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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • What does Mothers Day mean to you?

    This month on 30th March its Mothers' Day...



    Whilst Mothers' Day is traditionally a day for spoiling your mum and letting her know how much you appreciate her, we wondered about the history of Mothers' Day... where did it start and why do we celebrate on that one day per year?

    And what about those who have sadly lost their mums... what does Mothers Day mean for them?

    We thought we would do a little investigating to find out why...

    Mothers Day or Mothering Sunday?

    In the UK we traditionally celebrate Mothering Sunday (as opposed to Mothers Day) however overtime most people have started to use the term Mothers Day more widely.

    Mothers Day or Mothering Sunday is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Sunday of lent (the 30th March this year) although many people remain unacquainted with the religious beginnings of the day...

    It all started during the 16th century when people returned to their mother church, the main church or cathedral of the area, for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone "a-mothering", although whether this term preceded the observance of Mothering Sunday is unclear. In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since on other days they were prevented by conflicting working hours, and servants were not given free days on other occasions...

    In time.... Children and young people who were "in service" (as household servants) were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families (or, originally, return to their "mother" church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers.

    Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers.


    How do you celebrate?

    In 2014 most people will celebrate Mothers' Day by giving cards and gifts and spending time together as a family. Young children will make cards and handmade gifts in schools and grown up children will gift flowers, candles, gift cards, trinkets and things for the home.

    Up and down the country, pubs and restaurants will be fully booked as children treat their mums to a special dinner, giving most hard working mums a well deserved day off and letting them know how much they are loved and appreciated, not just on that one day per year, but all year around.

    Other people prefer to simply spend time together, or they might pop in lunch, cook big family dinners or maybe just have a cup of tea together.

    Some people don't celebrate or acknowledge Mothers Day at  all, preferring to choose their own time to let their mum know how much they care.

    Mothers Day means different things to each and every person - be it spiritual, religious or a day to show you care.... and however people choose to celebrate (or not) that's what is so lovely about the diverse world that we live in.

    For the mums no longer with us...

    For those who have lost their mums, Mothers' Day is a particularly difficult day.  Here at Sue Ryder we know how this day can produce mixed emotions for many people... loosing a parent is one of the hardest things many people will have to go through in their lives and days like Mothers' day and Fathers' Day can tough to say the least... 

    We have a competition running on Facebook  at the moment where we have asked people to tell us why their mum is or was so special and some of the responses have had us smiling, laughing, identifying and crying...

    We thought we would share a few here with you...

    "my mum was kind hearted she was there for everyone including strangers. she was a fantastic grandmother for the short time she got to spend with her grandkids. she was the greatest mum ever to me shes my hero. she taught me how to be strong xx"

    "My mums battled with the big 'C' now twice in the last five years, every time she's had bad news she's remained so positive and strong, she's the most determined woman I know. Love her to bits x"

    "My mum is one in a million , as she has epilepsy, works her finger to the bone looking after us and everyone else, even though we protest, bakes us lush cakes and never complains."

    "My mum is so special, this time last year she lost my dad to pancreatic cancer and at the age of 58 had to start her life over, she got herself a job and stays so positive and brave through everything and she even finds time to help me out with my son who has autism! She is super mum! I'm so proud of her xxxx"

    "I don't have a mum any more as she passed away a few years ago but I do have a great mum-in-law. She treats me like her own daughter and is always there for me, we're so close, I love her to bits, she's one in a million!"

    "My mum was special because she was amazing in every way despite suffering so much through illness before she died she was always courageous brave and so kind and selfless always wanting to lend a hand to anyone and always a happy positive person.. And not only my special mum but my best friend forever xxxx"

    "My mum is 79 and still bakes the most amazing cakes that she sells for a local charity  I love her to bits xx"

    "She is a truly lovely lady who I admire. At 72 she has the energy of a 20 year old and never fails to amaze me how she overcomes the most trying times" 

    "thank you. You are the first to ask 'was' so special. My mother just gave love. It was reflected in everything she did for me and her grandchildren. I am an only child and even though she had wanted more, it wasn't to be. The best I can do is to try to be that kind of Mum/Grandma"

    "My mum deserves a lovely treat for being such a fab nan to her six grandchldren, she;s always there at the drop of a hat and still manages to find time to do lots of local charity work"

    We would like to thank everyone for sharing... pop over to Facebook to see more lovely posts.

