Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hospice Chaplain Eddy Inglis and Community Events Fundraiser Elaine McConnell in the Willow Wood multi-faith prayer room

If you have taken part in Willow Wood’s annual Light Up A Life before, and attended a dedication service, you will know what a wonderful occasion it is.  It is a celebration of everything that Willow Wood stands for – love, care, compassion and the ability to live your life to the full. 

If you haven’t heard of Light Up A Life before, Elaine McConnell, community events fundraiser explains “It’s a wonderful way to remember loved ones.  It’s open to everyone, not just those touched by Hospice care, and gives you the opportunity to reflect and remember those who are always in your heart.

“By making a dedication all names will be inscribed into our beautifully designed Books of Memories and you are invited to attend one or both of the celebration carol services.  With a brass band, children’s choir and, of course, the dedication of the Tree of Lights, these services can bring comfort at this very special time of the year”.

The Book of Memories takes pride of place in our multi-faith prayer room and will be available for viewing from 1 December this year and throughout 2018.  Many people find it a real comfort to be able to view this on birthdays, anniversaries or other occasions throughout the year.  Seven other Books of Memories will be placed throughout Tameside and Glossop from 1 December until Twelfth Night.

The two dedication services, one in Norfolk Square, Glossop and the other at the Albion Church, Ashton are very moving and often quite emotional, but at the same time joyous and uplifting.  A light will also shine in remembrance on the Tree of Lights at both Norfolk Square and in the Albion Church, and these symbols of everlasting love and affection will begin to glow at the culmination of the services.

Eddy Inglis, chaplain of Willow Wood said “Every year, so many people come to me after the service to let me know just how much it means to them.  Light Up A Life brings comfort and a sense of peace and joy.  It doesn’t matter what faith they follow, or if they are religious at all – Light Up A Life, like Willow Wood, is here for everyone.”

For more information or to take part, pick up a dedication leaflet from any of the Willow Wood shops, download one from our website or ring 0161 330 7788 to have one sent out to you.




As many of us across Tameside and beyond prepare to celebrate a season of joy, happiness and goodwill to all; let’s pause a moment and reflect on the lyrics expressed in the Band Aid song:

There’s a world outside our window …that’s a world of dread and fear

And for many people across the region, homelessness means they are living in a world of dread and fear – there will be no Christmas celebrations for them this year!

It’s a sobering fact that every day 150 families in Britain become homeless, and it’s been estimated by leading charities that more than 3,000 people are currently homeless across Greater Manchester.

These figures also suggest the number of people sleeping rough in our region has increased, with a considerable rise in the last year.

That’s why, members of Hyde Rotary Club will once again devote their time to appeal, collect and distribute unwanted warm clothing and other items to the homeless this coming winter.

On Saturday 4th November between 10.00am-3.00pm members from Hyde Rotary Club will take a stall on Hyde’s Artisan Market, where they will be collecting unwanted coats, jumpers, toiletries, socks, blankets, tents, sleeping bags, and rucksacks for the homeless in Tameside, Stockport and Manchester

Speaking on behalf of Hyde Rotary, Kevin Maddox said, “Rough sleeping – and homelessness in general – has been the source of growing concern throughout Greater Manchester over the last couple of years, and although it’s up to others to solve the underlying problem, Hyde Rotary are focusing on practical and immediate humanitarian help by offering aid to keep them warm.”

“So, please clear out those cupboards and drawers, dig out your unwanted warm clothing and other items and help us to keep some of the homeless warm this winter. Be thankful for everything you have, and spare a thought for those less fortunate.”

Hyde Rotary will be manning their stall on Saturday 4th November between 10.00am until 3.00pm, on Hyde Market, please bring what you can and help them keep a homeless family warm this winter.


Caroline, one of Willow Wood’s dedicated nurses.

This week is Hospice Care Week and Willow Wood would like to celebrate this with some words from those who have received, or who give our care.

People like Jennifer, who has been coming to Willow Wood for around ten months now.  Jennifer, who has COPD, has received physiotherapy to help her breathing, Reiki to help relax and is now attending one of our weekly groups where she receives support, advice and where the highly trained staff are able to step in should there be any changes in her condition.  Treating any exacerbations at such an early stage makes possible hospital admissions far less likely.

Jennifer said “Initially I was very shocked by the idea of coming to Willow Wood, but I really love it now and would encourage anyone to come.  I always say “you don’t come to Willow Wood to die, you come here to live”.

People like Barbara, one of our volunteer receptionists.  Barbara said “About 11 years ago a dear friend spent the last weeks of her life at Willow Wood.  I’d never visited before, and was struck by the kindness and care shown by everyone.  I decided I would like to help and after 10 years still enjoy it.  The most important part of my job, as I see it, is putting visitors at their ease – it can be very daunting walking into the Hospice for the first time.  Receptionists are the first people visitors meet and it’s our role to greet them with a smile and put them at ease”.

