Marie praises care of hospice she helped fundraise for 30 years ago!
The leading lady from a pantomime performed by Hoghton Women’s Institute back in 1983 in support of the St Catherine’s Hospice Appeal Fund has praised the care of the hospice which she now visits each week for day therapy.
Marie Gregson has been a member of Hoghton WI since 1968, and back in the early eighties the group put on a pantomime production of Aladdin in which she played a starring role. All proceeds from the first night were donated to the Hospice Appeal Fund, which enabled St Catherine’s to open two years later.
Now, more than 30 years on, Marie attends day therapy at St Catherine’s, which in 2015 is celebrating its 30th anniversary and three decades of providing specialised care and support to local people.
Marie, who has cancer, said: “Before I came into contact with St Catherine’s I wasn’t aware of the work they do in day therapy – I, like many people I think, believed people only came here at the end of their lives.
“To be honest at first I wasn’t sure it would be for me – but I’m glad I gave it a chance as I very much enjoy coming. I like the friendships I’ve made and the people I meet. I enjoy having a massage which is great for helping me to relax, and I visit the hairdresser which leaves you feeling better. I know the nurses and the doctor are there with advice if anything is bothering me, and I know they’ll help in the best possible way they can.”
It was while looking through an old scrapbook that Marie discovered a newspaper clipping about the Aladdin show, as well as a photograph of her in costume with two other stars from the performance.
“It brought it all back to me,” Marie, aged 81 and from Hoghton, said: “It certainly doesn’t seem more than 30 years ago!
“But it was a different world back then – we each made our own costumes, and there was none of the fancy lighting or microphones that they have now.
“I remember everyone being very keen to get involved with fundraising for the hospice. It was close to many people’s hearts and the feeling was that if there was going to be one, then we would do what we could to support it. Although there wasn’t much known about hospices then, we understood it was a very worthwhile thing to get involved with.
“Of course at that time – I was 49 when I played Aladdin – I did it thinking I’d never have need to go there. Now I have had personal experience of St Catherine’s, I appreciate even more how important places like this are. Three decades on, I hope other groups are inspired to help the hospice and ensure its good work can continue.”
As St Catherine’s marks its milestone anniversary it has devised a ’30th birthday gift list’ containing 30 things it would like the community’s help to achieve during 2015. Items include everything from pieces of medical equipment, to improvements around the hospice and people taking part in 30th anniversary events including the Big Charity Bike Ride on May 17 and the Moonlight and Memories Walk on June 6.
For more information about how you, your club, school or business can get involved click here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 695290.
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