    Please feel free to add your comments below and whatever and however you are celebrating this Mothers' Day - from all here at the Sue Ryder Online Shop Team - we wish you a wonderful and happy day xx

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  • It’s the little things...

    Why do we raise funds through our shops?




    Because in addition to all the hard work our fundraisers do, our shops (both online and on the high street) provide vital funds to help provide incredible care at our centers around the UK.

    Below we hear from Rachel Henry - a nurse at Thorpe Hall Hospice...

    It’s the little things...

    It was a young woman’s pink heaven. I looked around the room, taking in the scent from the many bouquets of  pink roses, the gaily coloured balloons and bunting hearts tied to the furniture. Lara lay in the bed, pale against the delicate pink sheets.

    "I can hardly see you amid all the pink - it’s like candy floss city," ..... I said to her. Lara opened her eyes and smiled weakly back: "It’s my favourite colour. I just wanted to be surrounded by it. Look at all the hearts – my family and friends have each done one. Thank you for helping me have this."

    Lara, who was in her early 20s, was dying from breast cancer. One of her final wishes was to have her favourite pink sheets from home put on her hospice bed, along with her favourite quilt – which we arranged. As she nestled back, looking relaxed and peaceful, it brought home to me again that it is the little things that mean the most to our patients.

    A privilege...

    That’s just one of the reasons why I feel it is a privilege to nurse them – especially amid the nurturing atmosphere of Thorpe Hall hospice in Peterborough. I always say I work in intensive care, because that’s how I see it. It’s just at the hospice it’s ‘intensive’ in a different way, without machines, tubes and wires. We offer true intensive care on a one-to-one basis. We might only have a patient for two days but it is such an intense time, it can seem like a year as we get to know them and their loved ones in a way that is very hard to achieve in a busy hospital ward.
    We look after patients like we would want our family to be cared for and treated. I get such a sense of satisfaction out of that one aspect of my work.


    Having a terminal illness means you focus on what is important in the life you have. That was brought home to me when I recently helped organise a patient’s wedding. John and Sue had been together for over 20 years though never got round to marrying. He was in his late 50s and was close to death.
    He’d been with us for a few days and was rapidly declining. After a dreadful night when it was touch and go whether he would survive, he was sitting at his bedside when Sue arrived in the morning.
    There and then, he proposed to her. As soon as we heard, we got out the champagne and bunting.

    Kindness of strangers...

    We knew time was not on his side so that afternoon we rang the registry office to sort out the service and legalities, then put out appeals on Twitter and the kindness of strangers soon saw a cake, buffet and a photographer’s services all offered free for the wedding the next day. We even made our own confetti using a hole punch and lots of spare coloured paper!
    The wedding was set for 3.30pm - we rolled out a red carpet in the ward leading to two large chairs where the bride and groom would sit. We helped dress John in a nice shirt and trousers. Though he was in a lot of pain, we controlled that and he looked suitably dapper.
    Two of our health care assistants did hair and nails for Sue and some of the guests. John’s brother, who lived in the Middle East, managed to fly over for the service - they’d not seen each other for years and the two men were thrilled to be reunited.
    The service was lovely and afterwards we arranged the buffet in the day room. Sue and John looked so happy. I think managing to get married to her after all their years together gave him an inner peace. When John died two days later, his bride was at his side, holding his hand.
    It’s such a supportive atmosphere between staff and patients. Some people might find it hard to believe, but families often tell us the stay their loved ones had here was a special time.

    I wouldn't swap it for anything...

    There is no form of nursing like it. One patient told her daughter that I was `like her personal maid’ – it made us all laugh.
    I wouldn’t swap my work for anything. Often when I am sitting, chatting with a patient, I think back to my teenage school days in Bangor, Northern Ireland, when the careers teacher asked me what I wanted to be. I straight away said that I would love to be a nurse.`Oh no, you’ll never make it – you’re in the B Grade,’ she said dismissively. And with that she squashed my hopes and dreams to work in the one job I really wanted.