People like Caroline, one of our dedicated nurses.  Caroline said “I spend time with patients and their families when they are feeling at their most vulnerable, and see the difference that our care and support can make.  I feel privileged to be with them and to be able to help them through this time”.

People like Karen Houlston, chief executive of Willow Wood.  Karen said “Hospice care is so diverse, and involves so many people with varied skills coming together to deliver specialised care.  We are all passionate about our roles and committed to support everyone with kindness, dignity and respect.  Hospice Care Week gives us the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of all our staff and volunteers and I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful community”.

The last words, however, should come from Jennifer as a current patient. “Willow Wood saved my life”.

The nights are drawing in, that autumn nip is in the air, and it’s the time when our children are deciding whether they’ll be a witch, a vampire, a ghoulie or a ghostie for Halloween.  A great place to show off their costumes this year will be on the Willow Wood Monster March and VIP Party – there are even cash prizes for the best dressed!

Starting at Dukinfield Town Hall on the afternoon of Sunday 29 October, there is a 5k sponsored walk setting off at 5pm, and every participant will receive a medal when they arrive back at the Town Hall.

There’s the chance to carry on the ‘fangtastic’ fun at the VIP party in the Jubilee Suite which will look suitably spooky as it is being dressed by Monster March sponsors, Rumour Entertainments.  You’ll be able to dance to a mix of all the Halloween classics like the Monster Mash, Time Warp, Ghostbusters, Werewolves of London and, of course, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, plus all the latest hits from local DJ Chris G.

Shop 4 Fancy Dress, based on Croft Street in Hyde are offering 10% discount on all Halloween costumes for those entered in the Monster March.  Event organiser Chris said “It’s a great offer, they have some fantastic costumes available.  Our thanks to them and to all our sponsors.

“Of course, if you’re handy with a needle why not visit your local Willow Wood shop?  They have all kinds of pre-loved clothes which you could customise so that you have a totally unique outfit.”

There’s even a two course supper included!  You’ll have worked up an appetite on the sponsored walk and a delicious warming hot pot (or veggie alternative) plus dessert will be very welcome.

Chris said “It’s a great event for families or for groups of friends and I can’t wait to see everyone in their Halloween finery.  We do have to limit the party numbers to 250, so please book as soon as possible to be sure of a ‘spooktacular’ time!  It’s easy to register; you can go online to or pick up one of the forms from any of our shops or Willow Wood reception. Alternatively, ring 0161 330 7788 and we can take details and payment over the phone”.



The Cub Scouts from 6th Ashton Scouts Monday and Thursday Cub packs, donned their aprons last week and got busy baking cakes for Christ Church’s Macmillan big bake off coffee morning.

The Cubs with the help of the Cub and Beaver leaders made shortbread biscuits, rocky road cakes, jam tarts and decorated cup cakes for the charity’s annual coffee morning appeal.

As the picture shows, they enjoyed making the cakes especially mixing all the cake mixtures.

The head teacher of Canon Burrows School, Miss Fields was very impressed with the Cubs and their cakes and the fact that their baking skills will go towards the Cubs Chief Scout Silver Award in Scouting.

Danielle Hyde, Cub Scout Leader said, “We sold nearly all the cakes which raised much needed money for the Macmillan cancer charity, however, the temptation obviously proved too much by the end of the day and we suspect some cakes disappeared, into some of our Cubs!”

If you would like to help young people to gain life skills in Scouting contact 07931765120 or go to

Following months of planning and auditions via YouTube, Hyde Rotary Club, held their ‘Search for a Star’ competition last Friday night at Oakland’s Hall.

Eleven Contestants, who travelled from towns throughout the North West to enter this prestigious competition, took to the stage in the hope of becoming the next big singing sensation.

Organisers booked the judges Barbara Dignan from Oldham Community Radio, Katie Stelfox Singer and artist agent and the nights sponsor Vicky Gaunt, who provided the three trophies and cash prize of £100.00.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After two hours of non-stop entertainment, brilliantly compèred by the debonair ‘James Bond’ look-a- like Andrew Richardson, the judges added their own personal critique after each performance and the scores were adjudicated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The standards were very high, but at the end of the show the winner was Mottram based Roscoe McCabe, in second place was the very talented Letitia Gray from Moston, and in third place was Stacy Southward from Gee Cross.

The winners will now be invited to sing at the Hyde Christmas Light Switch on event that is being held on Saturday 25th November in the market square.

Following the evening’s entertainment, ‘Search for a Star’ – organiser Kevin Maddox said, “It was a great privilege to help organise this event, especially with all the monies raised going to my chosen charity, The Christie. It took a lot of time and effort with Katie and I screening all contestants’ videos over a two month period before eventually choosing our final ‘Search for a Star’ line up.”

We will be presenting our cheque to The Christie for £523.00 that was raised on the night from entrance fee and the raffle.

