Sparkles, cinema and running shoes

Not the three items I’d take to a desert island but three events Ashgate Hospicecare have planned.

Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Ashgate Hospicecare

Ashgate Hospicecare has earned a place in many people’s hearts, for the care and support they’ve given patients and their families during their last days of life. A time when dignity and respect is so important, reflected in everything they do at the Hospice.

The Hospice turns 30 this year. They’ve come a long way since the early days, but the emphasis placed on patient care in 1988 was the same then as it is now.

A mere 28% of the hospice funds come from government, the remaining 72% is secured via fundraising activities, the charity shops and a high percentage comes from legacies left in patient’s wills.
To meet the target, Ashgate have a series of fundraising events scheduled throughout the year and it’s through these that a slice of the funding is achieved. Amy Buxton, from the Communications Team at Ashgate Hospicecare, and was keen to talk me through the events happening through to the end of the year.

“The Markovitz Ltd Sparkle Night Walk on 7 July will see almost 3,000 people taking part in the 10km night walk, dressed in pink. Last year, Sparkle walkers raised an incredible £232,185 and this year we hope to raise even more through sponsorship, entry and donations” says Amy. “Many walkers enter as local businesses or groups of friends coming together for a good cause. The atmosphere is fantastic as the walkers light up the way through the night, kicking off with a warm up party at the Proact stadium at 10pm.”

Friday 10 and Saturday 11 August will give cinema-goers a chance to enjoy an outdoor film, at the Open Air Cinema on the meadow at Ashgate Hospicecare. Doors open at 7:30pm for films at 9pm… don’t forget your camping chair or picnic blanket! This year there will be two films, The Greatest Showman on Saturday night and Bridget Jones’s Baby on Friday. As a fund-raising event there is a ‘suggested donation’ of £10.

The Summer Fair will also take place on Saturday 11 August, again on the meadow, between 11am and 4pm. A great family day out with rides, stalls, food, bar, live music and much more. Entry is just £2 and under 16s go free.

The Redbrick Chesterfield Half Marathon on 21 October is a great way to raise funds, and if you raise more than £100 in sponsorship Ashgate Hospicecare will refund your entry fees. Take a look at the event on the website or for the story of Karen Walker, Ward Manager, who recently took up the Couch to 5K running challenge and is now working towards the Chesterfield half marathon, her story is an inspiration to anyone looking to start running for health and fitness.

The Hospice also secure places in the London and Manchester marathons each year for people interested in these events – to find out more call the Events Team on 01246 233404.

30 for 30: Volunteering at Ashgate Hospicecare

“We launched ‘30 for 30’ this year to get more people volunteering for the Hospice” says Amy. “We’d like people to donate 30 hours of their time in 2018 for Ashgate’s 30th anniversary. A number of people have volunteered their services already but there’s still half the year left and it would be great to get more people involved.”

Whatever your skills, you will be able to find a volunteering role for you at Ashgate. “Whether it’s fundraising, gardening, clerical work, public speaking – we need people to go out and raise awareness of what we do. Or maybe marshalling at events is more your thing” explains Amy. “Retail experience, reception, driving, you name it, it all helps!”

If you would like to volunteer please give them a call. They are keen to hear from you and welcome younger volunteers; school students, college students etc. It’s a great way to gain valuable experience to support applications for university or job searching, whilst also giving something back to the community.

Right now they are developing a dementia courtyard, a sensory space with plants at different heights so wheelchair users can experience the plants… most of which are edible! They will be needing more volunteers to help maintain this and people to help with the Horticultural Project; giving patients the opportunity to grow their own plants.

A Very Brief History

Ashgate Hospicecare opened on 10 October 1988 following a huge fund raising cycle by Dr Dick Atkinson, it was staffed by Mary O’Dowd their first matron. On Sunday 7 October this year they’ll be holding a service to celebrate.

Hospice services

The day hospice was added in 2005 and enables patients to benefit from treatment for one day a week, including all medical care, social time, activities, complementary therapies etc. They also provide ‘Hospice at Home’ a service that provides specialist nurses, support workers and a full set of services in the patients home.

Alongside the patient specific work, the Hospice provide supportive care to those going through the bereavement process, trained counsellors, art thearapist etc, Chaplains providing spiritual and emotional support, and these services are available to both adults and children.

