Local hospices celebrate funding boost

Two local hospices are celebrating receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds of extra government funding.

Staff and volunteers at St Cuthbert's hospice celebrate

St Cuthbert’s Hospice, based in Merryoaks, and Willow Burn Hospice, based in Lanchester, have each been granted around £300,000 by the Department of Health to improve their facilities for patients.

Paul Marriott, Chief Executive of St Cuthbert’s Hospice, says that they plan to use their allocation of £282,369 to refurbish in-patient rooms and improve patient travel to the hospice.

He said: “This grant is absolutely fantastic news in our 25th year, and will enable us to make great improvements which will benefit both patients and their families here at St Cuthbert’s.

“This grant means that the money we raise locally, which we rely on, can continue to go towards providing the services needed by our community.”

Willow Burn Hospice, which opened in 1989, is planning to use its allocation of £356,438 to start on building a more modern facility which will eventually replace the existing hospice.

The Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, announced the grants as part of £60 million of funding for improving hospices across England. In total ten North East hospices will benefit from £3 million of funds.

Mr Lamb said: “These funds will help hospices across the North East provide dignified, compassionate, high quality care and support to people and their families at what is a difficult time in their lives.”

Thieves steal cross ahead of traditional dawn service

THIEVES stole a 10-foot cross built on a remote moor for a traditional service to celebrate Easter.

Methodist minister the Reverend Les Nevin, who has led the short communion service on the outskirts of Consett for the last seven years, had placed the wooden cross on Waskerley Moor during Lent in preparation for the service.

But only a few days later he discovered that the cross had disappeared, sawn from its concealed concrete base below soil level and taken away.

Reverend Nevin said: “I could hardly believe my eyes when I returned and there was no trace of the cross. It was almost like an empty tomb experience”.

Not to be deterred, Reverend Nevin spent several hours on the Saturday evening before the service carving a larger, replacement cross out of snow.

The service could go ahead as normal at dawn on Easter Day, although the snow cross has since melted away. Reverend Nevin also had a message for whoever had removed the cross, saying: “If you still have the cross I’d like to collect it and use it elsewhere.

“However if you are so short of wood that you need to take a cross I’d be pleased to give you the £26 it cost me to buy the wood so you can buy some more.”