DB Garden Nurseries of Hyde are to supply hundreds of plants and will offer specialist horticultural advice in the creation of a permanent reminder of Manchester’s work ethic, resilience, creativity and togetherness, which has now been adopted as a symbol of solidarity among those affected by the Arena bombing.

A flowerbed will be planted in the shape of a bee, the icon of Manchester that became a symbol of strength following the Manchester Arena attack in May, is to be installed in Hyde Park.

Tameside Armed Services Community (TASC) has successfully applied for a grant to fund the project from ‘We Love Manchester’, the charity set up in the aftermath of the bombing. The veterans are keen to work with members of the community to cultivate the flowerbed.

Work will take place over the winter by specialist landscape and garden nursery company DB Garden Nurseries, who will give advice on the final design, planting and maintenance, leading up to the formal opening of the memorable flowerbed, in the spring of 2018.

Following the devastating terrorist atrocity during the Ariana Grande concert, the worker bee became Greater Manchester’s symbol in the days after the bombing. It embodied the determination to choose love over hate and not to allow terrorists to disrupt our way of life.

There’s no doubt that lots of people from the borough, especially many young people, were affected by the attack, and once completed, might find it helpful and therapeutic to spend time at the flowerbed.

TASC are happy to hear from individuals, youth groups, schools and anybody who would like to get involved in the project, or feels like they might benefit from it. For more information, you can e-mail:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact DB Garden Nurseries via telephone – 01613 683008 or find them on Facebook

Willow Wood hold many fundraising events throughout the year, and many of them feature raffles which by themselves can raise many hundreds of pounds for the hospice.

At the moment, however, their cupboards are quite bare!

So they have sent out an appeal the generous residents of Tameside to help fill them up their dwindling selves – toiletry gift sets, bottles of wine or spirits, boxes of biscuits or chocolates would all be very welcome.  Small items such as coffee beans, speciality teas, chutneys, preserves etc’ can be combined to make up a hamper.

So if a recent birthday or anniversary has resulted in unwanted presents – red wine when you only drink Prosecco, or chocolate truffles when you’re on a diet, please think of Willow Wood and drop them off at their reception.

They would be very grateful!


Invopak donation

Willow Wood has some amazing supporters out in our community, and we’re always proud and grateful for their fundraising efforts.

This summer the Dane Bank pub in Denton has held two fantastic music events; Dane-Stock 3 and Dane-Stock 3.5 which together raised the incredible amount of £4,800 – their thanks to everyone involved.

Another local pub, the Beau Geste in Ashton-under-Lyne held a Fun Day which raised £686.23, and it really was a fun day, with some supporters being drenched with buckets of beans, having custard pies in the face or put in the stocks to be pelted with various missiles!

Glossop Golf Club donated £1,000 following an open weekend and the Tameside Rotary Golf Tournament at Werneth Low Golf Club raised over £1,720.  The football tournament, Shawsy’s Shootout at Droylsden Football Club raised the staggering amount of £3,612, and Invopak’s Summer Celebration raised £1,387.50.

And it’s not just businesses and organisations who help Willow Wood with fundraising.

Paul at Portland Basin

Many of their wonderful supporters either enter marathons, or other organised events or do their own thing to help us.  People like Paul Bromley who raised £804.72 by cycling from Portland Basin down to Portland Bill in Dorset.



The brave (and possibly slightly crazy!) Callum McHale who took part in a banger car jump over the August Bank Holiday and raised £731.88Clive Bristow completed the Parallel London 5k in just 54 minutes, and donated sponsorship money of £640 and long term supporter Angie Wild organised a 50/50 Shades Evening at Denton West End Club which totalled £553.50.

Lynn Fothergill, Willow Wood’s Communications, PR & Marketing Officer said, “We are always humbled by this wonderful community support, and wish we could thank every single one of you who has helped us to fund our care to our patients and their families.  This care, which is always free to the people of Tameside and Glossop, will cost us £2.3 million this year and we are so very, very grateful for your wonderful support.”

If you think you could help us achieve this figure, in whatever way, please get in touch with either Chris or Elaine in the fundraising office by ringing 0161 330 7788 or emailing



Mike Styan, organizer of the Enchanted Evening.

Lovers of musicals are in for a treat as Willow Wood volunteer Mike Styan has once again organised the eagerly-awaited ‘Enchanted Evening’ at Stalybridge Methodist Church.

The show, on Friday 29 September features leading lights from the local Amateur Operatic scene, including Amy Turner, Sarah Thewlis, Samuel Maurice, Craig Wright and David Noble, who between them will be performing some of the best loved songs from musical theatre.

This will be the fourteenth show Mike has organised – a testament to its popularity.  The ticket price has been maintained at just £7 yet again, and Mike said “I’ve still got a small number of tickets left so if you’re interested in attending please ring me on: 07751 272763 to book, as there may not be any left on the door”.