Monday, April 6, 2020

The mother-in-law of a patient cared for at St Ann’s Hospice showed her heart-felt thanks recently with some unusual tokens of gratitude.

Pauline Barton delivered a box of beautifully hand-knitted hanging hearts to the hospice in Heald Green as a way to thank the staff and volunteers for the care given to her son-in-law, Colin Wilmouth, last year.

Pauline said “The care that Colin received at St Ann’s was amazing and made such a difference to the way he felt. We were a little concerned when Colin first went into the hospice, but we were all made to feel so welcome and comfortable. They also took care of us as a family and offered so much support to my daughter and Colin’s wife, Julie.

“These hearts are a way for me to express how grateful I am, and I hope they bring some smiles to all the nurses and doctors, volunteers and the rest of the team at St Ann’s.”

Lynsey Ayers, Ward Sister, was one of the team who cared for Colin when he was a patient. She said “We all remember Colin well, and all of his family who were regular visitors at the hospice. It was so lovely to see Pauline and Julie again, and the hearts Pauline has given to us are beautiful. Gifts like this really mean a lot to us, as we know we’ve made a difference to our patients and their loved ones at a very difficult time in their lives.”

The Dementia Cafe, on the second and fourth Friday of every month, very quickly became an important part of Willow Wood’s Dementia service, and is always extremely well attended.

Both those living with Dementia and their carers find it a huge support, not only from our wonderful team of Nic, Sandra, Emma and volunteers Eric and Pam, but from each other. As carer Kath said, “If I’m up in the middle of the night and struggling to cope, I’ll put a message out on our What’s App group. It’s almost inevitable that someone else will be in the same situation and we’ll end up laughing together. It’s a great support to know you’re not alone”.

Every cafe has a theme, or a special guest, and on Friday 13 September, volunteer Pam arranged for the Manchester Camerata to visit. The orchestra, themselves a charity, have their own ground-breaking Dementia programme ‘Music In Mind’, and really connected with the group.
Playing the clarinet, flute and cello, Lynne, Aine and Nancy played a number of tunes which soon had the audience singing along, while Heather distributed tambourines, finger cymbals, bells and more to encourage audience participation in the music-making. It finished with a song, jointly written by the group and audience.

The next Dementia Café is on Friday 27 September between 1-3pm. If you or a loved one is living with Dementia you’ll be very welcome; just drop in, there’s no need to book.


Tameside Rotary Club hosted their 9th Tameside Beer Festival on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th September at Stalybridge Civic Hall.

Fabulous entertainment with singer Eric Barrow, Spindrift, Steve Wilson and The Cornelius Crane, Phoenix Brass Hoppers, Bridget and Elisabet, Tameside Community Voices, Miseley Brothers and Steely Don.

Wonderful curries as always from Delights of India, Cakes from Eclectic Cakes by Kirsty, Wines from Carham Wines who all gave a donation.
£8000 was raised to be split 3 ways between Friends of Tameside Young Carers, Willow Wood Hospice and Tameside local charities.
Our Civic Mayor Leigh Drennan visited us on the Saturday and Jonathan Reynolds MP was in the mood for a pint on Friday after lots going on in Parliament!

An auction was held to sell a 2012 Beer Glass. Although we only raised £5. 50. (plus an additional £10 from the kind gentleman that bought it once he received the glass) … we very much plan to build on new ideas and initiatives like these in our future Beer Festivals.

As well as Rotarians, we had lots of ‘extra’ volunteers who we would like to thank.
We would also like to whole-hearted thank all our customers, for their generous heart. You gave generously, acted beautifully and the atmosphere was perfect. Thank you!

For more details see or Facebook Page Tameside Rotary Club.

A charity football match between homelessness charity Emmaus Mossley and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Tameside has so far raised £2,800 for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund.

On Sunday 8 September, more than 500 people turned out to support the Emmaus Vs GMP Tameside Charity Football Match at Seel Park in Mossley. The Emmaus Mossley team, which included Mayor Andy Burnham along with former professional footballers Daniel Nardiello and Guy Branston, mostly consisted of formerly homeless people who are now supported by the charity.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The support given by Emmaus Mossley and Greater Manchester Police, to raise vital funds to help end rough sleeping in Greater Manchester, is fantastic.
“There’s lots of work going on across all boroughs in Greater Manchester supporting the single initiative to end rough sleeping in the city-region. Thank you to everyone involved and working hard to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.”

