Christmas with St Christopher's

Today is the 18th of December

7 days until Christmas Day!

19 December
Get your Christmas jumper out
20 December
Santa's almost ready for his trip now
21 December
Best finish those last bits of wrapping
22 December
FriYAY – almost Christmas!
23 December
Things are getting exciting
24 December
Eek, Christmas Eve!
25 December
Merry Christmas from everyone at St Christopher’s
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Kick off December at our Christmas Festival!

What better way to get feeling all Christmassy than by coming along to our Festival this Saturday 2 December

There you can tuck in to some yummy festive food, and enjoy shopping and entertainment. There will be stalls full of lovely handmade gifts and produce and children will be able to visit Santa in his grotto, enjoy a magic show and even take a horse and carriage ride!

The festival is Saturday 2 December 2017 from 11am to 3pm at St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham.

Tickets can be bought on the day with adults costing just £1 and kids go free! See you there!

Find out more

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Celebrating our Young Adults Group

As the year draws to a close and we look forward to Christmas, we’re using today to celebrate our Young Adults Group

Watch the video

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Help people like Rebecca this Christmas

Rebecca is 44 and living with a terminal diagnosis of breast cancer which has spread to her brain. She has one goal: to be independent this Christmas.

Read Rebecca's story

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Singing Out at St Christopher’s

"I really enjoy the singing group, it brightens my day! It lifts you and helps you relax and I look forward to coming and singing with everyone," says Pat Gosling, from West Wickham, who is a regular at the ‘Catch Your Breath’ singing sessions at St Christopher’s Orpington site, Caritas House.

The Catch Your Breath singing group was set-up as an activity to support patients experiencing breathlessness. Breathlessness can be distressing and exhausting, and so patients experiencing these symptoms are invited to attend a Breathlessness Group at St Christopher’s where they receive practical advice on coping with breathlessness in their everyday lives. As an adjunct, patients at St Christopher’s Bromley have been enjoying regular singing sessions called ‘Catch Your Breath’ to help them practice using their breath.

Every Thursday this group of patients come together with Community Musician Ffion Aynsley to sing traditional songs, accompanied on a guitar or keyboard.

Ffion comments, "Catch Your Breath is a really lovely group activity, where we can all come together to sing familiar songs. We often play percussion instruments and even re-write lyrics together. Singing as a group brings so many benefits; both physically and mentally."

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Come along to the Glades and enjoy some carols!

Pop along to the Glades shopping centre in Bromley and get well and truly in the festive spirit!

There will be carol/Christmas songs being performed in support St Christopher’s on Wednesday 6 December from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm as well as Wednesday 13 December from 2pm-4pm and 5pm-7pm.

See all our events

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Stars in the night

Two of our Young Adults, Junior and Rhodri, wrote a beautiful song which was first performed at our 50th anniversary service at Southwark Cathedral in July. More recently it was sung at our Remembrance Services.

Our Community Choir filmed this performance especially for you to watch and enjoy this Christmas.

Watch the video

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Carols for St Christopher's

What better way to get in the festive spirit than with your favourite Christmas carols? In the run up to Christmas we have a wonderful lineup of carol concerts in support of St Christopher’s and we would love to see you there!

Thursday 7 December: Carols for St Christopher's at St Stephen’s Church in Dulwich
Friday 8 December: Christmas with the Allegri – concert by candlelight at St Augustine’s Church in Honor Oak Park
Sunday 10 December: Christmas Concert at St John’s Church in South Croydon
Tuesday 12 December: Carols for St Christopher's at St George’s Church in Bickley
Saturday 16 December: Carols for Charity with the South London Singers at Beckenham Methodist Church

See all Christmas events

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We do all we can to keep families together

"Christmas is a happy time but it can, of course also be an emotional time for families if a loved one is facing a difficult illness.

"Here at the hospice, we try to make the day as good as we can for our patients and their families; we do all we can to keep families together, whether that means helping a patient to leave the hospice for Christmas lunch with family nearby or creating a private space for families who wish to bring food onto the ward to share with a loved one who may be too poorly to leave.

"If we know that a patient will not be having any visitors, we will try to make sure that a volunteer comes to spend some time with them, even if it's just for a chat, it’s important to us that patients get that company, especially at this time of year.

