Helen Hayes MP opens new St Christopher’s shop

St Christopher’s new shop was officially opened by Helen Hayes MP on Saturday 27 January.

The MP for Dulwich and West Norwood was joined by staff and volunteers from the charity as well as eager shoppers and local councillors as she cut the ribbon on the St Christopher’s store in West Dulwich.

It was a day packed full of shop openings for in Dulwich as we also officially re-opened our refurbished stores on Lordship Lane in the morning.

Mayor Michael Situ and volunteer Carolina cut the ribbon in East Dulwich

The Mayor of Southwark Michael Situ cut the ribbon at the East Dulwich shop. He was joined by an 89-year-old volunteer, Carolina, who has supported St Christopher’s for more than three decades.

The East Dulwich kids’ store, also on Lordship Lane, was officially re-opened by 18-year-old Ben Parish. As a youngster Ben received bereavement support through our child bereavement service, Candle, after his mum and grandad both died.

More than £4000 was spent across the three stores as shoppers flocked in to take advantage of a 25% discount power hour to celebrate the openings.

Helen Hayes cuts the ribbon with staff in West Dulwich

Helen Hayes MP said: I’m really delighted to see the new St Christopher’s shop in West Dulwich, it’s a great addition to the local area providing the opportunity to shop sustainably and to support the hospice which provides vital services for so many families in our local area.”

St Christopher’s Chief Executive, Helen Simmons, and the Deputy Chair of the board, Eleanor Brown, attended all three events. As well as Ms Hayes, local councillors Andy Simmons and Margy Newens were also in attendance at West Dulwich.

Focusing on premium fashion, our newest shop is located at the corner of Croxted Road and Park Hall Road, opposite Tesco Express in West Dulwich.

It’s our 24th shop across South London and swung open its doors for shoppers just before Christmas. It has brought in more than £20,000 in its first eight weeks of trading.

Ben Parish cuts the ribbon in East Dulwich at our kids' store

Each year we need to raise more than £16m to continue providing support and care for those in our communities.

Helen Simmons Chief Executive of St Christopher’s said:  “As a resident of Dulwich, I know how strong the support for St Christopher’s is here and the shop has been so well received by our community in its first few weeks of trading.

“Over the past year we’ve seen strong growth in our shops, and generated more money from them than ever before in 2022/23, which all goes towards our care for those at the end of life, as well as their loved ones.

“Community is so crucial to St Christopher’s and we’re so grateful to everyone who came out and celebrated with us on Saturday.”

Eleanor Brown, Dulwich resident, Chair of the Trading Board and Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees, said:

We’re delighted to open our latest shop within the thriving and vibrant community of West Dulwich.

“We in Dulwich are ardent supporters of St Christopher’s and there has already been wonderful feedback from residents about the new shop and the goods we have on offer.

“The ability for us to donate so close to home is fantastic and all helps us to raise the vital money for the care St Christopher’s delivers.”

“Every pound spent or item donated means we can continue to support people at the end of life and their loved ones.”

Remembering Dr Colin Murray Parkes OBE

Beloved husband of Patricia, and father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Colin taught us that grief is “the price we pay for love”.

Colin worked closely with our founder Dame Cicely Saunders for many years at St Christopher’s and was dedicated to the understanding and care of bereaved people. He touched countless professional and personal lives.

An expert in grief and bereavement having worked with families after the Aberfan disaster in 1966, he established the first hospice bereavement service at St Christopher’s.

In 1960s Britain, bereaved friends and relatives were expected to hide their grief and carry on with normal life. However, the service was a success, partly because it recognised that dying not only affects someone with a terminal illness but also those close to them.

The service provided contact with loved-ones, and debriefing meetings for staff after each patient’s death, along with basic psychiatry training for nurses.

Bereavement services are now common and St Christopher’s continues the work Colin started by providing both informal and formal bereavement care to more than a thousand people each year.

He was interviewed for our Oral History project, The Voices that Shaped Us, which was exhibited in 2022, and you can listen to an extract of his interview here.

The thoughts of everyone at St Christopher’s are with Colin’s family at this time.

Join us to Remember with Ribbons this summer

Hundreds of people will come together at St Christopher’s Hospice this month to remember people they love who have died.

