help the Princess Alice Hospice at a time when their people and their finances are so very stretched.”

Angela Grimes, Director of Income Generation at Princess Alice Hospice, said: “In response to the blow of closure of our entire retail chain, and cancellation of fundraising events, the Hospice has launched Compassionate Care Continues – both a pledge to patients and staff and an appeal for support.

“Seeing supporters like the Bookham and Horsley Rotary stepping up when the chips are down, is not only very welcome, but we hope it inspires other supporters to get behind the Hospice to enable us to continue providing outstanding end of life care throughout these troubling times.”

>> To help ensure #CompassionateCareContinues  you can donate to our appeal at


Hospice pledges “Compassionate Care Continues” amid crisis - 10 April 2020

Amidst the crisis which the UK is facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Princess Alice Hospice is committed to continuing to deliver outstanding end of life care - as we know our services are needed more than ever at this time

Despite the blow of enforced closure of its entire retail chain, and cancellation of fundraising events, the Hospice has launched Compassionate Care Continues – both a pledge to patients and staff and an appeal for support.

While the Hospice is keeping its head above water for the short term – down to robust financial planning which made allowances for a  sudden crisis, a shortfall of 25% of its fundraising and shops income is the very least that will hit its bank balance. In reality it could be much worse and if the restrictions remain in place for a longer period it certainly will be.

News this week that the Chancellor has pledged money to help frontline charities – including Hospices, to the tune of £200m a quarter – has been welcomed. We are awaiting details about when this will be allocated.

Meanwhile, the physical and emotional toll on Hospice staff and patients’ families is increasing.

But the Esher-based charity’s assertion that “Compassionate Care Continues” is the rallying cry to supporters – to enable the Hospice to ride out the storm.

Deputy Medical Director at Princess Alice Hospice, Dr Jennifer Todd, said: “These are extremely difficult times. In all my years as a doctor, I’ve experienced nothing like it. But, every day, I see my colleagues go above and beyond, to provide the best possible care they can to every single one of our patients, whether at the Hospice or in their homes.”

Dr Jennifer Todd

The Hospice faces multiple challenges:

  • A huge increase in patient referrals – which have shot up by 47% since the beginning of March.
  • The growing need for additional emotional and practical support – many patients face the added trauma of having to self-isolate from their families.
  • A higher demand for bereavement services – especially as families face the heart-breaking prospect of social distancing at loved ones’ funerals.
  • Most worryingly, Princess Alice Hospice faces losing 25% of its income this financial year – forced to close its high street shops and cancel all fundraising events.

With limited NHS funding, 78% of income must be raised through voluntary donations and fundraising; the current crisis has swept away major income streams.

Dr Todd added: “My colleagues and I have been working all the hours we can, frequently 12 hour shifts on consecutive days with limited time to rest in between. Many of us have changed our personal plans at short notice, to ensure we always have cover when team members are unwell or need to self-isolate.

“And let’s not forget that every hour they give doesn’t just help our patients. They’re also doing a wonderful job reducing the burden on local NHS hospitals, who are struggling to cope with the number of people who need their care.”

“But to keep going – to keep providing the exceptional care for which Princess Alice Hospice is renowned – we urgently need help. That’s why we’ve launched our Compassionate Care Continues appeal, to raise funds to support our staff and get us through this difficult time.”

How can you help?

£65 could pay for an hour of vital support and advice for seven patients and their carers, using Zoom video software to communicate with them in their homes.

£100  could pay for 40 tubs of alcohol wipes, to prevent infection here at the hospice itself.

£265  could pay for 40 protective gowns and 40 boxes of gloves – enabling our staff at the Hospice to continue to care for patients.

To donate visit

Advice about flu-like illnesses including Coronavirus - 2 March 2020

Princess Alice Hospice is well-prepared to deal with influenze and flu-like viruses. Here is how you can protect yourself and others.

FLU-LIKE ILLNESSES including Coronavirus


It is important for the Hospice to be prepared to deal with influenza and flu-like viruses.

You can help too. Germs can live on some surfaces for hours.

To protect yourself and others:

  • Catch it. Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
  • Bin it. Bin the tissue.
  • Kill it. To kill the germs, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel.

This is the best way to slow the spread of almost any germs / infections.

Where possible it is sensible for people with flu-like symptoms to minimise unnecessary contact with frail and / or unwell relatives and friends, and thus visiting the Hospice In-Patient Unit is not encouraged.


The Hospice is following advice from the Government and the NHS to be well-prepared to deal with this virus. Again, you can help too.

To protect yourself and others:

  • Catch it
  • Bin it
  • Kill it

This is the best way to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

If you have arrived back from China or any of the other areas particularly affected by Coronavirus / COVID-19 across the globe within 14 days:

  • Please follow the specific advice for returning travellers e.g. contact NHS 111.
  • Do not visit the Hospice In-Patient Unit if you have any flu-like symptoms.

Find out more at

Grandad Dave reaches for the skies - 28 February 2020

A grandad of seven who says he never plans too far ahead, is taking to the skies this July in a skydive to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice
Two gentlemen on a bench outside smiling drinking coffee

Dave Higgins, who lives in Epsom, is taking the plunge so he can hold his own among the rest of his family, who between them have joined the Hospice’s annual Santa Fun Runs for the past three Christmases. One daughter has completed a five-day Sahara trek for charity.

“Running about isn’t really my sort of thing,” he says. “I can step out of a plane and lie down – so this should suit me down to the ground – literally.”

Dave, 68 this year, is aiming to raise at least £1,100 from his sponsored tandem jump, as a “thank you” to the Hospice which cared for his wife of 45 years, Ann, before she died in August 2016.

He praised the care and attention that Ann had received from everyone at Princess Alice Hospice, a sentiment echoed by his family, he said. “Sometimes there was quite a crowd of us here to see Ann – but that was fine, we were treated so well the whole time.

“We couldn’t have asked for better. She received the very best care imaginable.”

With his skydive booked for 18 July, Dave is aiming to drum up as much sponsorship as he can. He’s hoping the social clubs he attends will rally round. A fellow member at West Ewell Social Club, Ted White, will be joining Dave on the day as he has a skydive on his bucket list and decided it was now or never. Dave is also a member at the Comrades Club in Epsom.

Originally from the Speke area of Liverpool, Dave’s early career was as a ladies’ tailor, followed by a career in heavy engineering: “Quite a big change of direction!” he said.

At the height of the economic depression in 1983, Dave had been unemployed for a while and made his way South to take up work on building sites; he trained as a bricklayer and thus began another career.

Ann and their children followed and the family has expanded to seven grandchildren as well, ranging in age from one to 27.

This isn’t Dave first foray into fundraising; he previously abseiled down a tall building in Croydon – somewhat less than the 15,000ft he’ll dive in July.

Dave is now a regular at the Man Shed in the grounds of the Hospice in Esher – a facility where men can meet up for a chat and a cuppa, sharing and learning skills such as woodworking and crafts. He’s recently restored a bench for one of the Hospice’s community allotments.

He has set up a JustGiving page where donations can be made

Our photo shows Dave, right, with fellow “Shedder” Ken Snowden

Sons share mum’s poetry to help Hospice - 21 February 2020

Hundreds of handwritten poems, charting a woman’s journey from teenage years to adulthood, have been published by her adoring sons, who will use the proceeds in gratitude for the compassion and dignity she was afforded in her last days
Glamorous photos promoting 'A Woman's Verse'

Hundreds of handwritten poems, charting a woman’s journey from teenage years to adulthood, have been published by her adoring sons, who will use the proceeds in gratitude for the compassion and dignity she was afforded in her last days.

A Woman’s Verse by Susan Ealey, tells of the highs and lows in the progress from childhood to womanhood, through youth, first love, raising a family, and into later years.

It also features the hardship of single parenthood, growing older, loss, secret love and finding one’s place in the world.

Susan Ealey was 69 when she died at Princess Alice Hospice in October 2019.

Her son Matthew, himself a screenwriter and author, said: “Though my mum was only at the Hospice you for two or three days, it made a massive difference for those final days for her to be out of hospital, to be treated with respect and be able to say proper goodbye to my brother and me, in a loving and caring environment.

“In finding Mum’s poems and deciding to publish them, we both knew immediately we wanted to give our proceeds to the Hospice as a thank you from us; also, we believe it’s what Mum would’ve wanted.”

Following Susan’s death, Matthew and his brother Marcus found 320 unpublished poems she had written over the years.

Stashed away in a folder under her bed, the pile of handwritten poems had no titles, no dates or explanation.

Her sons dedicated their efforts to choosing and categorising a selection to include in A Woman’s Verse. “It will read as a poetry journey of my mum’s life from youth, to family, to love, to views on the world,” said Matthew. “We want our beautiful and powerful mum’s words to be read by as many people as possible, in her memory.”

Susan was a striking young woman who worked as a PA in Fleet Street and model, in the late Sixties and Seventies. She had her boys in her twenties and continued with her career, later becoming a single mum and juggling work and family.

Matthew said he recalls her writing poetry since he was a child, but she always kept her creative work to herself – apart from the occasional verse or two she’d share.

“Her own mother died when she was just 23, and she had a lifelong avoidance of hospital,” said Matthew. “Luckily she had always had a very healthy life and was never ill when we were growing up.”

She only became ill in the year she died; a bout of shingles in mid-2019 marked a turning point in her health.

“Mum resisted going in to hospital but it became inevitable – it turned out she had cancer – and it looked as though there was no option but being admitted,” said Matthew.

“After a while, whoever liaises with St Peter’s Hospital came to see us, and we knew she wanted to be anywhere but the hospital – it would have crushed us all.

“The option of Princess Alice Hospice was just perfect – it gave us the time together in her last couple of days, to hear her final wishes, even plan her funeral with her – in privacy, peace and quiet,” said Matthew.

“She had a great room, with a lovely view, which she could enjoy during her favourite season – autumn. She was treated with huge compassion and kindness, dignity and respect.

“It was the best place she could have been. We were so impressed – there are no words.”

Matthew, 45, and Marcus, 49, have stayed in contact with the Hospice, from which they continue to derive comfort and support.

A Woman’s Verse poetry book is available, via Amazon Paperback and Kindle.

Proceeds will go to Princess Alice Hospice and Cancer Research.


You composed a song of love
Dedicated just to me

Placed me high upon your pedestal
For all the world to see

How those words haunt me
They touched deep in my soul

Instead of reading between your lines
I lost all control

In your eyes I owned the world
But I let it slip away

Now I’ve only memories
A lonely price to pay


A Woman’s Verse ISBN 978165793314

Snow White enchants at Hospice shop - 20 February 2020

Things were anything but Grimm when the Princess Alice Hospice shop in East Molesey was transformed into a fairytale land of dancing animals and romance
West Moleset staff members dressed as characters in Snow Hite

It was a specially themed Snow White day which saw customers drawn into a magical realm of woodland wonder, a tale of jealousy and love, tempting arrays of cakes – and a host of colourful characters including seven remarkably small diamond miners.

The far from Grumpy staff dressed up as the main characters from the Brothers Grimm story, welcoming customers into the magical scene. Centrepiece was a fabulous bed made up in the shop window, a magic mirror and wood.

Four enthusiastic volunteers from nearby HSBC branches collected donations and sold delicious cakes which had been freshly baked and donated for the occasion.

The Hospice was left feeling Happy from the boost in takings; several customers weren’t Bashful – they turned up in fairytale attire themselves.

PJ Day fun takes off for Hospice - 20 February 2020

Hundreds of people from schoolchildren to firefighters, shop staff and care workers, have so far taken part in a huge PJ Day fundraiser – in support of the night nurses of Princess Alice Hospice
Three ladies in curlers smiling for PJ Day

And there’s still loads of time to take part!

Five primary schools signed up to wear their pyjamas for a day before half-term, as part of the Hospice’s bid to raise funds during its spring campaign – Care Through The Night.

Supporters are being encouraged to don PJs and dressing gowns on days throughout February and March. A suggested donation of £1 each will help achieve the fundraising target.

Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Eilís Kiernan said: “Our night nurses provide so much more than medical care. They help support patients and families when they need it most, in their own homes.

“Our spring appeal aims to raise £54,000 to help ensure that our night nurses can continue to deliver care each and every night.

“We’re encouraging families, colleagues, schools, clubs, pubs, and teams of all kinds to hold a PJ Day for Princess Alice Hospice. It’s simple, easy – and lots of fun.

There is a dedicated webpage to the PJ Day event – where you can download a fundraising pack full of ideas and tips to make your PJ Day a fantastic success.

Our pictures show Sunrise Senior Living, Esher; New Malder Fire Station; Great Bookhm Hospice shop; Echelford School, Ashford; Riverbridge School, Staines; Hospice colleagues at Esher; Lakesiders in Weybridge; Fidelity UK of Tadworth

Thousands of pupils to join PJ Day fun for Hospice - 4 February 2020

Around 2,500 Surrey schoolchildren are set to join a huge PJ Day fundraiser – in support of the night nurses of Princess Alice Hospice

Five primary schools have so far signed up to wear their pyjamas for a day, as part of the Hospice’s bid to raise funds during its spring campaign – Care through the night.

The children – and their teachers – are being encouraged to don PJs and dressing gowns on Friday 14 February, the day when staff and volunteers at the Esher–based Hospice will be holding their own PJ Day. Other people are holding a PJ Day on different days in February and March.

A suggested donation of £1 each will help achieve the fundraising target.

Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Eilís Kiernan said: “Our night nurses provide so much more than medical care. They help support patients and families when they need it most, in their own homes.

“Our spring appeal aims to raise £54,000 to help ensure that our night nurses can continue to deliver care each and every night.

“We’re aiming to get families, colleagues, schools, clubs, pubs, and teams of all kinds to hold a PJ Day for Princess Alice Hospice. It’s simple, easy – and lots of fun.

There is a dedicated webpage to the PJ Day event – where you can download a fundraising pack full of ideas and tips to make your PJ Day a fantastic success.

The five schools – all part of Lumen Learning Trust – are Saxon Primary, Shepperton; The Echelford Primary, Ashford; Riverbridge Primary, Staines; Walton Oaks, Walton and Darley Dene, Addlestone

Green Goddess Diana endorses Hospice fashions - 4 February 2020

Evergreen fitness guru Diana Moran has demonstrated her dedication to green principles - by wearing a pre-loved outfit when being presented with the British Empire Medal
Diana Moran in PAH outfit being presented with British Empire medal

Diana – dubbed The Green Goddess for her high-profile healthy exercise spots on breakfast TV in the 1980s – was awarded the BEM for meritorious service by Lord Lieutenant of Greater London Sir Kenneth Olisa.

She wore an ice blue ensemble and hat, all of which cost her £43 from the Princess Alice Hospice shop in her home town of Shepperton. She said she was delighted with her bargain buys.

Diana also recently picked up an award from the Women of Influence 2019, for remaining among the most influential commentators for fitness and wellbeing in the UK.

The citation reads: “Your zest and energy to ensure all generations benefit from healthier life choices remains at forefront of your life.”

Diana’s support of the Hospice charity goes further than snapping up clothing bargains; a couple of years ago she took to the catwalk at the Princess Alice Hospice bridal show at Shepperton Studios.

Hospice shop manager Linda Kemp said: said: “At Shepperton we have a separate bridal and special occasion wear department which has numerous beautiful designer outfits for all kinds of events and celebrations.

“We are fortunate to receive generous donations of wedding gowns, prom dresses and partywear – but more are always welcome, especially with spring weddings and the prom season on the horizon.”

999 crew responds to Hospice appeal - 29 January 2020

Firefighters from the country’s busiest fire brigade showed their community spirit this week - by taking part in a PJ Day photoshoot for Princess Alice Hospice
Firefighters posing in their PJs

London Fire Brigade’s New Malden Green Watch pulled on their night attire – ranging from sensible Dad style pyjamas, through manly superhero – to frilly pink shorts, before showing off their firefighting skills in support of the charity’s night nurse service.

The pole sliding and hose deployment – all clad in pyjamas – was to encourage everyone to think about holding their own PJ Day for the Esher-based Hospice which serves a huge swathe of Surrey, SW London and parts of Middlesex.

Hospice Partnership Fundraiser Eilís Kiernan said: “In February, a time of year when the nights are long and cold – and our nurses are out and about in all weathers – we are asking supporters to join in a fun event to raise awareness of what they do, and how the public can help.

“We’re aiming to get families, colleagues, schools, clubs, pubs and teams of all kinds involved. Green Watch have been fantastic – really good sports and willing to help us promote our campaign.”

PJ Day:  All you do is wear your pyjamas while doing your job, hobby or sport, on one day – and pay £1 for the privilege.