"The festive season is a special time for my team overall, as it is a time when lots of people remember St Christopher's either by sending us cards or visiting in person.

"It is very rewarding to us as nurses to know that family members still think of us and the time their loved one was here. It is humbling to know, sometimes after many years, that families are so very thankful for the care that we all provided."

Find out about our care

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Last chance to win a car in our raffle!

Don't miss out on your chance to win a brand new Ford Ka+ in our Grand Christmas Raffle! Tickets are only £1 each so be sure to get yours before the draw closes on Monday 11 December.

Already entered our Grand Christmas Raffle? You can still support St Christopher’s by stocking up on some of our lovely Christmas cards.

You may think that buying a raffle ticket or a Christmas card is not a big deal, but every penny really does count. Here are just some of the things that your money could go towards...

  • £5 pays for the transportation of an elderly or disabled patient to the hospice for treatment.
  • £15 pays for a nurse to visit one of our patients in their home.
  • £25 pays for arts and crafts materials for our art therapy sessions.

Buy raffle tickets & cards

10

Lighting up Christmas for St Christopher's

Todd Kimberley is embracing Christmas for the second year running and lighting up his street to fundraise for St Christopher's in memory of his neighbour, Mickey.

Todd told us: "In October 2016 Mickey sadly lost his life after a long fight with cancer and other things. This was hard hitting to everyone around him, it was especially hard for his immediate family and they really struggled with this and still are now.

"During the later stages of his cancer he needed more and more support so was recommended to use the aid of St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham. They were wonderful, they helped in any way they could, made life for Mickey and his family a little bit easier during the horrid time they were experiencing.

Last year I did the display and fundraising totally in the name of Mickey and we raised over £1600. This year I am dedicating it to the hospice for being such a fantastic and helpful place."

Support Todd on his JustGiving page

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Carol singing from our local schools

On Tuesday 12 December we will be getting in the festive spirit with some wonderful carol singing from our local schools at the Whitgift Centre in Croydon from 10.30am to 5.30pm

Schools singing to support St Christopher's:

  • Shirley Oaks Primary School
  • Chipstead Valley Primary School
  • Winterbourne Junior Girls' School
  • Red Gates School
  • St Mary's Catholic Junior School
  • Keston Primary School
  • Beulah Infant and Nursery School
  • Regina Coeli Catholic Primary School

So whether you're doing your Christmas shopping or simply passing by, make sure you come along and show them your support!

See all Christmas events

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Hold a Christmas jumper day for St Christopher's

All you have to do is pick a date for your organisation to have a festive day of fundraising. Charge £1 for each person who wears a Christmas jumper and £2 as a forfeit for those who don’t!

Looking for more Christmas fundraising inspiration? Take a look at our
Happy Holi-D-I-Y Guide for lots of other festive ideas.

See our Happy Holi-D-I-Y Guide

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Making Christmas Special

We are so grateful to all our volunteers who offer us their time to help support patients and families at St Christopher's, especially over the busy Christmas period. Here’s just one story.

Marie Collins, who lives in Shortlands, Bromley, has been a St Christopher’s volunteer for the last nine years, including volunteering on Christmas day.

Marie says, "People always need someone to talk to, especially over the Christmas period. On Christmas day we have lots of patients, families and local people sitting at the tables in the Anniversary Centre café enjoying their Christmas lunch, and I try and make sure that they have everything they need. We also have lots of people visiting here on Boxing Day; families come in for breakfast before visiting the wards.

"The most important thing is making the time to talk to people and listening to what they have to say, whether it’s just everyday conversations or something more personal that they want to share. I enjoy speaking to people and making a contribution. The fact that it's Christmas doesn’t really matter to me too much, as I still manage to spend time with my family on the day too."

As well as volunteering at the hospice, Marie, who before retirement was a nurse in the community, also regularly volunteers at one of St Christopher's shops.

"I volunteer two mornings a week at the St Christopher's shop in Locksbottom, which I really enjoy. It’s a lovely group of people and though we work hard to make sure we’re raising lots of money for the hospice, we have great fun too."