The competitive and entertaining game, thanks in part to stadium announcer Alan Keegan, went to a penalties after a 6 – 6 draw at full time. The Emmaus XI came home with the winner’s trophy after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out.

Darren Bateman, community member at Emmaus Mossley and team captain of the Emmaus XI, said: “I’m extremely proud to be a part of this year’s charity match, and even more so as our Emmaus Mossley team triumphed. I’d like to congratulate all the players who took part and say a massive thank you to all the people who attended, supported and volunteered to help out on the day.”

Emmaus Mossley supports formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work in a community setting. The concept of solidarity, getting involved in volunteering and helping groups in need, is a central ethos of Emmaus and a motivation for those who played and volunteered at the charity match.

Daniel Nardiello, one of the special guest players on the Emmaus Mossley team, said: ‘It was great to be a part of the Emmaus Vs GMP Charity Football Match. I went down to visit Emmaus Mossley a few weeks back and I was blown away, so to be able to play in the game and show my support was a privilege. They whole event was brilliant.”

The charity match, a replay of last year’s event, was organised by GMPs Tameside Division with support from Emmaus Mossley, Mossley A.F.C and Oldham Athletic Community Trust (OACT). Match sponsors included JMW Solicitors LLP, O’Donnell Solicitors and Greater Manchester Police Federation.

PC Steve Naylor from Greater Manchester Police, said: “I want to thank everyone, spectators and players, who took time out of their Sunday afternoon to come and support our event. I would like to pay special thanks to “The Voice of Old Trafford” Alan Keegan who provided his services as stadium announcer for the day, and in my opinion made the day more of a success than we imagined.”
“Special thanks also to our match sponsors and all the local businesses who donated prizes for the tombola and raffle, Jalmac Leisure and One Adventure for supplying the inflatables and climbing wall, and everyone else that offered their assistance to the day. Together we have raised another fantastic amount and I’m so pleased we surpassed last year’s total for such a worthwhile cause.”


All the funds raised at the charity match will be donated to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund and specifically the A Bed Every Night scheme. A Bed Every night provides a bed, warm welcome, and personal support for anyone who is sleeping rough or at imminent risk of sleeping rough in Greater Manchester.

For anyone who couldn’t make it on the day but would still like to support the event you can donate online at

Willow Wood are very excited to announce their new fundraiser for 2020 – The Sahara Trek!

A six-day expedition with four full days trekking through the inhospitable Sahara Desert, it will be gruelling, challenging and test you to the limits, but we can honestly say it will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.

You will be walking for up to six hours each day on the shifting sands of the desert, camping underneath the stars and eating traditional Berber cuisine. Accompanied by camels, also known as the ships of the desert, these majestic creatures will transport all the necessary equipment and provisions for your adventure.

Experienced Berber guides will be with you every step of the way, as will a qualified doctor, an experienced Trek leader, and a Willow Wood representative, to ensure that the trek runs smoothly and without incident.

You will see some of the largest dunes in the area, including those of L’erg Zahar, which are also known as the screaming dunes due to the eerie sound made by the wind whistling across the sand. However, when you make camp for the night and relax around the fire, your guide may tell tales of the village buried under the sand as the sun goes down over those very same dunes.

As well as challenging yourself to the limit, the Trek will offer a real insight into an ancient way of life. The Berbers are known to have lived in North Africa as far back as 3,000 years BCE, and with hospitality central to their culture, you will be assured of a warm welcome. Although you will be eating the delicious traditional Moroccan cuisine during the Trek, any special dietary requirements can be catered for.

To find out more about this amazing adventure, Willow Wood are inviting you to an Information Evening on Wednesday, 9 October.

Starting at 7pm this presentation will be able to answer any queries you may have about the Trek.

Please book your place by emailing

Bramall Park Golf Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in style by raising a record £20,000 for St Ann’s Hospice from its annual Charity AM AM competition.

The event, which attracted 212 golfers to one of Cheshire’s finest courses, has raised more than £195,000 for the hospice since it began 14 years ago.

The 54 teams included club Captain John Sullivan, Lady Captain Nicola Williams and President Arthur Hillgrove.