For a PJ Day fundraising pack with details of how to join in – and lots of fun ideas to make your PJ Day special – email or phone 01372 461808

Care Through The Night campaign:

Cheeky calendar hunks raise cash for Hospice - 13 January 2020

Sold out almost as soon as it went on sale, a cheeky charity calendar raised loads of laughs - and a few eyebrows - along with £1,400 for Princess Alice Hospice.
Smiling group of people in pub with cheeky calendar

Featuring the charms of around 25 regulars from the Royal George, the Hersham Hunks 2020 calendar comprised 12 glossy images of the chaps engaged in various manly pastimes – wearing smiles and very little else.

With their modesty preserved by strategically-placed sports equipment, tools and towels, the Hunks launched the calendar in time for Christmas and were amazed by its popularity.

Calendar co-ordinator Sam Weller involved her husband Lee as photographer, and make-up expert daughter Jade Weller, to ensure the photoshoot was as professional as possible.

Sam said: “They were snapped up really quickly; no one was allowed to see the contents beforehand, so there was a lot of speculation and curiosity!”

Local firms Surrey Lofts, TNC Builders and the Royal George itself sponsored the printing of the 130 calendars on sale – so all the proceeds have been given to the Hospice in Esher.

Tim Iredale, the Hospice’s Corporate Partnerships Lead, said: “The Royal George are such good sports – and here’s the evidence.

“The pub and its regulars are great supporters of Princess Alice Hospice and are always thinking up new ways to raise funds for us – fancy dress events, quizzes and the like.

“Seriously, we’re very grateful indeed for their donation – which will go direct towards caring for those who need it.

“The Hersham Hunks calendar will take some beating next year!”

Photo: Barely there: Regulars at the Royal George pose with calendar co-ordinator Sam Weller, front right

Award-winning Hospice campaign held up as shining example - 13 January 2020

A Hospice fundraising campaign featuring innovative digital tools has been singled out as an example of excellence, by global online social platform JustGiving
Santa Fun Runners at Painshill Park

Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, won the JustGiving Christmas Campaign award for the 2018 Santa Fun Run, an annual event held in three iconic  parks in the care area.

The campaign has now become subject of a case study on the JustGiving website, for other fundraisers to see how it achieved such success – including exceeding its fundraising target by nearly a fifth.

The success of the event was due in part to the move towards more digital interaction with participants: a separate campaign page, dedicated microsite and integrated JustGiving Leaderboard all contributed towards fostering a community atmosphere among those taking part.

Another key aspect of the campaign was to grow awareness and engagement within local communities by using social media and generating stories and features to increase press coverage.

The Hospice’s fundraising target was exceeded by 18 per cent, raising £76,600.

“The uplift in fundraising and number of participants was in large part due to the digital element of a bigger push overall,” said Angela Grimes, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Princess Alice Hospice.

“We receive limited NHS funding, and rely heavily on the generosity of the community in which we deliver our services; increased revenue on the scale of the Santa Fun Run success is vindication of using every tool in the box.”

Rotary gift for Hospice care at home - 20 December 2019

A huge brunch date for 130 guests raised a hearty £1,000 for Princess Alice Hospice
Cheque presentation of £1,000 from Bookham and Horsley Rotary Club

Members of Bookham and Horsley Rotary Club enjoyed the mid-morning get-together in November, to highlight and support the Hospice’s care for people in their own homes.

When Rotary President Nick Garrett and Treasurer Terry Driscoll visited the Hospice to hand over the money, Nick said the club had been inspired by his account of the Hospice’s care for his wife, Carol, who died earlier this year.

He said: “It was such a relief to have Hospice nurses come out to care for my wife. We really appreciated it.”

Accepting the cheque, Partnership Fundraiser Eilís Kiernan said: “Donations are the lifeblood of the Hospice – without which we could not continue to provide outstanding care.

“The Rotary club’s funding represents several visits from a nurse – a relief for patients who wish to stay in their homes, and a lifeline for their families and carers.”

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year - 19 December 2019

A message from Chief Executive, Nicki Shaw.
Nicki Shaw

As the festive break draws near, it is time for me to wish you good tidings and say a huge ‘thank you’ for your continued unstinting support, during what has been a turbulent year for charitable hospices in particular, and the UK as a whole. With the dawn of a new decade, we hope that soon a line will be drawn under previous uncertainty within the external environment, and we, as an organisation, can move forward with delivering our progressive, and ambitious, plans over the next two years.

Despite a challenging time for our sector, Princess Alice Hospice remains committed to providing free outstanding care and support, in every aspect of end of life care, now, and in the future. Our support extends beyond our patients; to their families, carers and friends who we help to make the most of the time, they have with their loved one, while ensuring life goes on after bereavement. And it goes without saying, that we will always strive to get both the big and the little things right and go the extra mile to ensure that the people who need us most, receive the care and support they need and deserve.

Our focus in 2020 will be to:

  • Carry on with our constant efforts to drive significant income. In the last financial year, we needed to raise £10.3m (only 19% came from the NHS) through fundraising, donations legacies and our 45 shops, to provide specialist services within a large care area of around 600 square miles, where 80% of our services are delivered in the community.
  • Help build resilience within our compassionate communities, through our Community Engagement team, by furnishing them with the skills they need to support each other at times of crisis.
  • Grow and consolidate our approach to digital technology, which will allow us to work more cohesively, and improve the quality of living for people from diagnosis to death through our first-class teaching, training and research.

Our organisation has never been one to stand still, not for a moment. As Chief Executive, I’m exceptionally proud of our staff and our army of more than 1,400 volunteers, and I thank them for their dynamism, dedication and willingness to go above and beyond daily.

For all the fun and celebration of Christmas, for many families, it can be an incredibly sad and tough time. Still, our excellent staff and volunteers will be there, working around the clock to ensure the best possible experience.

Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

For Excellence. For compassion. For People. For Living.

Teacher mounts silent appeal for a good cause - 4 December 2019

Pupils at a Walton school were tickled to discover their teacher had vowed to remain silent for a day – and then the fun began
Children and teachers with large cheque

The attempt by Shellie Bradford to keep schtum from the morning bell to going home time was “harder than I imagined” she said. Even her mum doubted she could do it.

With pupils trying to trick her into responding, and colleagues resolutely not speaking to her, she said it was agony at times.

Shellie maintained her sponsored silence to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice, a place she had initially been reluctant to visit – until it changed her outlook on life and death.

“I never shut up,” she said. “I love talking, I knew it would be hard but didn’t quite appreciate just how hard! All the children (staff and parents too) thought it was highly amusing, the thought of me staying quiet all day. My mum had no faith in my whatsoever!”

Her vow of silence raised a fantastic £821.99 and a big cheer from the pupils.

Her imaginative fundraiser was inspired by her visits to the Hospice over the years.

She said: “I’ve been visiting Princess Alice Hospice for a few years now, sometimes face painting at the summer fete and enjoying the festivities at the Christmas fair.

“If I’m honest I’d always felt really apprehensive about going in there, but this year, over the holidays I spent some time there visiting a friend, keeping her company, while her dad was there.

“As I spent more time at Princess Alice Hospice, I became calm and found a real sense of peace there. Everyone’s so welcoming and kind and I could see families around me being supported but given time and ‘normality’ in a really hard time.

“One afternoon when I was there, I saw a huge family in grief after losing someone a few moments before; at that moment I turned to my friend and said: ‘Do you know, one thing that has come from me visiting here, is that I no longer fear death.’ It was an overwhelmingly calm feeling. That is why I felt such a need to show my support.”

Her sterling efforts lasted 10 hours – from the moment she woke up at 6am, until 4pm.

She said: “We had full on lessons in the morning, maths, English and so on. I did a lot of writing messages on a whiteboard and signing, facial expressions too. The afternoon was my planning and prep time but that was just as hard because none of the staff would talk to me in the office.

“I actually felt quite lonely and a little sad. It made me feel how isolating it must feel for people who are unable to communicate.”

Claire Woodward, Community Partnerships and Events Lead, said: “Shellie set a memorable example to the children, with this quirky way of raising funds for the Hospice – for which we are very grateful indeed.

“Our supporters constantly amaze us with their enthusiasm and commitment to fundraising.

“We could not continue to deliver our outstanding care to patients and carers if it weren’t for all the thousands of dedicated people like Shellie in this world.”

Photo: Teacher Shellie Bradford with Butterfly class and Hospice Director of People & Communities Zoe Byrne

Wellbeing Centre’s welcome to all - 4 December 2019

An improved range of opportunities for patients and carers from across the community, is now available at the Princess Alice Hospice Wellbeing Centre
Diana Moran and Jean - cutting a ribbon

The Wellbeing Centre, based at the Hospice in Esher, brings together a range of specialised outpatient services and activities.

The aim is to help give people with life-limiting conditions and their carers the best possible quality of life by managing symptoms, building confidence and helping them take back control of their lives.

TV fitness guru Diana Moran paid a visit to the Hospice, to see the Wellbeing Centre since its recent significant refresh.

Following a welcome address by Rebecca Trower, Deputy Director, Quality & Patient Experience, Diana helped patient Jean Stewart cut the ribbon to mark the occasion.

Diana then said a few words in praise of the Centre, the staff and volunteers. She stayed for tea and cake and chatted to guests.

The success of the improved space has been brought about largely by the imaginations of Hospice staff, who worked incredibly creatively with a minimal budget to create maximum impact – they also employed their full powers of persuasion when contacting local companies to ask them to donate materials for the works.


Finishing touches such as new shelving, trays and coasters were contributed by the Hospice Man Shed.

The Centre will be offering a wide programme of events, including educational talks and drop-in sessions, alongside an extended choice of wellbeing therapies, nursing care and support for patients and their families.

Each weekday has a different focus: Tuesdays, for example, are devoted to helping people learn about what the Hospice can offer – whether you are a patient, family member, care professional or member of the public. There’s a variety of information sessions to pop into, as well as complementary therapies, exercise, relaxation sessions and art sessions.

Other days offer a respite day, social group, move & relax.

A booklet to explain the full range of services on offer is on the website –

Photo: Diana Moran and Jean Stewart mark the opening moment

Church gifts to help Hospice - 4 December 2019

A pile of children’s clothes, toys, books, luggage and handbags has been collected by a church congregation and donated to Princess Alice Hospice shops as the winter season gears up
Team from Iglesia ni Christo church

The congregation at Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in Sunbury brought their gifts to the church on Staines Road West, where they were collected for distribution to the Hospice’s 45 shops across Surrey and SW London.

The goods will be sorted, priced and put on display alongside other new and nearly new items in the next couple of weeks.

Area retail manager Shane Moore said: “We are pleased to make a connection with such a generous organisation as this church.

“The congregation lives in the community we serve, so this is very close to home for them all. We’re very grateful for this timely donation.

“Our Hospice shops raise £500,000 each year towards the £10.3m it takes to provide end of life care to around 800 people at any one time across Surrey, SW London and parts of Middlesex.”

Giancarlo Mattera of the Iglesia Ni Cristo said: “Our Church is always happy to help our local community whenever we can and we look forward to working together with our local charities again in the near future.”

Photo: Just some of the donated gifts collected by Iglesia Ni Cristo. Hospice area retail manager Shane Moore, third from right, and Giancarlo Mattera, right

Re-use stores up funds for Hospice - 25 November 2019

A money-spinning initiative which keeps re-usable items from landfill, has led to a funding boost for Princess Alice Hospice
Princess Alice Hospice Nicki CEO Nicki Shaw, holding a cheque for £3735.21, alongside Tim Oliver and Kacie Thompson

More than £3,700 raised by selling unwanted items too good to scrap, was handed over to the Esher hospice by Surrey County Council Leader Cllr Tim Oliver.

Cllr Oliver visited the Hospice to hand over the cheque. His student nurse daughter Emily, 21, was cared for there before she died of a brain tumour in July this year.

The money came from two of the county’s five recycling Revive shops – Shepperton and Leatherhead – where goods are reclaimed from the community recycling centres and sold at the sites. Customers are asked to nominate a charity to win 10 per cent of the profits each quarter.

Princess Alice Hospice Chief Executive Nicki Shaw said: “This is a fantastic win-win situation – a green initiative which supports our ongoing end of life care.

“The communities which support this scheme will benefit twofold – from a better environment and from the Hospice’s invaluable services, delivered free across Surrey.

“It takes a lot of money – and we are grateful for such donations.”

Cllr Oliver said: “Princess Alice Hospice provides a truly fantastic facility for end of life care. I know from personal experience how important the support and comfort they offer people is in the most difficult of circumstances. I’m delighted that our partnership with SUEZ can go some way to supporting this work.”

More than £3,700 raised by selling unwanted items too good to scrap, was handed over to the Esher hospice by Surrey County Council Leader Cllr Tim Oliver.

Cllr Oliver visited the Hospice to hand over the cheque. His student nurse daughter Emily, 21, was cared for there before she died of a brain tumour in July this year.

The money came from two of the county’s five recycling Revive shops – Shepperton and Leatherhead – where goods are reclaimed from the community recycling centres and sold at the sites. Customers are asked to nominate a charity to win 10 per cent of the profits each quarter.

Princess Alice Hospice Chief Executive Nicki Shaw said: “This is a fantastic win-win situation – a green initiative which supports our ongoing end of life care.

“The communities which support this scheme will benefit twofold – from a better environment and from the Hospice’s invaluable services, delivered free across Surrey.

“It takes a lot of money – and we are grateful for such donations.”

Cllr Oliver said: “Princess Alice Hospice provides a truly fantastic facility for end of life care. I know from personal experience how important the support and comfort they offer people is in the most difficult of circumstances. I’m delighted that our partnership with SUEZ can go some way to supporting this work.”

Our photo shows Tim Oliver, Nicki Shaw and Kacie Thompson from SUEZ, the firm which operates Surrey’s recycling and recovery centres

Ducks go quackers for charity shop fare - 20 November 2019

Posh nosh is being served up to the feathered residents of the river Mole thanks to a local heritage and conservation project being supported by the Princess Alice Hospice shop.
A customer buying duck food from 2 members of staff at the Princess Alice Hospice shop

Custom-made duck food pellets – said to be better for aquatic birds than common or garden bread – are now available from the Hospice’s Cobham shop, just a few yards from the Riverhill platform installed by the river in the village.

The duck food, sourced by the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, is being sold at the shop with a proportion of the profit going to the Hospice funds. Donations of £1 are requested for each packet.

“It’s a wing-wing situation!” said area retail manager Libby Dey. “There’s a new CCHT sign at the duck feeding station telling people they can get the special duck food at the Hospice shop – so they pop along to buy it and often end up browsing our rails and shelves for bargains.

“It’s a great way of being part of the community in which the Hospice’s services are available.”

The trust – which holds an annual duck race on the river every September – is dedicated to the protection, enhancement and development of Conservation Areas, of which there are four in Cobham.

The trust is a local charity which relies on volunteers to help run the trust, promote local history and conservation issues and organise fund-raising events.

“The village is very much defined by its association with the River Mole,” said CCHT environment officer Laurence Wells “and the traditional simple pleasure of feeding the ducks is very popular for all ages.

“By highlighting the importance of supplying good quality food to our wildlife, in partnership with the Hospice’s nearby shop, it reinforces everyone’s feeling of community spirit.”

DHL’s early Santa sighting - 11 November 2019

Getting set for an extra-early festive delivery at DHL Express, are Santa Fun Runners Matt, Harry, Victoria and Dan – who have signed up for the Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Run in December
DHL staff dressed in Santa Suits and holding Princess Alice Hospice collecting buckets, flags and leaflets

When not in Santa disguise, the four colleagues are familiar faces at the Esher Hospice, where they have spent time volunteering on the phonelines to drum up more fun runners to raise vital funds for the Hospice.

This intrepid quartet – based at DHL Express’s head office at Colnbrook’ – are joining the Bushy Park run on December 15 – just one of four runs in this year’s offer.

The others are in Richmond Park and Painshill Park over two weekends – so there’s plenty of choice for runners, families, friends and colleagues to join in.

The emphasis is on fun over the 5k routes – and it’s fine to walk, stroll, run, – whatever pace suits you.

Bring the dog as well – four-legged entrants are free and they’ll be in good company alongside the dozens of canine participants.

Matt said: “We’re all looking forward to the fun run – we’ve really enjoyed helping at the Hospice and are grateful to DHL Express for supporting employee volunteering.

“The Santa Fun Run will be a chance to join in with hundreds of other people with the aim of raising as much as we can for the Hospice.”

For dates, venues and entry details visit

Wimbledon brings team spirit to Santa Fun Run - 4 November 2019

There’s always plenty of action when AFC Wimbledon players get the ball.