    Becoming a nurse...

    After I left school aged 18, I began work as a care assistant – at least I was doing something like nursing, I told myself. I met my accountant husband Brian, now 45, and we married when I was 22 and went onto have three children – Simon, now 22, Laura, 20, and Andrew, 16. So my 20s and 30s were spent raising out family.
    Fourteen years ago, we moved to England for Brian’s work and while the children were at school, I worked as a nursing auxiliary at the hospice. I loved it and knew it was my calling, so in between running the home I studied full time and in 2006 I qualified as a nurse.
    My first post two months later was back at the hospice as a ward nurse. I couldn’t imagine now working anywhere else.

    It's an honor...

    Of course, you cannot help but be deeply affected by being here. One of my children’s former teachers was a patient. She was a lovely lady, just 36 with an 18-month-old son. My children had loved her at school so it was quite emotional to care for her. We helped arrange the baby’s christening at the hospice chapel. As I nursed her, she told me she had no regrets and was not bitter at her fate. She was a very gracious lady and I saw looking after her as my way of thanking her for teaching my children. I shed more tears than normal for her.
    Today, I work part-time on the ward and am now a staff nurse but I also train student nurses – sharing my experiences with them. Working here has opened my eyes to all life – and made me grateful for what I have. It is an honour to care for our patients.

    Rachel Henry - Staff Nurse, Thorpe Hall

    To view more Incredible Stories - visit the Thorpe Hall Microsite -

    *Patients’ names have been changed.

  • Handmade Competition...


    Sue Ryder New Goods launch competition to find new products...

    We are extremely excited to announce this incredibly special competition to find the very best of the UK's handmade gifts to feature on our new Sue Ryder New Goods Website.

    We are going to be scouring the country to find up to ten limited edition products to add to a special featured category - "Handmade" - on the website...


    The Opportunity...

    Sue Ryder New Goods are looking for small UK based businesses or sole traders specialising in unique hand crafted gifts.

    Entrants must be able to produce 25 (possibly more depending on demand) unique 'limited edition' products that we can sell to our dedicated Sue Ryder customers through our online shop.

    This is an amazing opportunity for UK crafters who would like their products to feature on a national charity shop’s website and we are now calling for entries for this new category on our website.

    Over the next few months we are going to be inviting entries, holding a national online vote via our Facebook Page, and the top ten products with the most votes will go on to feature on our website as part of this limited collection of handmade gifts...

    Have you got a product people would love?

    Our entry guidelines are below, but what we are looking for are unique products that will compliment our existing ranges.... think vintage inspired, retro goodies, shabby chic, beautiful home and gardening gifts and traditional children's toys and games...

    Visit our online shop to get an idea of what we do...

    Public Vote…

    All winners will be chosen by a public vote via the Facebook page, so it’s down to entrants to bang the drum and get people voting for your products and hopefully get your products and your business featured on our site...

    We believe this is a fantastic way to get your products to a national market and support our charity work here at Sue Ryder...

    To find out more about what we do at Sue Ryder - please visit our main website -

    How people can enter...

    Entries are via the competition app on our Facebook page:

    Please include…

    • The name of your business or yourself if a sole trader.
    • A high quality photo and description of the product you are entering with
    • A Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for your product*


    *Sue Ryder New Goods will pay the wholesale price of winning products via invoice on a sale or return basis. Please ensure you have this in mind. As a guide the wholesale price is usually around 1/3 of the recommended retail price.

    Key Dates...

    • Entries and voting are open between 9.00am on the 12th March 2014 and Midnight on the 5th May 2014
    • Winners will be chosen by public vote and announced via our Facebook Page on 12th May 2014
    • 25 of each winning product must be received by 26th May 2014
    • Items will go on sale 1st June 2014

    Many thanks

    The Sue Ryder Online Shop Team


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    Sue Ryder Handmade Competition Rules for Entry



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