Hospice Chairman Professor Leo Martin has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of his services to Healthcare and Education.
Sister Rita is absolutely thrilled for Leo and his family. She said: “Leo is a wonderful Chairman, totally loyal, steadfast, committed and always very active in standing up for the most vulnerable in our society.
“He has been entirely focused in his support for this Hospice, giving hours and hours of his time freely. Leo and people like him are those who deserve true recognition today.
“We wish Leo many Congratulations from all of us here at St Margaret’s.”
East Kilbride man Stephen Connelly ran the Edinburgh half marathon last month in memory of his “incredible” sister-in-law Amanda Wright, who was cared for at St Margaret of Scotland Hospice.
We spoke to Stephen’s wife Emma – Amanda’s sister – to hear the heartbreaking and heartwarming story behind his momentous effort.
Since Amanda’s passing in 2014, the family have been involved in various activities to support the Hospice, including taking part in the Midnight Walk.
Emma, 38, said: “Amanda died at the Hospice in January 2014. She was in her early 40s. She’d had a brain tumour for six years and kept getting infections in her ear before she was taken in.
“The care she was given at the Hospice was wonderful. I couldn’t praise the people there highly enough. They made sure she was comfortable and that she was never distressed or upset.
“The way Amanda dealt with it… it’s just how she was. She was incredible.”
Stephen and Emma both work for ACCA, the professional accountancy body, and are originally from Milngavie.
They have a son Matthew, aged four, who played a vital part in the race day.
Describing the emotional occasion as Stephen, 34, approached the finish line on May 28, Emma said: “We were there to cheer him on. Stephen lifted Matthew over the barrier so that he could cross the line with him. Matthew was overwhelmed by it all – the crowds and the noise!
“It was all really emotional. Amanda would have found it really amusing.
“I was in tears and the end and I hadn’t done the run! I was so proud of Stephen. He worked so hard for it.
“Afterwards, Stephen was absolutely shattered. The race started at 8am, which is really early for a half marathon, so he had to be up at 5am to give him enough time to have something to eat.
“He had run one half marathon before, in Glasgow last October, before doing this one for charity. He’s been running for the last two years and has done a few 10Ks.”
Through his JustGiving page and other donations from friends and family, Stephen has raised more than £1200, which will go directly towards the care and support of patients at the Hospice and their loved ones.
And after the generosity shown by their family and friends for Stephen’s run – including from their employers, who Emma described as “very supportive” – they are determined to do even more.
Like so many matters related to our fundraising efforts, our Grand Prize Draw came about because of a very personal connection to the Hospice and the work that is done here.
The fantastic first prize in the draw, a brand-new Suzuki Celerio car, was donated to the Hospice by the McKitrick family, in association with Phoenix Suzuki in Paisley, in memory of their mother Mary McKitrick who spent her last days at the Hospice last year.
Tom McKitrick, who is the Car Dealership’s Sales Director, played a key part in arranging the fantastic donation, which will enable the Hospice to raffle tickets for the draw, with all proceeds going to the care of patients.
His sister Christina spoke to us to explain the family’s connection.
She said: “St Margaret of Scotland Hospice cared for our mother in the last few days of her life.
“The care and attention given by Professor Welsh and his team, the presence and prayers of Father Frank and the comfort offered to our mother and family gave us strength at such a sad and difficult time.
“We grew up with Mum telling us of the work of Sister Rita and the Sisters in Clydebank. We had been told of their dedication, compassion and care for those in need as death approached.
“We remember our mother’s words and we have been truly fortunate that Mum received such care and comfort.
“Our thanks and gratitude to Sister Rita and her team for caring for Mum and supporting our family when we were in need.”
We would like to invite you join us in thanking the McKitrick family for this truly amazing and touching gesture, and to support their effort by taking part in our Grand Prize Draw, which will be drawn on Friday, 31 March 2017. If you already have tickets for the Draw, please return these as soon as possible to ensure your entry.
Tickets are just £1 and can be obtained in singles or in books – please contact our fundraising team on 0141 435 7018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re going to take on a challenge, you might as well make it a big one.
But even then, Hospice supporter Hugh Friel’s feat of cycling all the way to another country is an effort that really stands out.
Hugh, 54, will be joined by three friends on his bike ride from Clydebank to Kerrykeel in Donegal, Ireland on 1 April 2017.
The engineering firm manager, who lives in Glasgow’s King’s Park, is taking on the 270-mile trek to raise funds in memory of his sister Maureen Eileen Deeney, who passed away in the Hospice last June.
Hugh said: “It’s for a great cause. I can’t thank the Hospice enough for what they did for both Maureen and ourselves.
“Maureen had worked at the Hospice for 10 years as Ward Manager in the Mary Aikenhead Centre. Maureen was cared for by her Hospice colleagues and friends and received the most overwhelming care. She was treated as if she was a queen, as every single one of their patients are.”
Looking ahead to the trip with pals Paul Stitt, Rui Rossa and Anthony Preston, Hugh admitted he will find the physical challenge of the cycle difficult.
But he will be spurred on by the emotional pull of their destination and the aim of pushing his fundraising total, which already stands at more than £1800, as high as possible.
Hugh added: “I hadn’t cycled in 35 years! We’ve cycled to Dunoon and back in our training.
“When we set off in April, we’re starting early in the morning and hoping to get to the boat in one day – it’s 90 miles.
“We’ll be staying in Belfast on the first night. The hardest bit will be the Glenshane Pass, which cuts through the Sperrin Mountains. We’ll be doing that on the Sunday.
“And by Monday we arrive in Kerrykeel. That’s the place where where my father and Maureen’s husband’s father are from.