The squad took a fun break from training for their upcoming FA Cup First Round match this week, to kick off Princess Alice Hospice’s Santa Fun Run 2019.

It was merry mayhem as the team donned red Santa suits, beards and hats to launch this year’s annual family fundraising event and encourage everyone to take part in the 5k runs.

Loyal supporters for several years, the team has helped raise vital funds to keep the Hospice delivering its outstanding care across a wide area of Surrey, SW London and Middlesex.

Who needs a beard? Midfielder Scott Wagstaff came prepared

Beth Sadler, Princess Alice Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser, said: “Apart from our big events like the fun run, the club helps boost our fundraising throughout the year, with matchday collections and other support; we’re so grateful for this kindness – and seeing them all getting into the festive spirit with such enthusiasm is so infectious!”

This year’s four Santa fun runs will be held at three venues: Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Painshill Park over two December weekends – so there’s plenty of choice for runners, families, friends and colleagues to take part.

Join the AFC Wimbledon squad at Bushy Park on Sunday, December 15 – they’ll be kicking off that day’s fun run, complete with Santa suits, at 10am.

The emphasis is on fun over the 5k routes – and it’s fine to walk, stroll, run – whatever pace suits you.

Bring the dog as well – four-legged entrants are free, and they’ll be in good company alongside the dozens of canine participants.

For dates, venues and entry details visit

Big band show is a blast for Hospice - 23 October 2019

Buoyed up by a message of support from Hollywood superstar Lily James, a fundraising big band night in aid of Princess Alice Hospice raised the roof on Saturday 12 October
Musicians playing at the Ember big band concert

The star of Downton Abbey, Baby Driver and Cinderella also gave signed copies of DVDs and books to help the Hospice raise funds to continue its outstanding end of life care.

Around 300 guests – including 40 enjoying special VIP status – were transported to the golden eras of Big Band, Rat Pack, jazz, soul and rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of the talented Ember Big Band at a show in the Hammond Theatre, Hampton.

Conducted by one of the country’s best-known trombonists, Bill Geldard, the band rocked the rafters with a selection of toe-tapping classics, while dancers from Impact Dance Studios provided visual entertainment.

A moving closing speech by Hospice supporter Jeremy Cowdrey gave the audience an insight into how the Hospice had not only cared for his wife Pippa when she died, but created such a lasting memory for their four children that 10 years on their commitment has not faltered as they continue to fundraise for and support Princess Alice Hospice.

Jeremy Cowdrey addresses the audience

Hospice Community Partnerships and Events Lead, Claire Woodward, said: “Sometimes the generosity of people blows me away.

“We were treated to a wonderful show by the Ember Big Band – there was laughter, singing and a few tears shed in memory of loved ones – but all for the wonderful cause of Princess Alice Hospice who were so grateful for the commitment and support from all these great people.”

Hospice Community Partnerships & Events Lead, Claire Woodward, centre, with event volunteers Nigel Conway and Denise July

In addition to the money raised by the tickets, a further £2,000 was raised on the night via a raffle and collections. The total is still being calculated.

Rocky’s fourth challenge makes a charity difference - 23 October 2019

When a stuntman, a boxer, a handful of footballers and celebrities get on the golf course - anything could happen
A cheque of £4903 being handed over and donated to the Hospice

Luckily, it resulted in a cash bonus for the one good cause they all support – Princess Alice Hospice.

Stuntman Rocky Taylor – the Cobham-based veteran of scores of action movies – hosted an afternoon of golf followed by dinner and entertainment at Burhill Golf Club, raising £4,903 for the Hospice.

The event was enjoyed by former world champion boxer John Conteh, football manager and TV pundit Harry Redknapp, former England and West Ham footballer Trevor Brooking; QPR and Arsenal footballer Terry Mancini; former England and Watford player Luther Blissett; TV motoring presenter Tiff Needell and singer/actor Jess Conrad – in all a 100-strong group of players.

During the evening fundraising dinner, comedian Bobby Davro raised the roof with laughter and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Wayne Woodward entertained with his smooth singing style.

An auction helped top up the total; lots included Rocky’s autobiography Jump, Rocky, Jump and an evening’s private performance by Wayne Woodward.

Rocky called by the Hospice to hand over the money raised by the August event.

The golf and dinner is now in its fourth very successful year. To date Rocky and his fellow golfers have raised around £17,500 for the Hospice.

Claire Woodward, Princess Alice Hospice Community Partnerships and Events Lead, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Rocky and Burhill Golf Club chose to support the Hospice with this marvellous golf day for a fourth 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 expressed his own thanks to Burhill Golf Course – and the organising skills of ex Southampton, Liverpool and Welsh international goalkeeper Paul and Jones and his wife Annette who pulled together the entire event.

Next year’s Rocky Taylor and John Virgo Golf Day is pencilled in for 14 August – contact for details and bookings.

Photo: 1 – Sock it to me! Princess Alice Community Partnerships and Events Lead Claire Woodward tries a stunt on Rocky Taylor.

Gerald’s on the run again – at 89! - 23 October 2019

Once bitten, twice shy is not something you can say about Gerald Pratt
Gerald, a supporter dress up in a santa suit holding a press cutting he is featured in

At 89, bitten by the fun run bug last year, Gerald is among the first to sign up to this year’s 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 two years, 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 the day they were married, where they raised a family and where Gerald still lives. He’s been retired 24 years.

He was inspired to join the Santa Fun Run last year by a new friend he made while on the regular Princess Alice Hospice Walk and Talk strolls in Bushy Park. That same friend, Barry, will be joining him again this year, along with fellow Walk and Talker Sylvia – who last year cheered them on but is joining in this time.

A grandfather of seven, Gerald reckons he will be taking the fun run at a leisurely pace – hopefully a fast walk – and finish under an hour.

When he’s not out and about on his favourite walks, Gerald can be found in the Hospice Man Shed, which he joined after last year’s Santa Fun Run.

Here he can put his skills to use in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere – designing and making wooden toys and games, planters and other items.

  • If you would like to join Gerald and our other Santas in one of our upcoming Santa Fun Runs in Painshill Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park, sign up at or call 01372 461808. There’s a 20% Early Bird discount if – like Gerald – you book before October 31

Photo: That’ll be me! Gerald can’t wait to join in at Bushy Park again this year

Hospice shows what it takes to be the best - 7 October 2019

Seven doctors, 1,040 litres of washing up liquid, 1,008 Santa suits, 1,415 volunteers and 13 window cleaners - this is just some of what it takes for Princess Alice Hospice to provide exceptional end of life care each year
Collage picture - showing various images of Hospice staff and volunteers doing various activities such as drinking tea, reading a book, yoga

Princess Alice Hospice is one of more than 200 charitable hospices across the UK taking part in Hospice Care Week (7-13 October).

This year the theme “This is What It Takes” will be highlighting that while hospice care is provided free for people with life-limiting conditions and their families, it is not cheap and takes a lot of skills and people and resources.

The Princess Alice Hospice in Esher is the hub which coordinates end of life care at home, for more than 800 people across the care area, at any one time. This all costs £10.3million a year.

Hospices depend on the contribution of many “backroom” people such as: cleaners, cooks, shop staff, gardeners, as well as countless dedicated volunteers.

Princess Alice Hospice is supported to the tune of £500,000 a year by its 45 shops. Our five vans cover the equivalent distance of London to Mexico City every month as they collect and deliver furniture and other items. The service gets 10,800 furniture collection requests a year.

Annually, Hospice staff travel 192,400 for their duties in the community, with another 28,700 miles covered by volunteer driver ferrying patients to and fro.

Customers bought 23,619 packs of Christmas cards in 2018 – and the Hospice strung up 1,425ft of 5,000 tree lights. Another 16,000 fairy lights decorate the outside of the building.

We launder around 24,960 uniforms a year – and dispose of 5,016kg of clinical waste. Meanwhile, 47 loos and 146 sinks in the building have to be cleaned at least once a day – most, twice.

Enough milk to make 5,927 mugs of tea is used every week in the Hospice – along with 300 eggs (15,500 a year). Imagine chopping up 15kg of onions a week, along with 10kg carrots and 354kg potatoes – week in, week out.

Enough bread is bought each week to make 200 sandwiches and 370 pieces of toast; in one year, 472 litres of cream are poured, whipped and spooned.

Hospice care is about much more than nursing and medical care on the inpatient unit. It comprises other services including nutritional advice, physiotherapy, massage and reflexology, bereavement counselling, befriending and hospice care at home.

The majority of our support advice and care is provided in the community setting, enabling people to remain in their preferred place of care, usually home

Here’s what goes on in a year at Princess Alice Hospice:

  • 8,800 support sessions by our social work, chaplaincy, bereavement and Children In Need teams
  • 5,877 therapy sessions including 3,824 occupational therapy and physio sessions
  • 2,414 day services activities attended – supporting 254 people
  • 1,415 volunteers contribute across the region, in 97 different roles

In 2018, we helped:

  • 481 patients cared for by the In-Patient Unit
  • Another 800 people receiving direct care and support at home at any one time
  • 2,862 visits made by night response team

Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive of Princess Alice Hospice, said: “Princess Alice Hospice receives 19% of its income as grant funding from the NHS and has to raise the rest itself. It relies heavily on the generous support of the local community, including from companies, donors and hospice fundraising supporters.

“This year, many hospices are facing considerable financial challenges, so the support we receive from the public is more important than ever before.”

A wide variety of fundraising events help support the Hospice each year – including skydives which saw 35 people dive 465,000ft between them – that’s 16 times the height of Everest. Abseilers covered the equivalent of 61 Wembley football pitches – 21,400 feet.

Staff processed 176,800 monetary transactions in the year, with 25,771 retail customers taking advantage of Gift Aid.

Hospice Chair, Fiona Ross CBE, said: “Our grateful thanks go to the armies of supporters and volunteers who give so much of their time and effort to support the Hospice.

“From the Trustees through to the collection tin volunteers, we truly could not continue our outstanding level of service without their sterling efforts.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of national hospice and end of life care charity Hospice UK, said: “Hospices provide incredible care and improve the lives of so many people with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones. During Hospice Care Week, we’d like to give a big shout out to everyone involved in making this happen for more than 200,000 families every year.”

Each year hospices care for than 200,000 people with terminal and life-limiting conditions and also provide bereavement support for more than 40,000 families.

Golf day milestone for Hospice funds - 26 September 2019

Royal patronage and a tradition of generous giving have distinguished a particular golf tournament over the past quarter century
A Nelson Trophy cheque for the Hospice for £500,000

Thanks to the annual Nelson Trophy event held at St George’s Hill Golf Club, Weybridge, Princess Alice Hospice has benefited over the past 25 years, to the tune of around £500,000 in total. £40,000 of this was raised by Saturday’s event alone.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the initial Nelson Trophy tournament dedicated to the Hospice.

Saturday saw a total of 124 players tee off for the pro-am tournament. Star guests included former professional snooker player and TV pundit Willie Thorne, TV presenters Mark Austin and Ben Shepherd and former professional golfer Neil Coles.

Comedian Bobby Davro provided the entertainment after golf over lunch.

A cheque for £500,000 – representing the accumulated total of funds raised so far by the tournament – was handed over to Hospice Honorary President Jane Formby.

She spoke of the enduring relationship between the club and the Hospice, outlining the history and development of its palliative care services and giving very grateful thanks to the players for their generosity.

She said afterwards: “”This was such an enjoyable day, but apart from great entertainment from Bobby Davro and excellent auctioneer Willy Thorne the best thing was the warmth felt towards the Hospice and the great generosity of all concerned whether financial or in time spent in the organisation of the day”

This year’s event alone should raise close to £40,000, via a silent and live auction, member donations and a raffle.


Background: St George’s Hill Golf Club has a strong historical and personal association with Princess Alice that pre-dates The Nelson Trophy.

The club’s inaugural President, between 1913 and 1956, was Princess Alice’s husband, Prince Alexander of Teck.

During his tenure as President, The Nelson Trophy was donated to the club by the Royal Navy/Royal Marine Golfing Society.

The competition for many years was played in pairs – one pro, one member; however in the late 1960s support waned and the competition was suspended.

In 1985 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother officially opened the Hospice, in memory of Queen Victoria’s last surviving grandchild, Princess Alice, who died in 1981.

In 1993 under the initiative of the then-Captain, Barry Hancock, the Nelson Trophy Pro-Am was resurrected in the format we know today, a charity four-ball pro-am team alliance.

The following year, under Alistair Deane’s guidance the beneficiary of the event became the Princess Alice Hospice and remains so today. A respectable £6,500 was raised – the equivalent of £12,700 today.

Ourphoto shows, holding a cheque representing the cumulative total of funds raised since 1994, from left, Ross Marshall, SGH member and CEO Your Golf Travel; Julian Buck, SGH Men’s Captain; Jane Formby, Hon President, Princes Alice Hospice; Holms Carlile, SGH President; Alistair Deane, SGH 1994 Captain; Chris Pinsent, SGH member and Nelson Trophy organiser


We’re thriving, despite the challenges - 17 September 2019

This year has been a turbulent one for hospices: Uncertainty over Brexit, financial deficits and overstretched health and social care budgets have meant hospices face stark choices over what they can and can’t provide – at a time when demand on their services is growing.
L-R Nicki Shaw, Mary Sheldon, Fiona Ross

This week’s publication of the Princess Alice Hospice’s Trustees Annual Report, shows how the Hospice has faced the challenges of the past year and how it has fought to achieve its goals despite the gloomy economic climate.

At the Hospice’s Annual Meeting on Thursday 12 September, Princess Alice Hospice Chief Executive Nicki Shaw said. “We are mid-way through a five-year strategy that was developed during what now feels as if was a very different time – pre-Brexit and pre-Donald Trump.

“That has inevitably had an impact on some of the scale and scope of our ambition, however we remain committed to our overarching aim of reaching more people with our care, skills, knowledge, expertise and experience.”

Ms Shaw also outlined the Hospice’s success in making progress in patient care and support as outpatients in settings nearer their homes; developing Compassionate Communities with the help of volunteers and community groups – and better use of digital technology to help the Hospice meet its ambitious goals.

Last year it cost the Hospice £10.3 million to provide free, high quality care and support to nearly 3,000 patients – this year it will be more. Yet only £2 million (19%) of this cost is met by NHS grants. The fact that its NHS grant funding has barely increased over the past 10 years has put additional pressure on fundraising staff and the local community to help plug the gap.

The £25 million recently promised by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will not go far to alleviate the pressures faced by Hospices throughout the UK. It represents just four hours’ care per patient.

Ms Shaw added. “As always, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers, supporters and fundraisers for all their support. Their commitment to us has enabled the Hospice to be there for patients and families during those most challenging of times – and we know without their continued support, we simply couldn’t offer the excellent compassion, care and services that we do.”

The annual report is available on the Princess Alice Hospice website –

Iris’s short cut for Hospice charity - 17 September 2019

A little girl with a big heart has raised more than £2,000 for Princess Alice Hospice - by having her waist-length hair cut off
A cheque for £2070 from Iris Hayes

Iris Hayes, five, who lives in Walton, decided to raise money for the Hospice which cared for her grandma Wendy, who died at home earlier this summer.

Iris had already decided she wanted to have her hair cut like her mum Amber’s – a sleek bob – and donate her tresses to The Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes real hair wigs for children who lose theirs through illness.

Her brother Tom, seven, had heard that people did fundraising for the Hospice and mentioned it to his family.

Combining the hair donation with sponsorship, Iris’s efforts raised £2,070. Her hair was put into five foot-long plaits, then cut and styled into a bob, by Toni and Guy at Walton – who waived their fee for the occasion.

Amber said: “She wasn’t nervous at all – I think it was worse for me!

“People have been very generous with donations. It’s been really overwhelming.”

Iris has since visited the Hospice with Tom, Amber and grandad Lawrence.

They spoke of the family’s gratitude for the care given to Wendy.

“The nurses who came out to mum were incredible. Their kindness was on another level. They looked after us and made sure we were doing OK as a family too,” said Amber.

The first day back at Ashley Primary School, Iris turned heads with her new, sophisticated style.

She says her next fundraising event will be a marathon cycle ride with her dad Matt and Brother Tom – from London back to the family home in Walton. She’s hoping this will be her 2020 challenge.

Hospice rolls back the years - 17 September 2019

The clock was wound back 40 years or more at Princess Alice Hospice, in celebration of all things 1970s.
Hospice staff in 70s dress

The Esher-based charity Princess Alice Hospice returned the days of UK joining the Common Market, decimalisation, the first test-tube baby and the emergence of punk.

It was all in support of this year’s Remember A Charity Week (9th–15th September).

