Two hospices celebrate a year to remember

TWO hospices are celebrating a landmark year as 2013 draws to a close.

St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House marked their 40th and 10th birthdays respectively this year, with a packed calendar of events and activities.

In 1968, anaesthetist Dr Francis Gusterson launched an appeal to raise the money needed to build a home designed for people with terminal illnesses.

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Thanks to the generosity of local people, the appeal was a success and in January 1973, St Barnabas House opened its doors to the local community.

Since then, the hospice has cared for thousands of patients and their families in the areas of Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield.

The charity has further developed its services, changing considerably, but always retaining the St Barnabas House ethos – to provide specialist palliative care for patients with advanced progressive life-limiting illnesses and support for their families.

This year’s anniversary activities have included the day hospice ruby-themed summer party, the in-patient unit tea party, chief executive Hugh Lowson’s 40th care week and the Serendipity Ball, the Night to Remember Midnight Walk and the very first Santa Dash.

There was also an extra special 40th anniversary reception which showcased the 40th anniversary film.

There have been more than 800 hours gifted to St Barnabas House by Community Companions, a brand-new service consisting of volunteers who provide social and practical support to patients and their carers.

Chestnut Tree House has helped hundreds of life-limited children and their families since it was opened in November 2003.

There are up to 1,000 families with life-limited children in Sussex and Chestnut Tree House offers specialist palliative care both at the hospice and out in the community in families’ own homes.

This year, in celebration of the last decade, there have been many exciting activities in celebration of 10 years of hospice care at Chestnut Tree House.

Highlights have included director of children’s services Linda Perry’s 10 fund-raising challenges, visits to the house from various celebrities including Anne Diamond and Mickey Mouse, the 10th birthday shopping spree, birthday messages from Dame Judy Dench, Peter Andre, Dick and Dom, Linda Lusardi and Hugh Bonneville, the Night to Remember Midnight Walk in Eastbourne, the Chestnut Tree House Birthday 10k Coastal Run and the Snowman Spectacular Fundraising Ball which raised £265,551.

Linda Perry said: “Thank you to everyone who has been part of our 10th cycle or skydived, baked cakes for sale, volunteered, bought something in one of our shops, played the Chestnut Tree House Lottery or many other activities.

“Here’s to 2014 and the next 10 years of children’s hospice care!”