The Hospice provide over 2,500 visits to people in the home each year, through the nurses who now work 7 days a week and supported by an advice line for help and assistance and to cover the weekends. This is all aimed at avoiding people having to be moved into hospital, to instead be supported in their own homes.

The Harry Fisher Building

A recent addition to Ashgate Hospicecare is the café, situated in a newly refurbished building, the Harry Fisher Building, which was completed in January 2017. The café is open to all and is a great place to stop off after having a browse around the shop in reception.

The building was named after a generous legacy left to the hospice by Harry Fisher in his will. The money enabled the hospice to cover much of the cost of the work needed, with a large grant from the Wolfson Foundation, enabling the new space to open.

Other ways to support

It takes an army of people to deliver the fantastic services at Ashgate Hospicecare, 1000 people are involved at Ashgate Hospicecare, around 300 full time staff and 700 volunteers.

If you’d like to know more about volunteering at the hospice please get in touch, it could be something as small as a few hours a week, to helping out in the shops or you could undertake a 177 mile walk like Paul & Joe mentioned in the last edition!

Ashgate Hospicecare Lottery is an easy way to donate, from £1 per week you can donate money and, from 13 July onwards, be in with the chance of winning up to £25,000! Visit

If you’re a business why not come up with your own way of helping, here at S40 Local, the £5 charge for selling items/classifieds over £200 will be totted up at the year end and donated to Ashgate Hospicecare.

Fresh Ideas Team Story

“Absolutely anybody can do it – no excuses!”

Ebony and Sam, from Fresh Ideas on Chatsworth Road, explained why they are walking the Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk.

E: We’ve been walking the Sparkle Night Walk for four years. I started to walk it for my grandad and then I spoke to Sam to see if she wanted to walk it as a team. At the shop, we always have a donation bucket out for Ashgate as that’s the charity we choose to support. If a customer has any change or gives us a tip it all goes in the bucket, it adds up.

S: We appreciate the work of the Hospice and that’s why we started doing the walk. Almost everyone you speak to has a connection to Ashgate. Two of my best friends have died over the past few years and they were both cared for by Ashgate. One of them went into the Hospice and then came out and was supported at home, so she got to die where she wanted. Since then we’ve fundraised quite a lot.

The Sparkle Night Walk is really good and the mood is always very up beat, especially near the main stage when everybody’s lining up and they’re all jolly and eager to get going. We always try and get near the main stage.

We’re really excited about Jake Quickenden this year so we’re going to get right to the front to see him! People here have got a lot of time for Jake because he’s had to go through having cancer in his family and losing his brother and his dad. I think it’ll make even more people sign up. We hope he talks about it at the event too because cancer is still such a taboo subject – the ‘C’ word – and people are still afraid to talk about it.

E: Everyone’s there for the same reason and it brings us all together.

S: I think Jake’s going to be shocked by the size of the event and the whole atmosphere!

E: It’s quite a sight to see all the flashing ears walking down the bypass! The whole town gets excited and there are even people on the street waving at you as you walk. Everybody wants to be a part of it. You’re part of a team and you have a giggle as you go along.

S: Random folk you don’t know come up and chat to you, it’s really nice. When you’re all finished and you go to get your food and your cup of tea or hot chocolate, everyone stands around chatting to each other and people ask you why you’re doing it.

We go all out – I wore bright pink trousers, a pink wig and had glitter all over my face! Nobody cares what you look like though because everyone knows you’re raising money for a really good cause and it helps if people know you’re going to dress up crazy to raise the sponsorship money.

I think more people should do it. My sister’s got a brain injury and she has done the walk. Last year we pushed her in her wheelchair and then, when we got near the end, she got out and walked over the finish line, so absolutely anybody can do it – no excuses!

E: I’d say, whether you’re a business or a group of friends, just sign up! Or, if you didn’t want to walk 10k, you could all sign up to be volunteers or marshalls and then you can still wear your pink wigs, ra-ra skirts and glitter – that goes for the men and women!

S: It would be great to see other businesses getting involved, all you need to do is get a team together and sign up. Do it for the Hospice, and do it as a team. It’s about team effort.