The Hospice was one of more than 200 charities taking part in a series of events around the UK, urging supporters to pass on something wonderful by leaving a gift in their Will, after they’ve taken care of friends and family.

There was a display of 1970s memorabilia, featuring clothing, household items, LPs, books and toys from the era; a special 1970s menu comprising chicken chasseur, minute steak, veg lasagne and a cold buffet with poached salmon, alongside the iconic cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks and prawn cocktail. Menus were designed with 70s stars adorning the pages.

Staff delved into their wardrobes – and the charity’s high street shops – to dig out 1970s fashions – flares, hippy gear, platform shoes and shades.

There was a 70s style film screening of the week’s promotional videos, with popcorn.

It was all with a serious purpose – to highlight the huge importance of legacies in funding the Hospice’s work.

The outstanding work of the Hospice has been made possible by gifts in Wills, with £5.1 million donated through Wills over the past year. That’s our biggest income stream –  50 per cent of the total £10.3 it takes to provide our free, high quality care.

Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman featured in the national campaign, along with a spoof version of “Points of View” the BBC TV viewers’ feedback programme.

Hospice Legacy, In Memory and High Value Partnerships Lead Alison Adams said: “We are delighted to be part of this year’s Remember A Charity Week, encouraging our supporters to pass on something wonderful to the next generation. Gifts in Wills are crucial to our charity’s work – both now and long into the future.”

If you have any legacy enquiries regarding Princess Alice Hospice, contact

Bridge Club invasion boosts Hospice charity funds - 17 September 2019

The usually sedate pastime of bridge isn’t usually associated with venue-hopping and fine dining - so a charity event in aid of Princess Alice Hospice was a remarkable experience in every way - including raising thousands of pounds
Richmond bridge club cheque for £7,163

The Richmond Bridge Club’s Café Bridge tournament saw 332 players take part in the UK’s biggest-ever such event – and the fourth in Richmond town centre.

With 83 tables spread across 15 restaurants in the picturesque riverside town, competitors were required to play four hands of bridge in 30 minutes, at each venue.

Organised with military precision, café bridge players all begin at their allocated start venue and make their way to the next venue and the next – six times in all.

At their third venue – wherever it happens to be among the 15 restaurants taking part – players order a two-course meal to enjoy before they play.

This year’s event then continued until around 4.30pm – when everyone converged on a riverside venue for prize-giving. A raffle for prizes including restaurant vouchers was held, along with prizes from the bridge club itself.

The Hospice’s Richmond Friends group joined the event by selling raffle tickets at the start in the town hall, and toured the variety of restaurants to raise more funds.

Venues taking part this year were Bills, Adesso, Chez Lindsay, Cote, Jackson & Rye, The Old Ship, Pizza Express, Thai Elephant, La Buvette, Sebastian’s, Buenos Aires Steak House, Don Fernandos, One Kew Road, The Duke & The Railway Tavern.

The café bridge event, along with a Swiss pairs event and supper bridge evening, raised a fantastic £7,163 for Princess Alice Hospice.

“The Hospice was the chosen charity this year because our previous long-serving club chairman Richard Millard was cared for at Princess Alice Hospice earlier this year,” said Lee Byram, who organises café bridge for the 1,070-strong club – the biggest in the UK.

For details of the club’s upcoming events – including an open day for anyone thinking of joining – visit

>>>> Richmond Friends of Princess Alice Hospice have been supporting the charity for nearly 30 years; they not only raise funds through their own full calendar of events such as jazz and opera nights, garden parties, curry nights and tennis tournaments – but have stalls and help out at Hospice events including the summer and Christmas fetes, Women Of Our Time and Towpath Trundle.

Our picture shows, from left, Nicky Kwolek, Lee Byram, John Hughes, Sue Cummings, Moira McKenna, Judy Baker, Mikkie Bianchi, Sally Grant and Marta Hughes


Abseilers face their fear for Hospice - 3 September 2019

Two women with very different lives are both facing the same scary challenge - with the aim of raising funds for charity.
Jennifer Benyon-Tinker, left and Kat Hanouskova

Retiree Jennifer Benyon-Tinker has worked in IT in various capacities, including many years in IT Career Placement. She also worked as a carer for people with learning difficulties, for four years.

Kat Hanouskova is a palliative care doctor at Princess Alice Hospice, the charity for whom the women are abseiling down the Broadgate Tower on September 15.

Jennifer has always tended to support charities linked to cancer – and first abseiled 20 years ago off the Fujitsu building in Bracknell, then in a Guinness World Record event at Twickenham Stadium in 2006, followed by Canary Wharf in 2007.

Kat is stepping off the 165-metre building for a challenge the like of which is completely unknown in her home country of Czech Republic, where she will return in two months’ time.

“People will maybe run a marathon for charity – but challenges such as this, or skydiving, are just not part of the culture,” she said. “It’s difficult getting the message across – just exactly what I’m doing – and why!” she added.

Jennifer’s motivation is to support the Hospice because of the care and support offered to people at the end of their lives, along with their families. She’s doing the challenge in memory of her close friend Nina, and as a tribute to her brother, Christopher Whitwell, who dies very unexpectedly in July.

Jennifer said: “In some respects it is often harder for the family and friends than the person with cancer and places like the Princess Alice Hospice allow people to die with dignity as well as offering the loved ones counselling and support.”

Kat, a mum of two young children, is facing the fear because she has so enjoyed working at the Hospice during the past year and wanted to mark that with something special.

She said: “One of the reasons I’ve decided to do this is that I really like the idea of this for me very ‘challenging challenge’ and feelings I have (and hopefully after I complete it) will be connected to Princess Alice forever.”

What the two women do have in common is their trepidation about the event.

On her Justgiving page, Jennifer said: “I am scared of heights and do not enjoy abseiling but feel I should do something that makes me face up to my fears. I hope the guys up the top don’t tell me not to look down or I might push them over the edge! Look down – don’t they realise that if I looked down I would stay at the top for ever?

“Who in their right mind would step off a building when they are that far off the ground?”

Kat did some abseiling and skydiving some years ago in the Antipodes and said: “I was always afraid of heights if I wasn’t attached to anything and I would say it is getting worse. I was always first on all sorts of rollercoasters but actually, not that much anymore.

“I have this completely mixed feeling about the abseil. I am very excited but petrified at the same time. Looking forward? Definitely. Worried that I will freeze – yes indeed!”

Both have a Justgiving page for anyone who’d like to sponsor them.

Success for first Hospice Summer School - 7 August 2019

“They started off very apprehensive about what a Hospice is . . . and by the end of the week had discovered that end of life care is not depressing and can be fun and uplifting.”
2 participants

So said one of the Princess Alice Hospice Summer School leaders in the wake of the first week-long course for young people at the Esher-based Hospice.

The Summer School programme is a City and Guilds course designed for students aged 16 to 19 who might be interested in a career in health or social care.

Successful completion of the week, which includes the compilation of a workbook, results in a City and Guilds Level 2 Award in End of Life Care.

During Summer School, 13 students had the opportunity to meet patients at the Hospice Wellbeing Centre and also various staff in clinical and non-clinical roles.

This first group particularly enjoyed the speed-networking event where they were able to interview nurses, doctors, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and social worker, about their work, the qualifications needed and the skills/attributes necessary for the job.

They learned about how to deliver care in a person-centred way and how to communicate sensitively with people who might have a life-limiting illness.

Inhibitions were shed as they brushed each others’ teeth, fed their partners jelly and juice, washed their hands and gave soothing hand massages.

The students met patients in the Wellbeing Centre, where people with life-limiting conditions can drop in to enjoy arts and crafts, active therapies, symptom management, future care planning and so on.

The students put into practice their new communication skills – being mindful to let the conversation be led by the patient, for example, asking open questions and actively listening – and being responsive to the patients’ comments about their illness or circumstances.

“They came up with some brilliant suggestions once they started to think about responding to sensitive or difficult questions,” said a session leader.

A session in the Hospice Man Shed went down well with students and shedders alike; the latter put together a team activity which they then coached the students in solving; then came more practical work in the form of building small electric motors.

Some of their comments before and after the course reflect the students’ preconceptions – and illustrate how the hands-on experience at the Hospice has had a strong, in some cases profound, effect on their understanding of end of life care.

They were asked: “What do you hope to learn?”

“Some important skills that can help with my later career.”

“How patients’ families feel about the Hospice’s care and how it has helped their loved one.”

Reflect on your expectation from day one – have these changed over the week and if so, how?

“At the start of the week I wasn’t too sure what to expect; however, it has proved to be very educational.”

How has attending the Summer School impacted on your career plans?

“I’ve always wanted a career in health care and more specifically as a doctor but I had never really considered specialising in end of life care as I thought it would be depressing; this experience has made me realise that it can be very rewarding and isn’t a depressing environment.”

“It had made me realise that I want to be a doctor more, because it opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of medicine.”

“I am now aware of more roles in health and social care and the different pathways people follow. It has made me realise I want to study nursing, to then gain different experiences before deciding which direction to go in.”

What have you learned from the Summer School?

“All the different roles involve in palliative care and health and social care in general.”

“About how to communicate effectively with patients, in a way that helps them remain calm.”

“We learned about palliative care, why it’s important, and the factors of a ‘good death’.”

“I really enjoyed the summer school as it was a fun experience that changed my perspective on death and dying and made me realise that caring for patients is so much more than physically helping them – and I hope to apply this when I become a doctor.

“A Hospice is not just a sad place where people die – it is a place where people with a life-limiting illness are comforted and taken care of so they have a happy death.

“I was surprised by how much the Hospice provides help for people in their own homes, such as fitting special equipment to make their lives easier – making a huge improvement to quality of life and helping them become more independent.”

“I learned that even with the illness they don’t see themselves as less than capable. One person I spoke with realised his limits and said that the Hospice really saved him, he spoke about the Man Shed and the social group.”

>>>>>>> The course was hosted by St. Christopher’s Hospice, a C&G registered centre, with Princess Alice Hospice acting as a satellite base.

Students came from Esher College, Kingston Grammar School, Heathside School in Weybridge and Southborough School, Surbiton.

Contact the Education Team to find out more: Email, telephone 01372 461 988 or visit

Families’ street party bonus for Hospice - 30 July 2019

The good vibes from a street party held in North London have been picked up miles away - thanks to a generous family who used the fun event to raise money for Princess Alice Hospice
2 people with a Princess Alice Hospice collecting bucket

Kim Smith and her family, from Epsom, joined the street party in Hornsey which has grown over the years to encompass residents and friends from many different communities.

Kim, her husband Admir and children Redian, 14 and Rejlinda,12, donned their Albanian national dress and danced to folk music – which was enthusiastically embraced by other families at the event.

“We also made food including honey cake and baklava,” said Kim. “It was a really great day which everyone enjoyed.”

The family raised £91.70 which they brought in to the Hospice. Kim explained that they decided to raise the money because they had learned about the Hospice from visiting the shop near their home in Epsom; they plan to support the Hospice with further fundraising events.

Mum’s two-for-one marathon challenge - 29 July 2019

Soon to be swapping the suburban streets and parks of Surrey for the heat, hardship and dunes of the Sahara is a mum with a mission
Sophie in the Hospice garden

Keen runner Sophie Rees already has many fundraising runs under her belt, including a number of marathons and half marathons – and is now aiming for an ultimate challenge: two events back to back over two days – in the extreme conditions of the Sahara Dessert.

She’s giving her utmost to raise £10,000 in memory of her close friend Charlotte Coleman-Smith, who was cared for by Princess Alice Hospice before she died last October.

Almost a year later, 47-year-old Sophie will be tackling stone paths and sand dunes during the two marathons in October – through the Draa Valley in Morocco.

Bedouin camping out in the desert, with limited facilities, Sophie admits she’s never done anything remotely similar before. She admits to be being excited but nervous with her biggest fear being the prospect of lurking scorpions: “I’ll make doubly sure I shake out my running shoes in the mornings!” she said.

She won’t be alone by any means – the Ultra Sahara Challenge group will be 250-strong overall. Sophie also has scores of people at home rooting for her – not least her husband Huw and son George, 12.

“They’ve got used to my schedule taking over sometimes – with my training runs fitting in around home life and work,” she said. “George joins me on some of the shorter runs – while Huw is in charge of  the logisitics,” she said. Part of her preparation includes 3 UK marathons during the course of the year and an Ultra event in September – 50k along the Thames from Fulham to Windsor.

Her progress is also being keenly followed by the staff and students at St Paul’s School, Barnes, where she is HR Director.

“I’ve had invaluable advice and support from the school sports coaches, regarding how to build my strength and stamina,” she said. She will be fitted with a tracker device, meaning she can be followed online throughout the events.

Her friendship with Charlotte was forged on the school run and social events surrounding their children and families. Charlotte’s three sons Joseph, Patrick and Charlie and husband James have also been raising funds for the hospice. James has commented: “We’re in awe of Sophie’s monumental efforts to raise funds in such a challenging way. We’re also deeply touched that she is doing it all in memory of dear Charlotte.”

Sophie’s fundraising for Princess Alice Hospice and Breast Cancer Now.

To sponsor Sophie visit

Race night an odds-on winner for Hospice - 29 July 2019

A group of parents hit on a winning streak when they organised a race night at a Whitton school - with Princess Alice Hospice reaping the rewards
Race for Coley Nelson Primary School presenting a cheque for £2,946.20 to the Hospice

The light-hearted evening of horse-racing, organised by a group of Nelson School parents, was held for the third year running – this time raising nearly £3,000 for the Esher-based charity.

This year’s event was in memory of their close friend, Sam Coley, a mum of two who died last year after a two-year battle with cancer.

The Princess Alice Hospice supported Sam and her family through her illness and continues to support her young boys.

Whitton businesses were extremely generous with donating raffle prizes which, along with a fish and chip supper, were enjoyed by more than 70 guests.

The grand total raised on the evening was £2,946.20, which was presented to the Hospice by Sam’s mum Mary and friends.

Mary said: “Princess Alice Hospice will always be close to our hearts for the help they gave us while Sam was with us during her illness – and now without her.

“They also gave me support to care for my Dad, whose wish was to die at home just like our daughter; with the help and support from the Hospice, his wish was made possible.

“The Hospice does a great job at supporting families and we will be forever grateful.”

Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Kerry Brown said: “We’re hugely grateful to Nelson Primary and everyone who helped raise this donation – the race night turned out a really enjoyable community event.

“We only get a fraction of our income from the NHS – and need to raise £9.9m every year to continue delivering outstanding care 24/7 across a huge area.

“Thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time and money.””

Photo: From left, Rachel Somers. Mary Coley, Emma Cazemage. Another organiser – Carolyn Fursse – couldn’t be there

Golfers take cue from snooker star for charity - 26 July 2019

A golf day organised by John Virgo - former professional snooker player, co-host of BBC’s Big Break, and commentator for BBC snooker coverage - has raised £3080 for Princess Alice Hospice
John Virgo and Rocky Taylor

Seven times world snooker champ Stephen Hendry and stuntman Rocky Taylor – the Cobham-based veteran of scores of movies – joined a fundraising day of golf at Hersham Golf Club.

The golf day – now in its seventh year – brings the overall total raised by the annual event, to more than £21,000.

The event is played as a four-ball Better Ball with the best two scores from the four players in each group counting; in all 124 golfers took part.

Along the way there were prizes for nearest the pin on three holes – and a VW car for a hole in one.

“There were a couple of heart-stopping moments for the sponsor – Lookers VW Walton – but it remained unclaimed!” said golf club manager Dean Mara.

John Virgo said after the event: “It’s always a pleasure to be able to help the Hospice with such an enjoyable event; it’s one of the highlights of the summer.

“From our regular visits to the Hospice itself, we appreciate the outstanding care and commitment of all the staff, in caring for people when they need it most.”

Claire Woodward, Princess Alice Senior Partnerships Fundraiser said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that John and Hersham Golf Club chose to support the Hospice with this marvellous golf day for a seventh year in a row.

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

John was especially grateful to sponsors Lookers VW Walton, Wilson Bet, Srixon, Fullers and Roche Bobois of Walton. A raffle on the day raised more than £1,000.

Our picture shows John Virgo, left, with Rocky Taylor and the “Hole In One” car

Cooking with confidence - 25 July 2019

Hospice helps novice cooks conquer the kitchen
Participants in the cooking course

Picking up cookery skills at a time when you’re finding it hard to cope is a daunting task.

Those who’ve been bereaved – or suddenly find themselves caring for someone – can find themselves with the dilemma of having to fend for themselves in the kitchen

Help is at hand at Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, where short, practical cookery classes are proving a lifeline to people who’ve never dabbled in the culinary arts.

