Rotary clubs’ gift for St Catherine’s
Rotary clubs in Preston and Canada joined forces in an exciting project to build a new footbridge as an extra special 30th birthday gift for St Catherine’s Hospice.
Longridge & North Preston and Preston South Rotary Clubs, as well as the Rotary Club of Halifax Harbourside in Nova Scotia, worked together to fund and manage the bridge construction, highlighting not only their amazing generosity but also making use of club members’ skills and expertise.
The River Lostock is an attractive feature of St Catherine’s parkland in Lostock Hall but it also creates difficulties for patients and visitors. The new footbridge will transform access to the hospice building for thousands of people and has been specially designed for wheel chairs and those with walking difficulties to help them reap the benefits of the therapeutic grounds.
It was presented to the hospice as part of their 30th anniversary Give a Gift appeal –run in partnership with the Lancashire Evening Post – which centres on 30 ways individuals, groups, schools and businesses can support St Catherine’s during 2015.
A second footbridge has been needed for some time as the number of patients, visitors, families, volunteers, staff and other healthcare workers coming to St Catherine’s – which is recognised now as a centre of excellence in specialised care – has grown.
The £30,000 project has been funded by the Longridge and North Preston and Preston South Rotary Clubs and the Nova Scotia Club – who are keen to see a hospice opened in their local community in Canada.
Since the charity first opened its doors in 1985, it has had constant feedback from patients and families exuding the benefits they have enjoyed from the beautiful Lostock Hall estate and parkland.
As the hospice has grown and cared for more and more patients, a second car park was needed but it has lacked direct access to the main building because of the River Lostock. The new footbridge now makes that possible and at the same time provides access into some of the most picturesque areas of the grounds.
As well as patients currently being cared for, some people visit St Catherine’s because they are anxious about hospice care and want to know more, whilst others come for reassurance and reflection as they remember a loved one.
The ‘Light up a Life’ ceremony in December is a moving and poignant occasion that attracts hundreds of people but in addition, many people also come on their own special days throughout the year, such as anniversaries or birthdays, to walk in the grounds, light a candle in the chapel and share a meal with friends in The Mill café.
Over the years, St Catherine’s has become a special place in the lives of tens of thousands of families throughout Central Lancashire and whilst not wishing to disturb patients currently being cared for, the parkland offers a place of reflection for all in those special moments that really matter.
For younger generations, a new joint project with South Ribble Borough Council will draw in schoolchildren to learn lessons from the terrible losses of WWI through a new centenary memorial and, at the same time, provide understanding around the loss of a friend or relative.
The beautiful Rotary footbridge will help thousands of people to come and feel the rejuvenation of St Catherine’s parkland, it will be of benefit to young and old, for current patients and surviving relatives.
Preston North Treasurer Norman Loan said: “This is where the theme of ‘building bridges’ became even more apparent – because, by co-incidence, around the same time we were discussing funding the project for St Catherine’s, one of our members was introduced to a Rotary Club member from Halifax Harbourside in Nova Scotia.
“They were keen to back our bridge project, and very interested to find out more about St Catherine’s because they have undertaken a study into setting up a hospice in their local area. Canada does not currently have an equivalent organisation to the UK’s hospice movement and were keen to make contact with St Catherine’s Hospice to help with their study and research. So, not only is the project about the physical bridge in the hospice grounds, it is also about the international bridges and connections which are being made in order to share experiences, expertise and advice around the hospice movement and hospice care.”
St Catherine’s Hospice Chief Executive Stephen Greenhalgh, who met with representatives from the Nova Scotia branch, said: “We are only too happy to share our insights and experiences into hospice care and hope the relationship will continue as their research and plans develop.
“Everyone at St Catherine’s Hospice is extremely grateful for the collaborative work that has gone into this project, which is a truly wonderful gift for our 30th anniversary. The new footbridge is a great boost for St Catherine’s Park– making it easier for so many people at different stages in their life to benefit from and enjoy our beautiful grounds.
“For the last 30 years, St Catherine’s has continued to be in the hearts of so very many local people and we want it to continue to be at the heart of our local communities. This beautiful footbridge creates much needed new access that will benefit far more people than our generous donors could possibly imagine or hope for. It is a community bridge in every sense of the word and we are greatly indebted to our marvellous Rotary clubs for this fantastic achievement. Its message is quite simply ‘welcome ‘.”
Norman added: “The Preston Rotary clubs already have a strong relationship with St Catherine’s following the success of the regeneration project carried out on the walled garden a few years ago in addition to other projects that have been undertaken by both Clubs in the past.
“We were only too happy to build on this with the work around the new footbridge and look forward to seeing the positive difference it will make to the grounds and those people who use them. We’re delighted to back St Catherine’s 30th anniversary Give a Gift campaign and hope others will be inspired to show their support for such a wonderful local charity as it celebrates its milestone year.”
Share with your friends!