Mellor Garages scored 94 points to win on a card play-off with a team of John Fletcher, Ashley Birchall, Steve Latham and Greg Collins.

Organiser Jan Cowan said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have raised this exceptional total to mark such a special year for Bramall Park Golf Club. None of this would have been possible without the kind support of so many people.

“I’d like to thank our players, members, sponsors, local businesses, volunteers and, in particular, my committee Sue Flitt, Maria Bailey, Jane Greenwood, Jill Thomas and Di Garrett. Everyone has worked tirelessly to make the day such a success and we had a lot of fun working together for a great cause.

“We had such a memorable day and the atmosphere at the club was very special – the club was rocking from early morning to late into the evening with everyone showing warm affection for St Ann’s, a charity so close to our hearts.”

After the golf, singer Daisy Willock provided entertainment which included a sizzling summer BBQ, raffle and auction run by Steve Willock.
Main sponsors were BMW Williams, while jewellers Slack and Andrews, and Harvey’s the Jewellers, donated raffle and auction items along with other local businesses.

The club’s next Charity AM AM will be held on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, said: “The generosity of members and supporters of Bramall Park Golf Club is quite overwhelming once again and I want to thank them for this amazing donation. I’d also like to wish Bramall Park every success in their 125th year and hope they enjoy their celebrations.”


Two doctors who met through a shared love of music will join their medical colleagues for a special concert in Manchester.
Rohan Shotton (Pictured) and partner Sophie Kreppel are members of the European Doctors’ Orchestra which plays the Bridgewater Hall on Sunday October 20 (7.30pm).

The concert is in aid of St Ann’s Hospice where Rohan was once on work experience as a sixth former at William Hulme Grammar School before attending medical school.

Finding time to practice is far from easy for them both because of the nature of their work.

Rohan is Oncology Registrar at cancer treatment centre The Christie, and Sophie is Intensive Care Registrar at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.
Their schedule often prevents them from joining fellow doctors at the twice-yearly concerts.
Rohan, from Altrincham, said: “I used to push the tea trolley at St Ann’s in Heald Green and that taught me a lot about what a hospice can do for people, values which still apply today.

“St Ann’s is now enormously helpful to me professionally through my work at The Christie. We refer patients there and the two organisations are often in contact exchanging details on patient support.”
Rohan is chief percussionist with the orchestra and has performed in Essen, Rotterdam, Ljubljana and Budapest where he met Sophie, a double bass player.

Tickets for the St Ann’s concert are £22.50, including booking fee, and are available from The Bridgewater Hall (

The concert, featuring the St George’s Singers, is a dramatic and epic celebration of the human spirit. Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man will be followed by Brahms’ Song of Destiny and Symphony No. 7 Leningrad by Shostakovich.

Musicians each pay £180 to play at a concert, covering costs of a professional conductor and venue hire. It means all monies from ticket sales go directly to charities supported.

Anyone willing to sponsor the St Ann’s concert can contact Clare Henderson at the charity. (Tel: 0161 498 3631 or email

The sound of classical music filled St Ann’s Hospice as patients and staff were treated to a live concert recital.

Representatives from the European Doctors’ Orchestra were providing a taste of what to expect when it performs at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on Sunday, October 20 (7.30pm).

Their surprise visit to the day care centre at Heald Green promoted the orchestra’s autumn concert which will raise funds for St Ann’s.
Patient Brian Hughes said: “After listening to just a few members of the orchestra here, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic concert. They’re brilliant musicians and it’s wonderful that doctors from across Europe are coming to Manchester to support patients like me.”

The hospice’s Creative Therapist Ruth Labrow said: “Music unites people and is important therapy for our patients. It’s something everyone can enjoy and as expected the orchestra were extremely popular. The music was evocative, relaxing and helps patients reminisce.”
Bassoonist Kevin O’Sullivan, from Wilmslow, added: “We were overwhelmed by the reception we got at St Ann’s and are thrilled that the entire proceeds from October’s concert in The Bridgewater Hall will go towards enabling the hospice to continue their wonderful work.”

The visiting ensemble also comprised: Huw Purssell (cello); Angelika Wieck and Elaine da Costa (violin); Jenny Merren (viola) and Alfred Pollard (oboe).