Groups of nervous novices have been amazed and delighted to find they can turn out mouth-watering dishes including pies, pasta, fish dishes, curry and stir fries, in just four two-hour sessions.

Led by head chef Allan Barclay, the courses focus on building the class’s confidence through teaching basic techniques and recipes that can be adapted to a variety of dishes.

He said: “We show them how a simple pastry recipe can be used as the base for crumble topping, a sweet or savoury pie or a quiche, for example. A meat and tomato ragout can be used for bolognese, lasagne, or chilli con carne.”

Allan believes that confidence is the key to successful cookery; trial and error can teach a lot – and the results aren’t always a disaster.

Allan starts by asking the class what sort of dishes they’d like to master and goes on from there – introducing techniques, tips and advice on what to look for when food shopping.

Learning together is also beneficial for the class. They can work alongside each other, practising chopping, folding, rolling out, baking – and washing up!

It is hoped that at the end of the course the novices will have learned about food hygiene, know more about nutritional values in food and what a balanced diet looks like.  They will be able to buy and prepare fresh vegetables, know how to handle sharp utensils safely and how to use an oven and be able to prepare and cook a variety of meals.

The most recent intake – the second course – included Chris, who was very impressed with the experience.

He said: “Allan gave us confidence to try new things as well as to plan and manage our menus – we learned basic food hygiene, food handling and menu planning. I certainly benefited a lot.

“The time went so quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Sue found the food preparation and tips on nutrition the most useful.

“To be honest, it was all helpful – and I hope I can now achieve some good results!”

She also mentioned the professionalism of the coaching – while leaving room for some fun as well.

James was pleased to discover the variety of dishes that can be made by adapting the ingredients in different ways – and surprised himself with his ability to make pastry for the first time.

He said: “The numerous tips that Allan gave us were particularly useful – especially using the chopping knife!

“I was very pleased to do the course and found it very helpful. It has given me confidence for the future.”

Allan was pleased to report that the group had swapped telephone numbers and plan to meet up; the same happened on the first course, whose members had a get-together in the weeks following the course.

James said: “It was nice to get along so well with the other participants.”

A final mention for volunteers Lynne and Natalie, who encouraged the newbie cooks and whose extra tips and advice were most welcome.

Two further cookery courses are planned for the autumn; all on Thursday evenings from 5-7pm starting 5 September and 3 October. There are two spaces left on the first, and four on the second.

Contact Sally Holland via email –, or phone 01372 461996.

Big band’s birthday goes with a swing - 25 July 2019

Big band sounds filled the air alongside the mouth-watering aroma of barbecue food, when Ember Big Band celebrated its 10th birthday at the weekend
Ember Big Band playing

The bars and garden of Marney’s Village Inn in Weston Green were packed with families enjoying a sizzling time at the lunchtime gig.

The programme of showtunes, jazz and band classics kept the crowds entertained – and helped raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice.

A portion of the barbecue income was also added to the donation on the day.

The Ember Big Band is staging a special concert in support of the Hospice on Saturday, October 12 at The Hammond Theatre in Hampton.

Supported by dancers from Impact Dance Studios, the 20-strong band will play hits from movies and musical theatre, with Glenn Miller and Rat Pack tributes, some soul, funk and good old rock ‘n’ roll.

Ticket options include a VIP package comprising champagne reception with canapés, a popular choice that will turn the evening into a memorable occasion.

For tickets visit

Hospice Dove flies high in 3D artwork - 18 July 2019

A fascinating artwork comprising hundreds of charity pin badges, has been created by artist Efrosini Hobbs
The artwork depicting a bird in the sky

Taking almost three years to complete, the canvas depicts an eagle soaring into a star-filled sky above a dark forest. The eagle comprises bird pin badges, while star-shaped badges make up the constellation.

Prominent at the tip of the eagle’s leading wing is a Princess Alice Hospice dove badge in the charity’s distinctive pink.

One of three works on a theme, the canvas has taken a huge amount of effort from Efrosini, who is housebound due to a spinal condition, and also suffers fibromyalgia and Addison’s disease

Eltham-based Efrosini said: “I first had the idea in autumn 2016, to use charity pin badges to give my canvasses a 3-D effect, as I’d been collecting pin badges for years. I realised that an art project would give me something positive to focus on, to lift me out of my despair. And indeed, it has proved the best therapy for me!

“Every movement causes me pain and I am constantly fatigued,” she said

Efrosini has plans to write a book about the charities whose pin badges she has used.

“Every pin badge tells a story, especially when I look at the child-loss charities set up by bereaved parents, and these stories deserve to be told.

“With regard to the canvasses, I would love to get them exhibited once the remaining two are completed.”

Efrosini’s first canvas is titled Magnificent In Flight – Soaring Starwards.

Hare & Hounds play around for charity - 16 July 2019

A popular local pub has raised £1,740 for Princess Alice Hospice - from just one event of a number organised this year
Hare and Hounds staff presenting a cheque for £1,740 to the Hospice

Landlord Nick Stafford of the Hare and Hounds, Claygate, handed over a cheque at the village centre pub, proceeds of The Big Golf Day held at Surbiton Golf Club.

More than 60 players turned out for the golf, which started with coffee and bacon sandwiches and ended with drinks, games and a raffle at the pub. Many of them have connections to the Hospice, where family members and friends have been cared for.

The pub, well known for its live music, has a great community feel which is reflected in the regular events – most of which raise funds for charities.

The Hospice will benefit for the third year running, from the Battle Of The Bands planned for early January.

Gearing up for another golf day in September, Nick said: “Our events are all a great team effort – with support from the local football and cricket clubs, musicians and regulars willing to do their bit to make things a success – most particularly Gary Bownes, David Smith and Tony Shearman.”

Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Beth Sadler said: “The Hare and Hounds reflects the real heart of the community – and we’re so pleased they have thought of the Hospice at times of fun and celebration.

“Without this kind of freely-given support, the Hospice would not be able to continue providing outstanding services for so many people.”

Photo: Our picture shows landlord Nick Stafford and assistant manager Jo Kozak with the cheque

Stars come out for Hospice supporters - 12 July 2019

Guests were treated to a trip round numerous galaxies and an array of mind-boggling statistics about space, at a special event staged by Princess Alice Hospice
Nicki speaking at the event with the planetarium in the background

The night sky was brought down to Earth, courtesy of astrophysicist Dr Mark Galloway and his remarkable inflatable planetarium.

The event was put on to raise awareness of the Hospice’s Care Through The Night campaign which supports the Night Nurse service.

The prestigious venue for the planetarium was the Founders Dining Hall at Royal Holloway University, Egham – who generously gave the space for the evening and recruited Physics student ambassadors Catriona and Lizzie to assist.

Dr Galloway started with showing familiar constellations projected on the inside of the black dome, then moved on to share amazing facts and figures about the universe, current astrophysics research – and some ancient myths and legends related to the stars. A lively Q&A followed the presentation.

The audience also heard about the personal experiences of Hospice nurses Camilla and Sallyann – both from the Night Nursing team. They spoke movingly of their vocation as well as the touching, sad and sometimes uplifting moments they share with patients and their families in the hours of darkness.

From left, Nigel Seymour, Hospice Director of Fundraising, Marketing & Communication; Alison Adams, Hospice Partnerships Lead; Dr Mark Galloway; Nicki Shaw, Princess Alice Hospice Chief Executive and Fiona Ross, Chair of the Trustees at Princess Alice Hospice

“The setting could not have been better,” said one guest, while another commented: “The real stars of the night were Camilla and Sallyann.”

Hospice Partnerships Lead Alison Adams said: “I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet some of our supporters who feel particularly passionate about the care and support our Hospice provides through the night.

“Many of our guests support our Hospice in memory of a loved one; we rely more and more on the community’s support to ensure we are here for more people, when and where they need us most.

“This star-gazing event was a fabulous opportunity to say thank you and raise awareness of the difference their support can, and does make.”

From the 1930s–60s, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, was Chair of the Council (governing body) of Royal Holloway College

Triathletes’ tribute benefits Hospice funds - 10 July 2019

What started as a family tribute to a much-loved sister turned into a memorable event for neighbours, friends and colleagues - and raised more than £11,000 for Princess Alice Hospice

Rachel Smith was 44 when she died of cancer in November last year, leaving behind her husband, Graham, and three children under 12. She died in the Hospice after several years living with the condition.

Her sister Helen Marsh, pictured above, said: “The care she – and we all – received in the weeks she spent at the Hospice was exceptional.

“It was a heartbreaking and tragic thing to lose her, but was so much easier to bear because of the kindness and support shown to us by the Hospice.”

Always an active member of the community where her family lived near Oxford, and subsequently in New Malden, Rachel lived life to the full according to Helen.

So it was a fitting tribute for her loved ones to take on the challenge of the Blenheim Triathlon, which Rachel herself had conquered several times – even while suffering the effects of cancer and chemo treatment.

Rachel Smith


When Helen, a lawyer, announced earlier this year she was aiming to enter the Blenheim event, friends and family stepped forward to join her – including a few who had limited experience of the swimming, cycling and running involved.

Participants included fellow parents at Christchurch School, neighbours and friends made up a group of 20 or so entrants. Their training took over their lives from January until the event in June.

With two levels of competition, everyone found something they could aim for.

Among them, family friend and Christchurch French teacher Victoria Robinson and Helen’s neighbour Lucy Bond – another Christchurch teacher – supported each other throughout – finishing together on the day.

With everyone having enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie of the experience, which was followed by a picnic organised by Rachel and Helen’s mum Catherine, places for the 2020 triathlon are already booked.

Making Memories that last - 4 July 2019

A family run business that creates lasting memories in the form of plaster casts of hands, is supporting Princess Alice Hospice by donating 20% of their fees to the charity


Memory Makers create bespoke casts of families holding hands to use as wall decorations. Examples of several casts are on display in the Hospice reception in Esher and have proved to be popular with visitors and patients who are looking to create special memories of being together with loved ones.

One such family are Tracey and Kevin Clout who have just received their finished cast. Tracey said, “I’d like to say a huge thank you for making the cast for us. We both absolutely love it! The detail is amazing and so life-like! I shall treasure it forever! 

Thank you for making a donation to the Hospice. Every penny helps a very worthwhile place.”

With over 20 years experience in making keepsakes, Memory Makers gently capture every detail of the hands in soft alginate. It is then handmade in their workshop before being sent back to the family to treasure.

Corporate Partnership Fundraiser, Tim Iredale said, “We’re extremely grateful to Memory Makers for donating a portion of their fees. We love the casts, they’re beautiful. We hope more people will have their hands cast. It’s a lovely idea.”

Charity cyclists’ sizzling success - 4 July 2019

Nearly three dozen cyclists from an Ashford club battled through the hottest day ever in France en route for Paris - and raised around £14,000 for Princess Alice Hospice

Members of the Ocean Cycling club left the UK on Thursday last week, ending up in Paris Saturday afternoon – travelling during a record-breaking heatwave with temperatures hitting the 40s centigrade.

What started in 2015 as a small group of friends cycling to Paris for charity has mushroomed into the club’s biggest annual event – 303 miles from Esher to Paris in three days.

Ocean Cycling – set up by four dads keen on competing in various sports – now has many more members, 34 of whom saddled up for the trip to French capital.

One of the founder members, Matt Pegg, said he and the other original members – Gary Biddle, Mick Doig and Kevin Taylor – met when their children were at school and they started doing triathlons after a light-hearted challenge was thrown down.

The training and competing in triathlons became too time-consuming so the friends decided to concentrate on cycling. The inspiration to fundraise for the Hospice came via Matt’s wife Kathryn, who works there as a clinical administrator. Her mum Mary Gray had been cared for by the Hospice before she died 20 years ago.

More recently, Gary’s Dad Ronnie was cared for by the Hospice – and Gary rides with his Dad’s name on his cycling top.

This year’s endeavour saw the team accompanied by a back-up operation including motorcycle outrider and support vehicles taking care of medical and mechanical needs as well as refreshments.

“We also had the whole event filmed, to use for promotion as well as a memento for those taking part,” said Matt.

Fundraising this time round looks set to break the £60,000 target over the five years. The team’s Justgiving page shows how each member had fared with their individual appeals.

Hearing of the team’s triumph this week, Princess Alice Hospice, Community Partnerships and Events lead Claire Woodward said: “This has become a much-anticipated annual event here at the Hospice; it was really inspiring and exciting to see the Ocean team set off.

“Their tenacity and sheer hard work to finish the challenge is astonishing. We really appreciate their unwavering support and immense generosity.

“Their contributions to our fundraising appeals each year go a long way towards enabling us to deliver outstanding care across the community as well as here at Esher.”

Pictured is the team at the Arc de Triomphe, on their Facebook page


Skydive at 60 – a birthday breeze for Ray - 3 July 2019

Jumping from a plane at about 10,000 feet is an unusual birthday treat

For Ray Murphy, a business coach, it turned out to be one of the best things he’s ever done – now he’s keen to do more.

When his daughter Bee asked him to join a group of family and friends doing the skydive, he grabbed the chance – despite having previously had two heart attacks and a couple of operations.

The fundraising skydive for Princess Alice Hospice was inspired by the Esher-based Hospice’s outstanding end of life care for close family members and friends – notably Ray’s mother-in-law Dorothy Marola, known as Nanny Dot.

Bee said: “Princess Alice has been close to Dad’s heart and our entire family for many years.  Nanny Dot was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunty and the best friend you could wish for.

“She had Alzheimer’s which led on to Parkinson’s and a stroke which left her in a vegetative state. During this time we got a hospital bed, carers coming four times a day and constant general help from Princess Alice Hospice – who were absolutely fantastic!

“My mum Joanna was her carer for many years and the support she received from Princess Alice was like no other.

“Nanny Dot sadly passed away nine years ago after two years of struggling after the stroke. There are so many other close family relatives and friends who have unfortunately been very unwell but been so fortunate to have Princess Alice by their side throughout the hardest times for them and their family.

“After all of this my mum Joanna is now a senior health care assistant at Princess Alice Hospice.”

Joanna went along to watch her husband, daughter and son Alex do the skydive in the group with Bee’s fiancé Peter Piskov and friend Jana Pidimova.

“She was worried about us but still came along,” said Ray, who lives in Wallington.

Once back on terra firma, Ray said he’d not been too anxious about the tandem jump as he put his trust in his co-jumper – and he’d definitely recommend the experience to others.

And having raised £1,465 from his birthday treat, he’s now happy to look for further charity challenges.

Curious object sparks antiques expert’s interest - 12 June 2019

A battered stringed instrument handed in to a charity shop caught the eye of an Antiques Roadshow expert – and was snapped up by a collector of ethnic art

The wooden zither, embellished with a bird’s head and tail, turned up at the Princess Alice Hospice shop in Raynes Park, where manager Maureen Creely took a shine to it.

The instrument had been donated by a woman who was moving house.

“I thought it might be of value and decided to take it along to the BBC Antiques Roadshow when it came to Morden Hall Park,” she said.

“I was directed towards Lars Tharp, who looked at it and said ‘Wow!’ – and people started crowding round,” she said.

Lars declared it to be a tribal zither, made for export but of unknown origin.

“He plucked the strings and it made a lovely sound – like the signature tune from Tales Of The Unexpected!” said Maureen.

Although the zither was not chosen to feature on the BBC TV show, Maureen took it back to the shop and placed it on sale with an £85 price tag based on Lars’s valuation.

“I popped out from the shop for a few minutes and when I returned, it was gone!” said Maureen.

The staff said the zither had been snapped up by one of the shop’s regular customers, Brian Watson, who is an avid collector of ethnic art.

Brian was delighted with his purchase, which he identified as probably Burmese, around 200 years old.

“It has a lovely sound,” he said. “I originally spotted it a while ago and realised it was a zither – and this time I visited the shop I decided to buy it.”

He has added it to his extensive collection, accrued over the years as a result of his global travels.

Our picture shows Brian Watson with the zither, along with Hospice shop manager Maureen Creely

Fun in the sun at summer fete - 12 June 2019

Well over 1,000 people and scores of dogs enjoyed a host of activities and entertainment at Sunday’s fete at Princess Alice Hospice
2 children at the summer fete

The sun stayed bright throughout the annual event, which raised well over £12,500 for the charity.

Stallholders reported boosted figures over previous years – with attractions including giant Whack-a-Mole, novelty dog show, Pimms and gin stalls, arts and crafts, bottle tombola, children’s driving track – all accompanied by live music throughout the afternoon.

Displays by Morris Men, circus skills and martial arts entertained the families, with the highlight being a Princess Parade featuring princesses of various kinds competing in various categories.

