The middle of November signals an important event at the Hospice.  It is another opportunity to gather in some more money to fund the work of the Hospice, which has to be an unceasing activity.  Why?  Read the back of the Hospice Christmas cards to find a really concise summary:   “All care is given to patients totally free of charge, but is not without cost”. A further comment is that care is given for 365 days on behalf of those for whom cure is no longer possible, but care is.

Like other patients, this is something that I know only too well, and I am very conscious of, and very grateful for, the various sources of income such as donations, legacies and the Hospice Lottery.  Additionally there are various sponsored activities and all sorts of events which people organise on behalf of the Hospice, and it is really heart-warming to read about their efforts.

However, the Christmas Fayre is a little bit special, because it is held at the Hospice in Telford and provides a great opportunity for all sorts of folks to visit the Hospice.  For me, it seems more like a big family gathering with many people I know and smiling faces all around.

I went along fairly early this year and found Helen, who is in charge of the Day Hospice, busy involved with others in selling tickets for some kind of raffle.  What it was for, I don’t really know because I was too busy nattering away!  Nearby was Santa also selling tickets for a raffle: this was for a large white teddy bear that was immensely appealing.

As I went down the corridor, I encountered some of the complementary therapists who were raising money by giving various kinds of massages.  One of them was Sue, who has always held a special spot in my affections because she was the first member of the Hospice staff whom I met when I began my association with the Hospice.  Another natter!  Then I passed on down to a room where Carol was selling some of her wares.  Carol has been attending the Day Hospice on a Tuesday for longer than me, although she is currently having a bit of a break.  She is very creative when it comes to crafts, and I was able to buy some small linen bags made in festive material.  These were beautiful and just what I wanted to put some little stocking fillers in.  Of course, this meant another bit of a chat before I moved on.

More arts and crafts to see a bit further along, and then I went into the day room where some of the possibilities included various tombolas. On one of these I was successful in winning some relaxing bath foam (which meant I could cross it off my next planned home delivery order).  I also won some assorted shower gels, which looked to be a useful gift for my grandchildren.

The next offerings were some lovely cuddly toys, mainly Disney characters including Tigger, Winnie the Pooh and so on.  I tried to sneak by here, but was persuaded to buy some tickets despite my protestations that my daughter would murder me if I were to come back with any more cuddly toys for her children!  Almost inevitably I won, and came away with a Pooh character dressed in academic garb, holding a diploma and wearing a mortar board.  This seemed a very appropriate gift for my grand-daughter, who has just started at Wolverhampton Girls’ High School.  (Incidentally, my daughter has taken it in good part – perhaps because I showed it to her when she had come over to store some more of her items at my house)

Yet another tombola in the day room, and this one was a bottle stall.  My run of luck continued as I won a large bottle of sherry.  I knew just what I would do with that, so on the following Tuesday I brought it along to the Day Hospice to add to the collection on the drinks trolley.  By now I was in need of refreshment, and a cup of tea and a biscuit were to be had, along with a seat, just around the corner.  Of course there were more people that I knew, so the time passed pleasantly for a quarter of an hour.

I was then sufficiently refreshed to take a look at the range of home-made offerings ranging from cakes and biscuits through to pickled onions. Whilst doing so I saw one of the nurses who used to look after us in the Day Hospice at Telford.  She is now mainly based at Shrewsbury and it was a good chance to catch up on things.

By this time I realised that my bag of acquisitions was feeling rather heavy and awkward to manage with my two sticks.  Having decided to head for home, I met Leah, who is responsible for putting these entries of mine onto the Hospice website.  Leah has very recently married, which meant that I really had to have a chat with her about weddings and honeymoons.  She then kindly offered to carry my bag along to my car.  That was much appreciated, but as we went along I said that I felt that I was running out of ideas for things to write about.  Of course, she knew this already, but when I suggested that I make way for someone else to write reasonably regularly on the website, she was in no mood to take my resignation just yet.

Hence this piece, I guess, but I am really pleased to have been able to record some of my feelings about the morning.  Once again I left the Hospice feeling enlivened and enriched, and with some fresh happy memories to sustain me.

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