We’re inviting the community to pay tribute to loved ones with a display of colourful ribbons at our annual Remembering with Ribbons events.

The community are invited to hang their ribbons on the tree at Caritas House, Orpington on 16 August or at the main hospice site in Sydenham on 17 August.

Wendy McMahon with Ribbons

The ribbons will have the names of those they are dedicated in memory of written on them. Anyone wishing to dedicate a ribbon can do so online at https://bit.ly/RibbonsatStChristophers or by phoning our fundraising team on 020 8768 4575.

Wendy McMahon, an Occupational Therapist at St Christopher’s, dedicates a ribbon each year in memory of her husband Glenn who died in 2015.

She said: “Remembering with Ribbons is a really positive thing to do. Obviously I remember Glenn all the time, but joining with others who are grieving is really important too. There is a unity between people that have lost loved ones. Things like this, little by little, help you learn to live with it.

“The ribbon dancing around in the breeze on the tree of ribbons reminds me of the energetic, vital person Glenn was. It also gives me the chance to help support other patients at St Christopher’s with a gift.”

She added: “I get great joy remembering the times we had, Glenn and I. There are seasons in your life and that was one of the seasons of my life, and probably one of the best seasons.”

Ribbons 2022
Photo by Rachel Manns

Rachel Hedley, Legacy and in Memory Manager at St Christopher’s, said: “Our colourful and vibrant Remembering with Ribbons events is always so heart warming as hundreds of people from across South London come into our beautiful gardens to celebrate loved ones who have died.”

“By remembering your loved one you are also supporting the hospice and helping us to provide care for someone else and their family and friends at the end of life.”

:: To dedicate a ribbon or to find out more visit https://bit.ly/RibbonsatStChristophers or call the hospice fundraising team on 020 8768 4575.

£500,000 fundraising effort a huge success as target smashed

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve smashed our fundraising target of £500,000 as part of our What Matters Most campaign.

Together, we’ve raised almost £600,000 and counting – an incredible amount which will help us to do so much and meet the challenges of both rising costs and growing demand.

In the video below, you can hear from a number of people who wanted to share their thanks and let you know what your money will do.

Every donation made during the 36-hour online fundraising campaign was doubled by match funders.

We’re currently responding to an increase in demand for our services, which comes at a time when income has fallen due to the cost of living crisis. A Hospice UK report this year found that the cost of living crisis could have a devastating impact on hospices in the UK, and the services we provide. 

Jez Robinson appeared in the campaign film which you can watch below. His sister, Charlotte Smith, was supported by the hospice. She died the day after her 37th birthday in April 2017.

He said: “I’m always so grateful for the support they gave Charlotte. Everyone was so kind, so understanding and I think those days after Charlotte passed we just got great comfort from being here [at St Christopher’s].

“My mum and dad still do that now … it felt like a place where Charlotte was happy.”

The fundraising campaign was named What Matters Most – a reference to a question our staff strive to ask each of their patients, carers, loved ones and supporters; What Matters Most To You?

More than 125 teams took part in the campaign, each tasked with rallying friends, family and colleagues during the 36-hour period to show their support for the hospice via social media, text, WhatsApp or email.

A number of staff got involved in the campaign with our Sydenham Community Team organising an amazing fashion show and our Caritas House team holding a hugely successful fun day.

Each team had their own dedicated fundraising webpage and competed with other teams to see who could raise the most money.  

Jez Robinson says in the film: “In my head I had what I thought a hospice was, and I guess I was pretty scared because I knew Charlotte wasn’t well and I was kind of still hoping she was going to get better.”

He adds: “What Matters most to me, ultimately, is to continue fulfilling what my sister wanted me to do. She told me to keep raising awareness and funds for St Christopher’s, and what matters most to me is that I can continue doing that, in any way that I can. So please join me in supporting St Christopher’s while they fight rising costs.”

Ben Parish, 17, also features in the film and talks about the death of his mum and grandad and the support he received from St Christopher’s Child Bereavement service, Candle.

“I was just 12 years old when my mum died,” he says. “I had no idea. I was young and confused. St Christopher’s were there for me when I needed them and they might need to be there for you one day too.”

“They helped me open up and realise that my mum and my grandad are a part of me. Please donate during the campaign so they can continue to help people.”

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