Tickets for the concert priced £22.50, including booking fee, are available from The Bridgewater Hall (

The concert, celebrating the human spirit, opens with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, followed by Brahms’ Song of Destiny and Symphony No. 7 Leningrad by Shostakovich. The orchestra will be accompanied by the St George’s Singers.
The orchestra is made up of European medics who voluntarily use their spare time to perform charity concerts at different Europe-wide locations twice a year.

It’s just over a week now until the Willow Wood Midnight Wander – but there’s still time to join one of the best loved sponsored walks in the area.

It’s so easy, you can register online at or pick up a form from any of our shops or the Hospice reception. And this year, the whole family can join in! Yes, it’s no longer a ladies’ only walk, it’s open to everyone, men, women, boys and girls – you can even bring your dog!

The walk itself will set off from the Astley Sports Village at midnight, but the fun will start much earlier. There’ll be music to listen to, merchandise to buy, and refreshments to enjoy. Then, at around 11.45pm there’ll be a mass warm-up to get you ready for the start of the Midnight Wander itself at, you’ve guessed it, the stroke of midnight.

We’ll have a couple of our volunteer photographers taking photos before and after, and at strategic points along the route, so make sure you’re not only wearing your specially designed Midnight Wander T shirt, (included in the registration fee), but feel free to wear as much pink as possible. Our Hospice reception gift shop is currently selling a large selection of pink products including flashing head bands, flashing cat ears, pink wigs, pink tutus – we’re even going back in time with pink leg warmers and headbands! And if we’re unfortunate enough to have rain in the weather forecast, you’ll be able to buy a pink poncho!

Marshals will be situated at strategic points along the route to ensure you’re headed in the right direction, and they’ll also help stop any traffic to ensure safe crossing at busy junctions. In addition, a number of North West Bike Marshals will also be in attendance to ensure your safety.
There’ll be a very welcome hot sandwich waiting on your return from the 10k walk, along with a specially designed Midnight Wander medal to thank you for your support on this sponsored event. And Willow Wood will welcome every pound you manage to raise; just £20 will pay for an inpatient’s daily meals; £25 will pay for a half hour complementary therapy session, while £75 would pay for full hour of all the START Clinic’s services.

Please join with family and friends to take part in this most fun fundraising event. Join online at now, and you’ll have Willow Wood’s sincere thanks.


Willow Wood are proud to announce that the well-known, and well-loved, local celebrities Mark Llewellin and Jane Hodson will be donating their services as Master and Mistress of Ceremonies at the forthcoming Willow Ball.

Mark is a patron of the Hospice and has hosted a number of fundraising events at Daisy Nook Garden Centre, where he juggles his directorship with after-dinner speaking, hosting events and writing. Jane is also no stranger to Willow Wood, they were co-hosts of the Ashton Variety Show, produced and directed by Mark at the sadly missed Tameside Hippodrome. They have worked together for 27 years after meeting while working on a radio documentary and have delighted audiences ever since as after-dinner speakers, broadcasters and more.

The Willow Ball is being held at the Best Western Smokies Park Hotel on Saturday 5 October, with the wonderful Andy Powell and His Swing Band as the headline entertainers. This eight-piece band will be playing a mix of classic American standards together with more up-tempo hits to get everyone on the dance floor.

Elaine McConnell is the organiser of the Ball and said “I can’t tell you how much we’re all looking forward to the evening. It’s a celebration of Willow Wood’s 20 years here at the heart of our community, and we’d love as many of our supporters as possible to join us for an amazing night out. As well as the Andy Powell Band we’ll be having a number of other guests – we can’t tell you who they are, as we don’t want to spoil the fun!

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank local businesses Your Tax Shop who have taken out the Platinum Sponsorship Package and the Liz Pollard Consultancy for their Bronze Sponsorship. By making these fantastic donations, they are ensuring that more of the proceeds will come back to Willow Wood where they will be used to care for our patients and their families.”

Whether you would like to book two tickets as a special night out with a partner, or a table of ten as a thank you to clients or colleagues, Elaine urges you to book early. “We’ve already sold around half of the tables, so please don’t leave it too late.”

Just go to where you can book online, easily, quickly and securely.

Photo: The wonderful Mark Llewellin and Jane Hodson