“Everyone had a brilliant time – we were so lucky with the weather, it gave the whole day a really summery feel,” said fete organiser Kerry Brown, one of the Hospice’s Partnerships Fundraisers.

“The huge success of the day was down to everyone who contributed – from sponsors who gave money and prizes, to the stallholders, staff, Friends and volunteers who worked together to get everything up and running – and of course the fantastic visitors from miles around, who turned out in record numbers to support us.

“Without their generous donations the Hospice could not continue to deliver its outstanding care services across the community.”

Care home walkers step out for Hospice funds - 11 June 2019

A small band of walkers staged their own charity event when they couldn’t take part in the popular annual Towpath Trundle for Princess Alice Hospice
Ashton Lodge cheque for £1,200 for Princess Alice Hospice

As it was impractical to make the trip to Walton, a dozen or so family members and staff from Ashton Lodge Nursing Home in Sunbury donned their trainers and set off on a 4.75-mile circular walk of their own – from the nursing home, taking in a section of the Thames riverside at Lower Sunbury.

Between them they raised an impressive £1,200 – which was presented to the Esher-based Hospice by staff members when they called by.

“We did the walk on the day of the Towpath Trundle – May 19,” said Ashton Lodge Activities Co-ordinator Jacqui Rivers. “There weren’t many of us, but people donated really generously – including one family who raised £450 between them.”

Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Beth Sadler said: “We were touched to hear that Ashton Lodge marked the Towpath Trundle with their own event – it’s a novel way of taking part!

“They did amazingly well to raise so much – which will go towards maintaining our outstanding services both at the Hospice an across our care area.”

Ashton Lodge, in Spelthorne Grove, Sunbury, cares for around 100 residents.

Anyone wishing to organise their own fundraising event for Princess Alice Hospice can get advice from our supporter care team on 01372 461808 or by emailing

Our photo shows from left, Ashton Lodge Clinical Lead Sharon Izzard; Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Beth Sadler and Ashton Lodge Activity Co-ordinator Jacqui Rivers with the donation

Pupils’ PJ Push piles on the pounds for Hospice - 11 June 2019

Hundreds of charitable children turned up at school in their pyjamas – and were greeted by the head teacher and staff wearing theirs as well!
St Martin's school pupils in PJs


Pupils at St Martin’s Primary, Dorking, joined the PJ Push for Princess Alice Hospice – with their teachers joining the fun on a lovely sunny day.

Organised by the School Council in support of the Hospice’s Care Through The Night appeal, the event raised a fantastic £334 by charging everyone £1 to wear their PJs all day.

St Martin’s head teacher Jane Gorecka said: “What a fabulous way of raising awareness for such a great charity!

“The children had a wonderful day and loved being in their pyjamas.”

The PJ Push raises money to go towards the Hospice’s night nursing team who provide end of life care in people’s homes. They operate a sitting service and 24-hour emergency response. Wearing pyjamas and donating £1 is a way of recognising this invaluable service and the dedication of the people who undertake the work every night of the year.

Angela Grimes, Deputy Director of Fundraising at the Hospice, said: “The children’s wonderful effort and very welcome donation came as a lovely surprise – they organised it themselves, and it shows how a fun idea can turn into something really valuable once people all join in.

“Our thanks go to everyone at the school for taking part with enthusiasm – it means a great deal to Princess Alice Hospice that the community values our services and will do something positive to support us.”

Anyone wishing to organise a PJ Push or other event can get advice from our supporter care team on 01372 461808 or by emailing

Hospice summer fete set to be a scorcher! - 28 May 2019

With highlights including live music, novelty dog show, martial arts, fun sideshows and tempting food and drink, the Princess Alice Hospice Summer Fete on Sunday 9 June is the place to be
Hospice garden with summer fete underway

New this year is a Princess Parade like no other – where entrants of all shapes and sizes will be invited to dress up as their favourite princess, be they real or fantasy, prim or powerful – think Snow White through to Princess Leia. We welcome Princesses of all genders and ages.

The annual fete is a wonderful way to spend a summer Sunday.
Held in the beautiful landscaped grounds of the Hospice on West End Lane, Esher, the fete is a family occasion with something for everyone.

A relaxed and friendly atmosphere prevails and the fete helps to raise vital funds for the Hospice. The day is always popular with the wider local community, so come along and see for yourself!
It runs from 11am to 4pm – plenty of time to enjoy lunch and teatime in the beautiful garden
Musicians, bands and performers will provide entertainment throughout the afternoon – along with Morris dancing, facepainting, food stalls, amazing raffle, a gin and prosecco bar and Pimms, circus skills, and a hilarious giant whack-a-mole alongside plant sale and lots of other assorted stalls including – clothes, art, gifts, books, cards and fun games stalls.

Women challenge themselves to support Hospice - 28 May 2019

Two women a world apart are challenging themselves with the same aim – to support the Princess Alice Hospice which cared for a loved one in their final days.

One is a GP whose path to endurance events started with a wish to “do something brave”; the other a counsellor who is returning to her birthplace to fulfil a personal challenge.
Rachel Edwards, 30, hails from Staines but is now living in New Zealand, where alongside her role as a doctor, she is immersed in training for the World Half Iron Man championships this autumn.

Meanwhile Amanda Sives is a Wirral-based mum of one who feels an overwhelming urge to return to her childhood home in the Hebrides for a half-Marathon to mark her 50th birthday.

Rachel is competing in memory of her beloved dad, while Amanda is running in memory of her cousin’s wife.
Each woman has a different view of what has motivated them, and how they find their journey.
Rachel says: “If something seems like it’s going to be difficult or near impossible, it probably is, but all the more reason to have a go at tackling it.” She has raised more than £8,000 for the Hospice to date.
Amanda reflects: “The trivial worries of everyday life are robbed of their power over me by the peace I feel in the silence and stillness of the natural landscape.”
Both are inviting sponsorship of their efforts – and you can read their inspiring stories on the Princess Alice Hospice Fundraiser web page:
Amanda’s story:
Rachel’s story:
Over the past three years, in excess of 15,000 miles has been run by 4,000 people, to raise funds for the Hospice.

Fair’s fares for Hospice funds - 17 May 2019

Hundreds of people enjoyed some traditional springtime fun over the Easter break – and gave a local charity a boost at the same time
A giant cheque for £2000 made out to Princess Alice Hospice

A special charity day at Hampton Court Green funfair raised a whopping £2,000 for Princess Alice Hospice – the profits from a rides discount wristband scheme.
Funfair boss George Irvin, who has regularly supported the Hospice for the past few years, said he was a keen supporter of local charities wherever the funfairs visit – with the Hospice being a cause close to his heart, and one he admires.
This week, the donation was handed over at the Hospice, where Partnerships Fundraiser Beth Sadler said: “The funfair charity day is a really good idea – people can have fun and donate at the same time – and it means traditional entertainment like the bank holiday fair, is supported by families in our area.
“Generous donations like this mean the Hospice continue to provide outstanding care to our patients in the Hospice and out in the community.”

Photo shows – Shane Clark from Irvin Leisure hands over the cheque to Hospice Partnerships Fundraiser Beth Sadler

Penguins p-p-p-pass on the pounds - 16 May 2019

A group of fundraisers with the shared aim of combatting cancer, have made a £5,000 grant to Princess Alice Hospice – raised through a variety of activities
A giant cheque for £5000 made out to Princess Alice Hospice

Penguins Against Cancer is a charity whose founders were drawn from Guy’s Hospital Penguins – the oldest team in the oldest rugby club in the world. Nowadays its members come from a wide range of professions and backgrounds – but with the common aim of raising awareness of cancer and supporting cancer research, cancer treatment and hospices.
“We’re aiming to raise £1m in order to make a significant contribution to the fight against cancer,” said Penguins Against Cancer founder member and trustee Geraint Thomason, who works in IT and is a guest player of the Penguins rugby team which comprises mainly doctors and dentists connected to Guy’s Hospital.
The Penguins decided to make a grant to Princess Alice Hospice thanks to Geraint’s wife, Sian, who works at the Hospice as a bereavement support volunteer. She was previously an oncology nurse who trained at Guy’s – which is where she and Geraint met.
The Penguins’ grants are provided via nominations by members, many of whom have had loved ones who’ve suffered with cancer.
Geraint said: “This approach enables support to be targeted to particular individuals and organisations and makes the process of staging events to raise money personal, vivid and special.
“The events are designed to be both altruistic and fun – celebrating achievements rather than mourning loss, so rugby, cricket and golf feature frequently,” he said “The fixtures are followed by fundraising dinners with auctions, entertainment and raffles.”
100% of the money raised is passed on as grants; all Penguins’ representatives are unpaid volunteers with any expenses being paid from their own pockets.

Nigel Seymour, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communication at Princess Alice Hospice, said: “The determination of Penguins Against Cancer to reach their £1m goal is quite inspirational, and we are both pleased and honoured to be a recipient of their wonderful fundraising efforts.
“We rely very heavily on voluntary contributions to continue providing outstanding care in the Hospice and across the community – so the Penguins’ grant will be put to good use immediately, helping patients and families at a very difficult time in their lives.”

Photo shows: From left, Sian Thomason, Hospice Bereavement Support Volunteer; Geraint Thomason; Hospice Deputy Director of Fundraising Angela Grimes

Dying Matters Week 2019: Recommended Ted Talks, podcasts and short films - 14 May 2019

As part of Dying Matters Week 2019, our librarian Celia has reviewed the support materials that are available for people dealing with death and dying, and has come up with her Top 5 lists.
Dying Matters graphic - Are We Ready? Awareness week: 13-19 May 2019

5 TED talks

Dr. Leslie Blackhall: Living, Dying and the Problem with Hope

Dr. Leslie Blackhall, head of Palliative Care at the University of Virginia, believes that accepting dying as a part of life allows us to achieve a fuller and richer life with the days that we live.

Ken Hillman: We’re Doing Dying All Wrong

As a world leader in managing the care of very sick people, Ken Hillman’s breakthrough methods of treating critically ill patients have become the gold standard in Australia, the U.S. and Europe. His job is about keeping people alive, but he asks us to question whether that’s always a good thing.

Judy MacDonald Johnston: Prepare for a good end of life

Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares five practices for planning for a good end of life.

Rochelle Martin: Let’s Talk About Death

There is a ‘Momentum’ going on with all of us, with every breath, we are moving closer to our end.

Mark Taubert: TED Talk: Why Language Matters When You Know You’re Dying

Four topics about the end of life with Mark Taubert, a hospice doctor.


5 podcasts

BBC: You, me and the big C: Putting the can in cancer

“The coolest club you never want to be a part of…”

A candid look at cancer, with Rachael Bland, Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.

BBC: We need to talk about death

Joan Bakewell and her panel discuss death and dying, exploring the choices open to us and confronting the questions we fear the most.

St Mary’s University: The art of dying well

These monthly programmes aim to make death and dying something you can talk about openly without discomfort or fear. A guest is interviewed each month on a key topic.

Dying Matters Podcast

Relevant to people that are bereaved, have a family member who’s approaching the end of life, want to support a friend, or just want to know how to start the conversation around death and dying.


Jeremie, Brian, and Taylor have an unapologetic, unpolished and unfiltered discussion about what it’s like to live life with a life-threatening disease.


5 short films

How easy do people find it to talk about dying? (Dying Matters)

Dying Matters took to the streets to discover just how comfortable members of the public are with discussing dying and death, and whether they want a national conversation about death and dying.

Let’s talk about death and dying (Age UK)

It’s difficult to talk about death and dying but we need to talk to make informed choices.

Kathryn Mannix : What is death like? (The Art of Dying Well)

Dr Kathryn Mannix, palliative care consultant and author of ‘With The End in Mind’ talks to journalist Nicola Meyrick about what death is like.

I Didn’t Want That (Dying Matters)

A carefully crafted short film which highlights the importance of making your end of life wishes clear: from deciding whether you wish to be resuscitated to planning your funeral.

How to Live and Die Well (University of Edinburgh)

This short video is for everyone. It’s for people who are well just now, but may get a serious illness or life-threatening condition in the future. For people who are currently living with progressive illness and for family members and carers of those who are ill or may become ill.



Dying Matters; Are we ready? - 10 May 2019

Princess Alice Hospice is championing an annual national awareness campaign which aims to open up the conversation about dying, death and bereavement
A selection of retro items and 'What would you like your legacy to be?'

The theme of this year’s Dying Matters Week – from 13 to 19 May – is “Are we ready?”, focussing on whether we have thought about our own death or that of a loved one.
All are welcome at the week’s events and activities being organised by the Hospice and partners, who include Kingston Hospital and Poppy’s Funerals.
Zoe Byrne, Deputy Director, Community Engagement at the Hospice, said: “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.”
Dying Matters week events at the Hospice include a talk by Victoria Mellor from Poppy’s Funerals – Busting The Myths About Funerals, 2-3pm, Monday 13 May. All are welcome.

Tea and cakes are on offer for visitors to the Death Café in Kingston Hospital (Lecture theatre 2, Education centre) on Thursday 16 May, 10.30 – 11.45am. Come along and chat about the last taboo. The objective of a death café is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives. Everyone is welcome – RSVP to Paula Lyons at
The evening of 16 May sees a “Dead Or Alive” quiz night at the Barley Mow, Hersham, starting 7.30pm. The quiz master will be asking 40 “deadly” questions, which will include a music and picture round. Teams should ideally be of six people, £2 per person to join in. Prizes to be won – including £50 bar tab voucher! For further information, contact Helen Sergeant on 01372 468811 ext 836 or just turn up on the night.

The Hospice’s “Before I Die I Want To………” board will be at several venues during the week, including Chestnut Sunday (12 May) in Bushy Park; Kingston Hospital reception (15 May); Epsom Hospital outside Costa Coffee (16 May); Kingston Hospital canteen (17 May), Towpath Trundle at Sadlers Ride, West Molesey (19 May). Members of the public are invited to fill in a card expressing wishes and dreams they would like to fulfil before they die.

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

For details of the national week – visit

Garden centre gifts help Hospice plot get growing - 7 May 2019

Generous bosses at Longacres Nursery gave a springtime boost to the new community allotment set up by Princess Alice Hospice
Gardening tools and seeds being donated by garden centre staff

Sets of forks and spades, handtools, gloves and seeds were handed over – along with a nifty tool-shed to store everything.

The allotment, opposite The Clumps in Ashford, is a project launched by Princess Alice Hospice, aimed at those living with life limiting illness, their carers or recently bereaved and is designed to bring those people together to work on the land and benefit from the healthy produce grown there. The allotment is open to those who would just like some fresh air, a cup of tea and a well-deserved chat.

Hospice Compassionate Communities Lead, Mia Patterson, said: ’We all know that being outside has many health benefits and we hope that the allotment will bring these people together, those who might not otherwise get many visitors, and give them the chance to do some digging or get some air, or maybe both.”
There’s a weekly drop-in session, 10am to noon on Saturdays, for anyone wishing to visit the allotment, where they can help maintain the plot, grow fruit and veg and share a cuppa with the other allotmenteers. Additional midweek sessions are planned.

Accepting the donation from Longacres at Bagshot, Mia Patterson said: “We’re extremely grateful to Longacres for responding to our plea for allotment tools and equipment in such a generous way.

“The work is coming on very well, with beds and troughs for raising vegetables already planted up by the enthusiastic volunteers and visitors. The project is making such a difference by enabling people to spend time in the open air, with a purpose and, if they wish, good company.”

Nigel Long, Managing Director from Longacres Garden Centres said “We are proud to support our community and donating products for worthy causes such as Princess Alice Hospice allotment is one way for us to continue to do so and make a positive difference in our community.
“We hope the products donated to the allotment bring joy and we are looking forward to seeing the produce grown.”

Our photo shows Jade and Jack from Longacres Nursery helping Mia Patterson load up the donated gardening equipment.

