Katharine House Hospice starts emergency survival appeal

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

The hospice

image copyrightKatharine House Hospice

image captionSome redundancies “are inevitable,” chief executive Dr Richard Soulsby said

A hospice is launching an emergency appeal to save its care services after a “major impact” on its fundraising due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Katharine House Hospice helps 1,300 adults and their families across mid-Staffordshire who are coping with progressive illness.

Four charity shops will close and about 200 staff will also take part in a consultation process to reduce costs.

The hospice is facing “difficult decisions”, its chief executive said.

Dr Richard Soulsby said the hospice, near Stafford County Hospital, has received additional funding through the NHS, local authorities and the government’s furlough scheme, but that will cease from next month.

“Donation plea”

“It was expected that the reopening of the shops would enable the hospice to be financially sustainable by using our reserves to weather the loss of income due to COVID-19,” he said.

“It is now evident that these reserves will not be sufficient in light of the higher than expected losses in the hospice’s fundraising and retail revenues.

“The hospice is now faced with difficult decisions regarding its future.”

Four stores that are unlikely to return to profit in the foreseeable future are to close and further reductions in payroll costs, which are expected to include job losses in all areas, are expected in coming weeks.

The charity said it will start its appeal next week and is asking people to make donations as the community has helped generate more than 75% of the funds to provide its services.

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Couple have wedding at hospice so terminally ill grandma can attend

The couple with Luke’s grandma (Picture: Luke Hinojosa / SWNS)

A couple who were due to have a traditional wedding decided to get married in a garden so the groom’s dying grandma could attend.

Luke Hinojosa, 24, and Abi Morgan, 27, tied the knot after organising it within a week so gran Vera Robertson could be there.

The couple had planned to marry in June but were forced to cancel their nuptials due to coronavirus lockdown rules.

They rearranged the wedding for next May but Luke was concerned his beloved nan might not live long enough.

Vera, 72, was diagnosed with myeloma cancer in 2017 and defied the odds after being given just 12 months to live.

She moved into St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln where she has been cared for ever since.

Luke and Abi from Lincoln decided to hold a special wedding ceremony at the hospice to ensure Vera could watch them walk down the aisle.

In a touching gesture, Vera was also given the role of ringbearer for the happy couple.

Luke and Abi wed at the hospice garden so Vera could attend (Picture: Luke Hinojosa / SWNS)

Bricklayer Luke, who has been with Abi, a retail worker, since 2014, said: ‘Getting married in front of my nan really made my year.

‘She was delighted and loved every moment. We had hoped to have a big family wedding in June but obviously coronavirus stopped all of that.

‘We got a new date for next May but we didn’t want to risk nan not being there.’

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Luke and his mum decided to do something that would ensure Vera could attend.

‘It went from there, this crazy idea that we had three days to prepare for what was a wedding,’ added Luke.

‘It was absolutely fantastic. It’s been the best thing to come out of 2020 as a family.’

The staff at the hospice helped arrange the courtyard into a wedding venue.

They put balloons up and and sorted Vera’s bed so she would have the best spot at the wedding.

The happy couple (Picture: SWNS)

Luke continued: ‘It meant the absolute world to us and my nan wouldn’t stop saying how honoured she felt that we’d all thought of her.

‘We couldn’t stop smiling and just couldn’t be happier that she had a little ray of sunshine out of what has been a really awful year.

‘As a family, it brought us so much closer and made us realise not to take anything for granted.’

Due to the new coronavirus rules, just six people attended the ceremony before the hospice held a drinks reception outside.

Writing on their Facebook page, a spokesperson for the hospice said: ‘A hospice truly is so much more than “a place you go to die”.

‘Countless families have made lasting memories in our hospice, which is so humbling to see. We help people to live as best they can for the time they have left.’

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