March 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


First hospice is 65 years young

St Margaret of Scotland staff are celebrating the hospice’s 65th anniversary year the best way they know how, with a series of fun-filled fundraising events, writes Clare Murphy

Sixty-five years ago, the first hospice opened in Scotland. St Margaret’s Hospice, as it was then known, was opened by the Sisters of Charity as a house in Millbrae Crescent, Clydebank, in 1950. This year is a special one for the hospice as it celebrates the 65th Anniversary of its opening in Clydebank and during those years, the hospice has touched the lives of many thousands of patients and their families and friends.

The story began when a Sister of Charity newly arrived in Clydebank to help with the work of the parish and school, was approached by a man with advanced throat cancer who told her that he had nowhere to go and did not know what to do, as he felt he was growing steadily worse and had no-one to care for him. As a result of this, the sister contacted the Mother House in Dublin to ask if it might be possible for them to send over a sister trained in nursing who would look after this man and others like him—thus began the hospice, growing steadily as the demand arose.

All the houses in the congregation made a real effort to find money to send to Clydebank. With the help from the local Churches and the local community, sufficient money was raised to buy the first house, plus equipment and other things necessary to establish a small hospice.

The Sisters of Charity, who celebrate the 200th anniversary this year of their foundation by Mother Mary Aikenhead, saw a need for the services which they provide as part of their mission and core values: Compassion, justice, advocacy, human dignity and quality. The motto of the Sisters of Charity is also the motto for the hospice: Caritas Christi Urget Nos (The Love of Christ urges us on.) The motto, mission statement and core values are an integral part of the life of the hospice.

The man with throat cancer was the first patient admitted. The first house, with 20 beds, was quickly outgrown and the house next door was bought and taken into use with a further nineteen beds. But again, in a very short time, it was obvious that something further would need to be done if the needs of the sick were to be met. The Sisters decided that a purpose-built hospice would be the only answer.

The first turf of the new hospice was cut on July 19 1969 and on September 29 1971, the new single storey hospice was opened in Clydebank to accommodate 60 patients. In 1989, the appeal fund was launched for the re-development and upgrading of the hospice, and, on September 22 1993, the second floor was opened, as well as a new day care centre. The October 20 1998 marked the opening of the new state of the art education centre and in October 2000, a new hydrotherapy pool was opened. In June 2006, an appeal was launched to add on the Mary Aikenhead Centre, to modernise the facilities for the older adult patients with complex medical and nursing needs. This unit was formally opened in July 2009, to replace the former St Margaret’s ward.

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, as it was renamed in 2005, has always cared for people of all faiths and none.  Patients and families come from diverse backgrounds and receive the same excellent care and attention.

The hospice receives part of its funding from the local health board and we must raise half of the annual running costs, which are in excess of £5 million. Each week we must raise approximately £40,000 to provide all the services which are currently available: 58 in-patient beds—30 for specialist palliative care and 28 for care of the older adults with complex medical and nursing needs.  In addition to the in-patient care units, we also provide Edwina Bradley day hospice, community specialist palliative care, out-patient facilities and counselling services.

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice has received the support and generosity of patrons, companies, organisations, groups and individuals over all those years to enable us to care for those who are living with a life limiting illness or require end of life care.  Many of those who support the hospice send individual donations, organise fundraising events for the benefit of the hospice or take part in sponsored events, often receiving matched funding from their employers. These are wonderful ways in which to support the on-going work of the hospice.

During the year, we organise a number of fundraising events. The first, on Friday, March 20 2015, is the 65th Anniversary celebratory Celtic ceilidh dinner and dance that is generously supported by Òran Mór. The evening will begin at 7pm with a reception followed by three-course meal and dancing. There will also be entertainment in the form of folk music with Scottish Highland and Irish dancers to provide some inspiration on the night.

“The Celtic ceilidh dinner dance is a lovely event which is generously supported by Òran Mór,” Sr Rita, chief executive of the hospice (bottom right), said. “We are very grateful for the support we receive from those in our community and shall be delighted to hear from people who would enjoy a night out in stunning surroundings, lovely meal with great music and dancing—who would at the same time be supporting the hospice.”

Individual tickets are £35 and tables of 12 are available. If you wish to join the event later in the evening, £10 tickets are also available which allow entry to the ceilidh only from 10pm.

Following the ceilidh, we are delighted to announce that the guest speakers for the hospice sports dinner will be Commonwealth Games gold medalist and professional boxer Charlie Flynn (below right) and John Htet Khin, who has agreed to come out of retirement to bring his humour to the event. The sports dinner, which will be held on Friday, May 8 2015 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, will be hosted by our patron, the ever-hilarious (and very supportive) Peter Martin.

The sports dinner is always a highlight of the year and very well attended—this year’s promises to be a hugely enjoyable night. The event will include a sparkling reception and delicious four-course meal. Tickets are £55 (available individually or in tables up to ten).  There is an ‘early-bird’ offer of a table of ten for £500, which ends on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. A raffle and auction will also be held on the night.

Hot on the heels of the sports dinner, is an event for ladies only. The annual ladies’ lunch is being held on Sunday, May 31 2015 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow.  The lunch will have the theme of the Glamour of the 1950s and will be hosted by fashion stylist Mark Heyes. The event will include a fashion show by House of Fraser with entertainment from The Singer Swingers and Soulman, Mr Onkel. Tickets are £50 and are available individually or in tables of ten. There is an ‘early bird’ offer of a table for ten for £450 which ends on Friday, May 1 2015.

The annual midnight walk is being organised for Saturday, September 5 2015 with a 5K walk along the A82 from Great Western Retail Park. This is a really fun event for women—aged 10 years and over—which includes entertainment before the walk and a barbeque afterwards. The hospice also requires volunteers for stewarding and helping on the night—male and female—so will be delighted to hear from you.

This year’s annual ball will be a celebration of this special Anniversary year for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice.  We are delighted to announce the Ball will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Saturday, October 24 2015.

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice continues to promote the monthly hospice lottery, which was established to generate a regular source of income to the hospice by a monthly subscription of £5. With 14 guaranteed prizes totalling £2500 each month, the top prize of £2000 has been a great amount for each of the winners.  For further information regarding joining the hospice lottery, please email or telephone: 0141-435 7018.

The hospice also receives support from charitable trusts, which give excellent support in the funding of new equipment, services or on-going general running costs.  Legacies are a wonderful gift to the hospice—giving a lasting gift to Charity is a special way to be remembered.Without our very highly valued supporters, we could not have achieved all that we have in the past 65 years.  History has shaped what the hospice is today and all that it manages to deliver to those who need it. We hope you will be able to support the work we do by attending one or more of the Hospice events—which is an ideal occasion to bring family, friends, colleagues or clients together.


— For more information on becoming a hospice volunteer, donating, attending or arranging a fundraising event, please e-mail or call 0141 435 7018.




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