Walk veteran Betsy steps out for Hospice – again - 7 May 2019

A keen fundraising youngster who has taken part in a Princess Alice Hospice family fun event every year since she was born, is once again stepping out surrounded by relatives
A child

Betsy Stewart – who will reach the grand age of five two days before this year’s Towpath Trundle on 19 May – has joined the walk every year alongside a group of relatives and friends – dubbed Huckerby’s Heroes – which has on one occasion numbered 184 walkers.
Her proud nana, Sylvia Lepperd, explained that their family have been keen participants in the annual event since 1997 and Betsy’s arrival at 10am on the morning of the 2014 walk was only just enough to deter her mum, Diane, from taking part.
Betsy said she loves playing with her cousins and going for walks on sunny days – until her feet get a bit hot, which she doesn’t like. Her nana likes walking along the river and talking to people, she said.
Sylvia explained that the traditional family turnout to raise funds for the Hospice was inspired by the care and compassion shown to her sister Maureen Huckerby, who lived in Ashford and was cared for over a number of years by the Hospice before she died there in 2004.
Sylvia said: “Maureen was such a well-loved person – a mum, sister, auntie and friend to so many people. When she was ill she attended the day services at Princess Alice Hospice, had regular respite care there over the years, until being admitted for the last period of her life.”
Their brother John died the following year at Teddington Memorial Hospital, under the Hospice outreach care service.
“The outstanding nursing care, and compassion shown to Maureen – and to us as her family – meant so much. We decided to give back whatever we can to the Hospice to enable others to benefit when they, too face really difficult times like we did.”
Each year the Towpath Trundle sees siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, older and younger generations of the family come together from all over the country to walk the Thames Path and enjoy a get-together at Hurst Park.
They all walk the four miles from Walton Bridge to Hurst Park, take a break for picnics and games, then set off again along the way they came. This year up to 60 people are expected to sign up.
“For a few years after Maureen’s death we attended the annual winter Light Up A Life ceremony at the Hospice itself, but have since moved our family commemoration to Whitton,” said Sylvia. “It’s another family reunion, where we light candles and have a meal together in memory of loved ones.

Hospice all decked out with new furniture gift - 1 May 2019

Hospice patients and their visitors can relax in comfort in the sunshine this summer, thanks to the generosity of a local contractor
Someone sitting on new garden furniture

A donation of £6,400 from the Outdoor Deck Company Ltd has enabled Princess Alice Hospice in Esher to buy furniture for the new decking area created around the Hospice waterside.
The Outdoor Deck Company had been commissioned to remove the existing decking structure that surrounds the Hospice and replace it with a new eco-friendly 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.
Mike Wilderink, Managing Director of the Outdoor Deck Company Ltd of Teddington, 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.”
Martin Osborn, Hospice Facilities Manager, said: “We were already pleased and impressed with the new decking, which provides our patients and visitors in the front and west-facing rooms with a relaxing and peaceful outdoor space.
“Mike’s generous donation has been used to buy new comfortable Rattan outdoor furniture, which is both attractive and weatherproof – it’s ideal.”
Our photo shows Hospice Partnership Fundraiser Beth Sadler trying out the new furniture in the sunshine

Tough guy Tim takes on triathlons for Hospice funds - 1 May 2019

Inspired by the generosity of friends and family sponsoring his efforts, one Princess Alice Hospice fundraiser has plunged into a programme of running, swimming and cycling – as well as endurance events which test participants to extremes of physical and mental effort
Tim in front of the Princess Alice Hospice Giving Dove

Tim Alexander says he is determined to continue, inspired by the care his dad received at the Hospice and at home, before he died in June 2017.
“I’m also doing this as encouragement to others,” he said. “I can’t speak highly enough of the fantastic treatment my dad Chris received at what was a very, very difficult time.”
Tim lives in Hertford where he trains a couple of times a week for the triathlons and Tough Guy events, which have so far seen him fundraise via triathlons in Windsor and Woburn – with four more lined up this summer.
“The Tough Guy event in Wolverhampton in January was by far the toughest I’ve ever completed; I learned more about myself in three hours than in the 47 years I’ve been on this planet!” he said.

With dad Chris being a keen runner in his time, Tim and his brother Giles enjoy keeping fit and taking part in competitive events. Tim even took part in the Hospice Santa Fun Run in full Santa costume – and has joined a Parkrun in between times.
His JustGiving page shows he has beaten his £1,000 target – so he has extended the deadline for another month, such is his wish to raise as much as possible for the Hospice.
He said: “You want to do the best for your parents, and Princess Alice Hospice enabled Dad to be cared for at home for three months as well as at the Hospice itself.
“They enabled the end of his life to be dignified and peaceful, for which we are so grateful.”

It’s the fund of the fair! - 17 April 2019

Enjoy all the thrills and spills of a traditional Bank Holiday funfair and help boost donations for Princess Alice Hospice
Funfair staff with Hospice staff

The Hampton Court Funfair will hold its special Charity Tuesday next week (23 April) – when visitors pay £2 for a discount wristband that enables them to enjoy the rides for £1.
The wristbands profits – around £2,000 each year – go direct to Princess Alice Hospice, to enable us to continue providing outstanding care to patients in the Hospice and in the community.
Fair owner George Irvin is a great supporter of the Hospice and has run the special charity day for several years.
This week he welcomed Hospice community nursing staff Nina Kale and Heather Syddall to see the fair setting up on Hampton Court Green.
The fair opens Good Friday and runs until Tuesday – noon til 11pm each day.
Our picture shows from left, George Irvin, Nina Kale, Hospice partnerships fundraiser Beth Sadler and fairground staff

Small change, big difference - 12 April 2019

A simple fundraising challenge for young and old alike is being launched by Princess Alice Hospice – and it only takes pennies to take part
school pupils with decorated jam jars

Join the Jam Jar Challenge and raise much-needed funds to enable the Hospice to continue providing outstanding care to hundreds of people every year.
With the help of your spare change we are hoping to raise £20,000 –– so we can employ a full-time nurse to care for patients and their families at a time when they need our support most.
“If everyone in the Hospice care area gave just 2p, we would hit that target in one go,” said Angela Grimes, Deputy Director of Fundraising. “It just goes to show how the pennies add up – and the Hospice pledges to use all of these funds for frontline care across the community and in our in-patient unit.”
All you do is
• find an empty jar with a lid – needn’t be jam, could be marmalade, or mayonnaise – or even pickled onions!
• If you wish to, decorate it with stickers, glass paint, paper and glue, glitter – but it’s not necessary to decorate your jar to take part
• Visit to print off your special label and start collecting!
• Fill the jar with coins of all sizes – encourage everyone to give their small change. Grown-ups often empty their pockets of loose change when changing out of work clothes; children can ask for a few coppers every day – and the jar will soon be full. Or put a jar by the watercooler at work, where people will see it.
• When the jar’s full, empty it out, count the cash and pay it in to the Jam Jar Challenge account – see page
• Start again with a new jar – or have a family or office challenge with a jar each.
If you don’t have a printer contact with your name and address and we can post you some labels.
You can tweet your jam jar pictures to @PAHospice #jamjarchallenge – best decorated jar will win a prize!
STOP PRESS: If you have no spare jam jars – pop in to the Princess Alice Hospice summer fete on Sunday June 9 – where there will be a Jazzy Jam Jar stall where you can decorate a jar and take it home with you.
Photo: Children at St Charles Borromeo School, Weybridge, with their decorated jars. From left, Conrad, Gabi, Izzy, Oscar and Lauren-Rose

Great-grandma Tam, 89, to tackle tower abseil challenge - 5 April 2019

A daredevil great-grandma is gearing up to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth – to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice alongside her daughter and granddaughter
Maxine and Tam

Tam Thompson – who has three children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren – will be the oldest person ever to do the abseil for the Hospice. She turns 90 just after the event on 20 April.

Tam, whose daily routine includes tai chi, pilates, aerobics and walking her Alsatian dog near her home in Tunbridge Wells, decided to hit the heights after the death of her husband of 66 years, Michael, in January.

Her daughter, Maxine Thompson of Shepperton, said her mum was not always so adventurous but has developed a taste for numerous activities and adventures in later life.

“Mum and Dad met when they were 13,” said Maxine, “and up until her 60s she was quite a typical Mum – looking after the family and content to stay at home,” said Maxine. “Then, she suddenly took off on an Outward Bound expedition to the Lake District and hasn’t looked back since!”

The two women are aiming to do the abseil on April 20 at the iconic tower in Portsmouth, accompanied by Maxine’s niece Megan Stapely, 31, who has previously undertaken bungee jumps for charity.

Maxine had originally planned to do an abseil for the Hospice after her husband, Mark, died in 2014. He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and was cared for by the Hospice. The couple married just before he died.

Maxine has undertaken other fundraising activities since – including a 5k run, music gig and various cake sales.

The trio have a Just Giving page on which they dub themselves The Generation Girls – and are aiming for a target of £750 between them.

Maxine said: “We are excited and nervous to do this abseil challenge but are keen to do something memorable to raise money for the hospice, to make a
difference and take home some incredible memories!”

Our photo shows Maxine, left, and Tam Thompson all set for the abseil

Penny raises pounds on PJ Push for Hospice - 5 April 2019

An entire day spent wearing pyjamas paid dividends for Princess Alice Hospice – thanks to the dedication of fundraiser Penny Roche
Kathy and Penny

Penny, of Englefield Green, took up the Hospice’s PJ Push challenge in support of the night nursing team who provide end of life care in people’s homes across Surrey.

A former nurse herself, Penny donned her jimjams and went about her usual activities – including doing a bit of paperwork at All Saints Church, Dedworth; attending a French class in Windsor; taking her granddaughter (also called Penny) to a swimming lesson at Windsor; filling up the car with petrol and doing the shopping. She collected donations along the way and three-year-old Penny also joined her grandma for a while.

Penny was motivated to raise funds for the Hospice Care Through The Night campaign when she heard about the PJ Push at a meeting of Egham Nightingirls Women’s Institute (WI).

Kathy Croft of Paws Boarding Cattery, Stanwell Moor, kicked off her fellow WI members’ interest the previous month, when she featured in the Hospice publicity campaign. At their recent meeting most of the 40 members present wore their pyjamas – bringing the total raised to £101.

Penny said: “I’ve been a nurse all my working life, as has my cousin – and between us we have been able to nurse our senior family members at home, at the end of their lives.

“We know first-hand how difficult it is to care for someone at night in these circumstances – it’s the longest, hardest – and saddest – time.

“Having someone there to ease the burden is immensely helpful – and that’s why I support the Hospice Care Through The Night campaign.”

To find out more about how the funding supports the work of the night nurse service, visit

Our photo shows Penny, right, with fellow WI member Kathy Croft, left

Get set for family fun on the Towpath Trundle! - 3 April 2019

Smurfs, stormtroopers, Peppa Pig and numerous Wallies are just a few of the characters who have stepped out in a good cause on the annual Towpath Trundle for Princess Alice Hospice
Hospice staff with a sign post pointing to Thames Path, Hurst Park, and Walton Bridge

This year’s walk – along the Thames between Hurst Park, Molesey and Walton Bridge, offers families and friends a fun day out as well as the chance to raise vital funds to enable the Hospice to continue providing outstanding care.

The Towpath Trundle was launched in 1992, a year which saw plans for Heathrow’s terminal 5 first unveiled and the Queen celebrated her Ruby Jubilee.

Setting off from 11am on Sunday May 19, trundlers have the option of a picturesque four-mile or eight-mile level route, rounded off with refreshments and entertainment at the main start/finish area.

Fancy dress for everyone is definitely encouraged – including dogs, who are especially welcome on the trundle. There will be prizes for team sizes and fundraising efforts – and everyone gets a medal for taking part.

At Hurst Park there will be plenty of entertainment and things to see and do, until the event winds up around 4pm. Bring a picnic or treat yourself to something on the food stalls.

There’s an Early Bird entry offer of £7.50 for adults – up to Wednesday 17 April, then £10 thereafter or on the day. Under-fives are free, and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.

“We are really looking forward to this – our 27th – Towpath Trundle; it promises to be great fun for everyone,” said Hospice Partnership Fundraiser Beth Sadler. “As a way of fundraising for such a good cause, it’s also a chance for families and friends of all ages to take on a joint challenge.”

A new feature for this year is a bespoke JustGiving landing page which will include details of the event. It means supporters have the option to choose whether they wish to fundraise or donate as part of their sign-up process. Visit

  • Anyone wishing to run their own stall – be it food, facepainting, arts and crafts, jewellery, sideshows, antique and bric-a-brac – is welcome to apply for a pitch. Contact Beth Sadler on 01372 461869
  • If you would like to volunteer at the Towpath trundle – registration and marshalling – contact

Allotting time to care - 25 March 2019

Isolated residents in Ashford will soon have the opportunity to grow vegetables as well as friendships, harvest fruit or simply sit in the spring sunshine due to a new allotment scheme.
The allotment

The scheme, launched by Princess Alice Hospice, is aimed at those living with life limiting illness, are carers or are recently bereaved and is designed to bring those people together to work on the land and benefit from the healthy produce grown there.

The allotment will also be open to those who would just like some fresh air, a cup of tea and a well deserved chat.

Community Engagement Officer at the Hospice Mia Patterson said: ’We all know that being outside has many health benefits and we hope that the allotment will bring these people together, those who might not otherwise get many visitors, and give them the chance to do some digging or get some air, or maybe both’

The launch takes place on Saturday 30th March at 10am to 12pm at The Clumps Ashford, Feltham Road, TW15 1AT and will continue to run every Saturday at the same time.

Anyone who can spare some time and expertise, and who would like to volunteer to support the scheme and your local Hospice, should contact Mia Patterson on or 01372 461958.

Specialist skills give rise to tempting treats - 22 March 2019

Skill, science and creative energy have been combined to produce an amazing range of foods to tempt patients who cannot eat everyday meals – in an industry-leading initiative at Princess Alice Hospice
A range of foods

The importance of serving nutritious food to poorly patients is acknowledged as one of the foundations of holistic healthcare; acknowledging the value of food and drink in maintaining health and wellbeing.

But when you have swallowing difficulties – which is a common symptom of many serious illnesses – food served up as puree has until recently done little to encourage patients to eat due to its unappetising appearance.

At Princess Alice Hospice, a multi-disciplinary nutrition team including chefs, nurses, ward catering team, a speech and language therapist and dietitian, has worked tirelessly to introduce a range of options for patients with compromised eating and drinking abilities (dysphagia).

The results are truly astonishing – savoury and sweet dishes created from pureed ingredients in a variety of realistic-looking meals which taste as good as they look.

The chefs’ skills were showcased this week as part of the Global Tea Party celebrations, during Nutrition & Hydration Week.

Hospice speech and language therapist Juliet Lawson said: “Eating and drinking is central to our lives and can be an emotive subject, especially when a loved one is very ill. It can be distressing to feel they are not eating or drinking as they should.

“The team’s research, hard work and training has not been just to make meals more attractive to patients – it’s also in response to The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI, which has published international definitions for food that has been modified for people with swallowing difficulties.

“Princess Alice Hospice can proudly say we are now IDDSI compliant, which is a fantastic achievement for the team.”

This milestone has been reached well in advance of the requirement for compliance which is 1 April 2019.

Princess Alice Hospice leads the field in having a multidisciplinary nutrition and hydration team team including its own in house catering operation. Preparing all meals from scratch, the team can adapt to patients’ needs and wishes, whereas other hospices mainly rely on commercially-produced products.

Historic trust funds modern medical solution for Hospice - 11 March 2019

A generous donation from a historic trust will enable more Princess Alice Hospice patients to be treated in a modern, efficient way
John Greenwood presenting a cheque for £8,360 to the Hospice

The grant of £8,360 from the Hospital Saturday Fund, will fund eight syringe-drivers for patients in the Hospice itself and others receiving palliative end-of-life care at home.

Chairman of the Hospital Saturday Fund Trustees, John Greenwood, handed over the donation when he visited the Esher-based Hospice this week.

The fund, established in 1873 during the Victorian era of workhouses and poor public health, distributes the profits from a trading company – HSF Healthplan – four times a year to medical charities.

“The best part of my role is visiting places such as Princess Alice Hospice and being able to contribute to the continuing outstanding care provided to so many people,” said Mr Greenwood, who lives in West Molesey.

Accepting the grant on behalf of the Hospice, In-Patient Unit manager Keetje Gull said: “This generous gift will go straight towards purchasing syringe-drivers, which enable patients to receive controlled doses of their medication in a comfortable way. They’re small, portable and versatile – just perfect for many patients’ benefit.”

Rachel Fryatt, Trusts and Foundations Manager, who worked on the application for the grant said: “We’re extremely grateful to Mr Greenwood and the other trustees for looking favourably on our application.”

Photo:  John Greenwood, left, hands the Hospital Saturday Fund donation to Keetje Gull

Hospice film reaches national awards final - 8 March 2019

Princess Alice Hospice has been announced as one of the finalists for the 2019 Charity Film Awards – and is now relying on attracting the most public votes to be declared the People’s Choice winner
A still from our film showing a family on a walk

Our moving film – Family Time –  tells the true story of one 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.

The Charity Film Awards celebrates the effective use of video by the charity sector to change mindsets, raise awareness for the charity or fundraise.

The finalists have been through two stages of judging. Some 50,000 people took part in the public voting stage to determine the shortlist. Then the Charity Film Awards panel of expert judges selected the finalists. Family Time is one of seven in its category – ranged according to charity size.