Find out more about volunteering

14

A challenge every day for St Christopher's!

We have some incredible people out there raising money for St Christopher's and we rely on their support throughout the year to continue providing our patients with the best possible end of life care.

Keith Hatton is raising money for St Christopher’s in memory of his friend, Claire Chate-Fawcett, who was looked after here at the hospice.

"I have decided to carry out a '365 Challenge', the idea being that I will run at least one mile every day for a year in honour of the inspiring Claire who left this world all too young after a nine year battle with cancer.

"It’s been pretty hard going psychologically as the days get shorter and the cold sinks in, but I’m still going and over half way! So far I’ve raised over £1200, but I’m hoping it’ll start rising once I get closer to the finish line!"

Support Keith on his JustGiving page

15

You must be joking!

Everybody loves a Christmas cracker joke. Here are some of our nurses and care assistants with their favourite festive funnies.

Watch the video

16

Shelagh's journey

Watch this wonderful film documenting the inspirational Shelagh McDonugh and her journey across south London

83-year-old Shelagh began visiting St Christopher's earlier on this year. To fundraise for the hospice, she embarked on an incredible journey on her mobility scooter, travelling around the five boroughs St Christopher's serves.

Shelagh said: "You don’t have to stop living life just because you’re old. You can enjoy yourself, help others and die well when the time comes."

Read more about Shelagh's journey

Watch the video

17

Christmas tree oh Christmas tree

With just one week to go until Christmas, we're hoping to fill today with festive fun, sharing lots of Christmas tree photos from you all!

Whether your tree has been decorated to perfection or is missing half its baubles thanks to pets brushing past - we want to see your snaps!

Click 'share your photos' below to post your picture on our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @stchrishospice.

Share your photos

18

Christmas Day at St Christopher's

Thanks to the generosity of the customers and staff at The Chatterton Arms public house in Chatterton Road, Bromley, Christmas Day at St Christopher's in Sydenham will be a more festive affair than ever, with a free Christmas meal provided in the hospice’s Anniversary Centre as well as gifts for staff and patients alike

Every member of the sixty staff working out of St Christopher's in Sydenham on Christmas Day, from nurses and welfare staff to receptionists and orderlies, will receive a box of chocolates and a bottle of prosecco to take home with them, courtesy of The Chatterton Arms.

Visitors to the Anniversary Centre in the hospice, including families and friends of patients as well as members of the local community will all enjoy a wonderful free Christmas dinner, funded by The Chatterton Arms. Patients will also be offered the festive meal free of charge, as is customary at the hospice.

Finally, as an important gesture to mark the occasion, St Christopher's always gives every patient staying on the wards on Christmas day a very small gift, but thanks to generous donation of The Chatterton Arms, this year, each patient will receive a more generous gift.

The Chatterton Arms public house has long been supporting St Christopher's through collections, music events, raffles and much more.

Tracey Austin, Landlady at The Chatterton Arms, says, "We want to make a difference at St Christopher's this Christmas and to recognise staff that work on the day, as well as patients and their families at the hospice."

Ray Hemmings, Manager at The Chatterton Arms, adds, "Our customers and staff give their time and money generously to support St Christopher's because it’s such a wonderful organisation which has helped so many people in our local community. We are so pleased to be able to help."

Community and Events Fundraising Manager, Georgie Grant, comments, "The Chatterton Arms has been amazing this year, and we can’t thank them enough for their gifts and sponsorship for Christmas Day.

"It means such a lot to us that a community pub comes together to support and celebrate the work of St Christopher’s. Thank you."

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Festive frames for St Christopher's!

Embrace Christmas with St Christopher’s and help spread the word about the work we do by adding our festive frame to your profile picture on Facebook. Use the link below and get festive for St Christopher's!

Find out how to add a festive frame

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Music Therapy

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Come to Xmas festival

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Remembering with

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Xmas appeal

Info on appeal

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Music Therapy

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Happy Holi-DIY

Our favourite D-I-Y Christmas fundraising ideas

It’s easy to add some fundraising into the mix this Christmas, and you will be making a huge difference to your local hospice. We have put together a list of our favourite D-I-Y Christmas fundraising ideas.

View our festive fundraising ideas