“Having got this far, we’d be absolutely delighted to see our touching and powerful film reach the top spot,” said Hospice Head of Communications Julia Russell.

“We now need everyone’s vote to ensure we’re top of People’s Choice – it would mean a huge amount to all of us here at the Hospice as well as our patients, their families and carers.”

To see Family Time and cast your vote, visit this link or

Family Time was created for the Hospice by award-winning animation studio Plastic Milk, based in Kingston.

Duncan Raitt, Head of Animation at Plastic Milk said: “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.”

Simon Burton, Co-Founder of the Charity Film Awards said: ‘In the digital age, charities’ use of video is fundamental to engage the hearts and minds of their communities. The Finalists are the very best examples of that in action.

The winners of the Charity Film Awards 2019 will be announced on 26 April at a gala ceremony in central London.

John, 83, joins abseil challenge - 25 February 2019

Always active throughout his life, 83-year-old John Edwards has taken up the challenge to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth in aid of Princess Alice Hospice
John with Kerry from our fundraising team

For many years a keen rugby player at the Effingham club, nowadays he admits he’s not up to a 5k run but is looking forward to undertaking the 100m descent from the top of the quayside building in Portsmouth on 20 April.

John, who’s lived in the same Epsom Downs house for 50 years, is originally from Northallerton, North Yorkshire but moved south where he worked at the BP Research site at Epsom for 9 years on plastics and chemicals before transferring to Head Office.

He retired in 1992 and has been a keen charity supporter alongside his wife, Kathy, who died a couple of years ago.

“I felt I wanted to get out and do something while I still could,” he said, “and years ago I did a couple of abseil sessions in the Lake District on management training courses.”

His aim is to raise at least £1,200 in memory of his sister-in-law Mary Hall, who was cared for at Princess Alice Hospice until her death in 2001. His nephew Graham Blunden was also cared for by the Hospice.

His fan base includes his niece and her family in Northumberland along with his nephew and family closer to home in Haslemere – as well as “a very special friend who has been a source of inspiration since my late wife died two years ago,” he said. “Without that friend I would have been lost.”

Pictured with John when he called by the Hospice, partnerships fundraiser Kerry Brown said: “John’s a real inspiration to others – he’s got such a positive attitude and a joy for giving. We’ll be cheering him all the way for his abseil.”

To sponsor John, visit and to join the abseil challenge visit

Oliver asks for more – for Princess Alice Hospice - 19 February 2019

Theatregoers enjoying an evening out this weekend will be asked to spare a thought for the nurses setting out on shifts across the region for the night ahead.
3 children holding collecting buckets

By giving donations as they leave to go home, the audiences at Epsom Playhouse will be supporting the night nurse service provided by Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey.

The British Theatre Academy is bringing one of the best-loved British musicals of all time – Oliver! – to Epsom Playhouse this week – and supporting the Hospice’s Care Through The Night appeal at a selection of performances.

From Thursday 21 February to Saturday 23 February, the Lionel Bart classic will have six shows including a matinee, early evening and evening performances.

The lead role of the workhouse orphan who falls in with a bad crowd is shared between Alfie Turnbull of Epsom, Wilf Cooper of Virginia Water and Joseph Jones of Wallington.

The Princess Alice Hospice Care Through The Night campaign is asking everyone to think of those who set off night after night to give palliative end of life care to people in their own homes.

The nurses operate via bookings and emergency call-out. They visit people’s homes to administer medicines, offer comfort and company to those who need it.

A Hospice spokesman said: “We made 1,398 visits last year but we want to be able to reach more and can’t do this without more support. We know that most people want to be in their own homes but we can only do it with your support to help us achieve this.

“Just £35 covers an hour of care and £385 covers a whole night.”

The service also means unnecessary admissions to hospital can be avoided – some 900 last year alone.

To find out more about how the funding supports the work of the night nurse service, visit

To book tickets for Oliver! Visit

Our picture shows, from left, Alfie, Wilf and Joseph in character

Jamie-Leigh jumps at ways to raise funds - 11 February 2019

Not content with jumping from a plane at 10,000ft, Jamie-Leigh Findlay is taking over her local pub for a charity fun day as well
2 people with a Princess Alice Hospice collecting bucket

She’s taking to the skies on March 23 to raise money for Princess Alice Hospice, and holding a family fun event at the Hungry Horse in Ashford a month before on Sunday 24 February.

Her efforts are in memory of her husband Jamie’s grandfather, Peter Belshaw, who was cared for at the Hospice before his death in November last year.

For the Sunday 24 February family fun event, starting 1pm at the pub, Jamie-Leigh, 19, has an impressive list of raffle prizes donated by local businesses including Squires, Stanwell Hotel, Tesco and Birt Belle Treats.

“We’re also having a quiz and face painting – the aim is to have a lot of fun while raising funds,” said Jamie-Leigh, who will be joined by husband Jamie and 17-month-old son Frederick.

Having won a Muddy Run at Windsor last year, Jamie-Leigh says a skydive is a challenge she feels compelled to do. Her Just Giving page says: “I am going to make a leap of faith and try to be as brave as Peter was; I am going to need everyone’s help.”

Jamie-Leigh is pictured in the Hungry Horse pub with General Manager Ollie Roberts

Sponsors are invited to back her via

Care Through The Night campaign launches - 8 February 2019

A fundraising campaign to maintain a vital night nurse service has been launched – coinciding with some of the darkest, coldest times of the year
Becca on the phone

The Princess Alice Hospice Care Through The Night campaign is asking everyone to think of those who set off night after night to give palliative end of life care to people in their own homes.

The nurses – who operate via bookings and emergency call-out – visit people’s homes to administer medicines, offer comfort and company to those who need it.

All the Hospice’s in-patient and Hospice At Home services are free – the £9.9m needed each year to keep going is mainly supported by donations and legacies. Just one quarter is funded by the NHS.

“My job is intense, demanding – but very rewarding,” said night nurse Becca, a mum of two whose story features in the new campaign.

“But we provide much more than medical care. In many cases, we’re granting a patient’s dearest wish – to spend their final hours in the comforting, familiar surroundings of their home.”

She added: “Of course, we can’t prevent people dying, but we can and do make death a little easier to bear.”

A Hospice spokesman said: “We made 1,398 visits last year but we want to be able to reach more and can’t do this without more support. We know that most people want to be in their own homes but we can only do it with your support to help us achieve this.

“Just £35 covers an hour of care and £385 covers a whole night.”

The service also means unnecessary admissions to hospital can be avoided – some 900 last year alone.

To read Becca’s story and find out more about how the funding supports the work of the night nurse service, visit

  • The Princess Alice Hospice PJ Push – a fun way to raise funds for the night nurse service by wearing your pyjamas for a day – is part of the Care Through The Night campaign

Hear 100 voices raised in showtune concert for Hospice appeal - 6 February 2019

One of London’s leading concert venues is hosting a one-off choir concert showcasing the talents of the Princess Alice Hospice Community Choir and the Strawberry Hill Singers on 31 March

Cadogan Hall in the heart of Chelsea will resound to the sound of showtunes from Broadway classics by Rodgers & Hammerstein including a choral selection from My Fair Lady, to Schonberg and Kretzmer’s Les Miserables, in a special fundraising evening for the Esher-based Hospice.

Backed by the 100 Voices Showband conducted by Michael McLaughlin, the choirs will be joined by guest star Nadim Naaman – Phantom Of The Opera (Royal Albert Hall) and Madagascar 3.

Tickets for the concert, which starts at 6.30pm, cost £15, £25 and £30.

To book, visit

The Princess Alice Community Choir was established in July 2014. The aim of the choir is to bring together a community of singers who could be patients, family members, staff, volunteers, bereaved relatives and members of the local community.

The Strawberry Hill Singers is a 65-strong community choir that meets in the magnificent Gallery at Horace Walpole’s 18th Century Gothic Revival mansion

Claire goes with the flow for Hospice funds bid - 5 February 2019

Celebrating 10 years of fundraising for Princess Alice Hospice, mum Claire Chapman is taking on her biggest ever challenge – the Quicksilver Hampton Court Half-Marathon on 17 February
Claire and Katie in the Hospice garden

The Chessington-based Mum has previously thrown herself into fun runs, 10k events, baked cakes, run stalls at the Hospice summer fairs and generally kept busy by her efforts.

Her inspiration has been the Esher-based Hospice’s bereavement support for her daughter Katie Braithwaite – whose Dad Wayne died 10 years ago on Fathers’ Day. Close friends have been cared for by the Hospice as well.

Katie, now 19, said the fantastic support from the team at the Hospice has helped her over the years and she’s stayed in touch with some of them.

Claire said the family was immensely grateful for the support given to Katie – who is now studying on a soccer scholarship at an American college in California.

Visiting Princess Alice Hospice on a chilly February day, the women acknowledged they had come through some difficult times. “Now we just go with the flow,” said Claire. “I cannot afford to repay the Hospice’s kindness except by raising sponsorship and giving my time, which I’m very happy to continue doing.”

Claire works in caring roles to support Katie’s soccer ambitions on the course in kinesiology and sociology at Lassen College. She herself has her sights set on studying for a degree related to caring.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Claire can visit

Seasonal shoppers dig deep for Princess Alice Hospice - 31 January 2019

Award-winning garden centre and farm shop Garsons of Esher has raised an amazing £6,000 for Princess Alice Hospice, their charity of the year for 2018
Garsons staff presenting a cheque for £6,000 to the Hospice

The Christmas period alone brought in nearly £4,500 of that figure as generous shoppers placed donations in charity boxes at the tills and collection buckets at the garden centre’s popular late-night festive shopping events.

The annual appearance of two live reindeer in the run-up to Christmas helped to further boost funds. Visitors were able to visit them for free but encouraged to drop any spare change into collection buckets by the reindeer enclosure.

For the first time, Garsons hosted one of the Hospice’s Memory Trees alongside the reindeer, enabling customers to remember loved ones by placing a dove decoration on a lit-up Christmas tree. By the end of the festive period, the tree was covered with around 1,000 memory doves, each inscribed with personal and moving messages and accompanied by a donation to the charity.

Princess Alice Hospice senior partnership fundraiser Claire Woodward said: “We have been truly amazed by the generosity of Garsons customers towards the hospice over the festive season, and extremely grateful for the garden centre’s support us this year.

“Garsons is renowned for its magnificent Christmas displays – the amazing West End stage theme this year was stunning – and we are indebted to them for offering their customers the chance to remember loved ones by hosting one of the Hospice’s Memory Trees.”

Director of Garsons, Ben Thompson said: “We have a close relationship with the Princess Alice Hospice and greatly admire the amazing care that they give families,” said. “It has been a privilege to support them through the past year and we would like to thank our customers for being so generous and helping us achieve this fantastic total.”

Our picture shows Claire Woodward, Senior Partnership Fundraiser for the Hospice, with Ian Richardson, MD of Garsons

FA Cup round winners support PJ Push - 28 January 2019

It just goes to show that training night and day pays off – as AFC Wimbledon demonstrated when they turned out in their pyjamas in the run-up to Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round match against West Ham
A group of Wimbledon AFC players in their PJS with Princess Alice Hospice collecting buckets

The squad took part in a fun session on Friday in their PJs in support of their chosen charity of the year – Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, Surrey – before going on to knock out the Premier Division team 4-2.

Manager Wally Downes joined the fun alongside the players, to help promote the charity’s upcoming PJ Push – where everyone is being urged to wear their pyjamas to their offices, schools, clubs, pubs and so on – to raise vital funds for the Hospice which provides free end of life care for those who need it.

The campaign highlights the night nurse service which provides care in people’s homes across SW London, Surrey and parts of Middlesex.

Wearing a motley selection of pyjamas, onesies and charity teeshirts, the team also recruited several Wombles and Louie the gorilla – the Hospice’s designated Cuddler, who usually lives in the children’s playroom at the Hospice.

“Wally and the squad are fantastic supporters of the Hospice and we had an immense amount of fun and laughter at the training ground,” said Claire Woodward, Senior Partnership Fundraiser at Princess Alice Hospice – herself a long-term Dons fan for 37 years.

“They could not have done more to throw themselves into the campaign – except perhaps bring back the FA Cup when they once again triumph at Wembley!”

To join the Princess Alice Hospice PJ Push – choose your date between February 11 and 25 –  visit or phone 01372 461808 or see the Hopspice Facebook page.

Palace gardeners grow funds for Hospice - 28 January 2019

The team that tends the gardens at Hampton Court Palace has cultivated a pot of donations for Princess Alice Hospice – and handed over £4,515
Hampton Court Palace gardeners presenting a cheque for £4515 to Princess Alice Hospice

The 40-strong team who are out in all weathers ensuring the grounds of Henry VIII’s palace look tiptop all year round, held cake sales, a big Christmas raffle, barbecue, did sponsored runs and walks – and sold around 100 hanging baskets to fellow staff at the palace.

A number of the team who turned out for the cheque handover said they had a connection to the Hospice, through friends and relatives being cared for as inpatients or by the Hospice At Home service.

Hospice Senior Partnership Fundraiser Claire Woodward, who collected the cheque, said: “The gardening team’s camaraderie and friendliness shines through – it’s clear they have enjoyed the various fundraising activities they employed to raise this fantastic amount.

“The Hospice has an ongoing need for funds – the vast majority of which we rely on via donations from the community. This will go towards helping provide free end of live care to those who need it.”

Join the Princess Alice PJ Push - 22 January 2019

Throw off the winter blues and put the fun into fundraising!
Princess Alice Hospice staff in PJs

Pop on your pyjamas and join the Princess Alice Hospice PJ Push for funds.

Everyone’s being urged to hold a PJ Push event at their school, pub, club or workplace in support of our fantastic night nurses – who offer care for patients at home throughout the area while the rest of the world is asleep.

By pledging to wear your pyjamas while doing your own daily activities, you can show your support for these dedicated nurses. A donation of £1 per PJ participant will raise vital funds to enable our nurses to continue to provide specialist care. £35 pays for 1 hour of care from a Princess Alice Hospice night nurse; £385 pays for a full night’s care.

Many people don’t realise that 80% of Princess Alice Hospice care is delivered across a wide geographical area rather than in the Hospice itself in Esher. Last year, our specialist Princess Alice nurses made 14,461 visits to 2,785 patients in their homes.

Our night nurses play a crucial role in helping patients to stay in their own home and prevent unnecessary and unwanted hospital admissions, as well as providing support to the whole family. This results in more patients dying in their place of choice, which is often at home.

How you can help: Joining the fun is easy – just pick any date between February 11 and 25, get your best pyjamas out – and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to do the same.

Why not make it an extra-special event – add some fun activities to raise more money at the same time? Cake sales, quizzes, draws, raffles, challenges and forfeits can all be used to swell the total.

If you are planning a PJ Push, email us details so we can give you a mention to boost numbers joining in – and it would be great to see photos of your PJ Day, to share on social media.

If you’re planning a quiz as part of your PJ Push, we have a special, fun, sleep-related quiz you can use – just email to ask for a copy.

Contact us at

Read about our Care Through The Night campaign – including how you can organise your PJ Push:

National award for Hospice festive campaign - 18 January 2019

A campaign featuring eye-catching artwork coupled with an appealing story and live updates scooped a prestigious national award for Princess Alice Hospice
Cengiz at his desk

The  charity beat 170 challengers to be proclaimed winner of the JustGiving 2018 Christmas Campaign award.

The judges were impressed by the way the Santa Fun Run campaign created a sense of community around the event.

Hospice Marketing Officer Cengiz Mehmet, who led on the Santa Fun Run campaign, said:  “I think the real power of the campaign came alive when people on their fundraising pages talked about why they were taking part in the fun run and who they were running in memory of; it created a sense of community around the run.

“We also used the JustGiving campaign page on social media and email, to encourage people to continue fundraising during and after the campaign.”

A number of the 1,300 or so runners used JustGiving to handle their sponsorship, with 1,464 supporters pledging money via the page. The top fundraiser was pledged £2815, while the most impressive target-busting was by one runner who raised nearly 20 times their original target.

Keith Williams, General Manager, UK & Ireland at JustGiving, said: “We are thrilled to announce Princess Alice Hospice as winners of the JustGiving Christmas 2018 Campaign.  We were impressed by their ability to foster a sense of community amongst the supporters and participants of the Santa Run, and the stunning campaign imagery used to showcase and celebrate their cause.”

The prize includes a £4,000 bespoke landing page for a future campaign, plus a one-off £500 donation to the charity.

The JustGiving pages helped raise £36,783 towards the overall target of £60,000 – with other runners giving via direct donations and their own sponsorship arrangements.

Donations are still being collected for the Santa Fun Run – visit