“I want to raise as much as I can. The thing I’m looking forward to most is getting finished… and raising as much as we can for the Hospice!”
The Hospice runs a packed and popular events calendar throughout the year, providing entertainment for our supporters and raising vital sums to allow us to continue to offer the highest standards of care.
In addition to events organised by the Hospice, we are also very fortunate to benefit from the proceeds of events organised independently by our friends and supporters in the local community and further afield.
One of the top event-based donations we received this year was from Clydebank and District Golf Club.
Through an Am-Am golf day and a speakers’ night, hosted by our Patron Peter Martin, the club raised the wonderful sum of £11,760.
We recently caught up with club committee member Brendan Dillon, who told us a little more about the two events, held on separate days earlier in the year.
Brendan is pictured here with club captain Hugh Gravel and West Dunbartonshire Provost Douglas McAllister, presenting a cheque to our Chief Executive Sister Rita .
Brendan said: “Clydebank and District Golf Club have an affection for the Hospice – we try to do as much as we can.
“Our last three speakers nights have all been in aid of St Margaret of Scotland Hospice. I know Peter Martin well, he hosted the night and runs the whole show.
“Our speakers Bill Copleand and Paul Reid were absolutely excellent.
“There were 36 teams in the Am-Am. It went really well. We ran it in conjunction with the Hospice and Prostate Cancer and split the funds evenly between the two charities.”
As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to look back and show our appreciation to the people who have gone to great lengths to raise funds for the Hospice, enabling us to continue to offer the highest standards of care to our patients and their loved ones.
One of those supporters is Michael Conroy, from Alexandria. Michael, 41, raised more than £950 through sponsorship for his fantastic efforts in completing the Great Scottish Run.
Michael took six minutes from his PB to finish the Glasgow half-marathon course in a superb time of 1hr 48 mins.
We spoke to Michael, who works as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, when he came to the Hospice to hand over a cheque for the sum of £962.50.
He told us why he chose to run for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice – something he described as a “humbling” experience – and how he motivated himself to train so hard.
Michael said: “My wife’s friend’s mum passed away at the Hospice in June. I heard about the excellent care she’d received.
“I’ve raised money for CHAS in the past but this is the most I’ve ever raised. There were people who don’t know me who donated through JustGiving.
“I’ve made new friends through this and have been supported by my excellent work colleagues.
“The fundraising helped to motivate me for the training and on the race day itself. I was aiming for sub-1.50 so I was delighted with my time. I’m going to do it again next year.
“The best thing about the experience was making the most of the day and appreciating how good it was.
“When you see all of the other people running for charity, it’s humbling. It felt fantastic when I crossed the line – I was over the moon.”
A team of five intrepid students and lecturers from West College Scotland in Clydebank have taken on a Top Gear-style challenge across Europe to raise more than £800 for a local charity.
In two revamped cars, the group set off on the trip of a lifetime for the Motoscape Banger Rally, driving through 12 countries in seven days to reach their destination of Prague in the Czech Republic.
The quintet– students Allister Linstead, 26, from Knightswood; Christopher McKenzie, 18 from East Kilbride and David Henry, 29, from Paisley, accompanied by the college Motor Vehicle course’s curriculum and quality leader Alastair Fleming and technician Murray Miller – were rewarded for their dedication through donations to their chosen charity, St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, for whom they raised a superb total of £845.
They joined 29 other teams who took in the spectacular scenery of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Czech Republic before arriving at their final destination in the Czech capital.
But before setting out, the students, under the watchful eye of their lecturers, had to work hard to get their cars in shape for the race, which took place in September.
But the repair work, like the trip itself, proved to be an amazing learning experience for the students.
Allister Linstead said: “Getting to drive cross country was an opportunity we may never get again so I’m delighted I was selected to be part of the team.
“As a team we got on great, which was just as well given that we had to spend up to nine hours a day in a car with each other.
“There was a great sense of team spirit across all the teams and everyone helped each other when needed.
“We were fortunate not to have any problems with our cars but others weren’t so lucky. Murray came to the rescue of the MG team who needed a whole new set up breaks fitted at the side of the road.
“It really was an awesome trip and given the chance, I’d jump at doing it again.”
David added: “It really was a trip of a lifetime. For me it was all about the scenery and driving meant we got to see parts of countries that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see.
“The Stelvio Pass in Italy was the most challenging part of the journey. The bends are so sharp that we could see cyclists falling off their bikes but luckily we managed to get through it unscathed.”
One of the vehicles – an out-of-use Renault Megane – was donated by Whitecrook man Michael Smith and required some serious work to make it not only roadworthy, but able to cope with a round trip of more than 4000 miles.
Michael had considered selling or even scrapping the car but decided to speak to the College because he knew of their Motor Vehicle department.
He explained: “I had the car for six years when the exhaust from the backend went. I got it fixed and unbelievably, on the same day as it was fitted, the timing belt went too.
“My wife suggested donating it to the College. I knew they had a Motor Vehicle department so I came down and spoke to Alistair Fleming, who was more than happy to take it off my hands.
“Later he told me about their plans to take it across the country as part of the Banger Rally. I was delighted that they were able to put it to good use.
“My wife and I are delighted to see it doing something worthwhile and it’s great to see the car with a new lease of life. Congratulations to all the students involved.”
Alastair Fleming, who rallied the group together for the trip, added: “It was a tough but an enriching challenge to help raise money for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice.
“The students were selected based on their achievements and qualifications, including having a full, clean driving licence.
“The boys put the skills learned over the past couple of years to good use. They’ve proved they’ve got the ability so we had every faith in them.”
The total raised for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice was raised to £1334, after the students’ Motor Vehicle colleagues organised a car wash event which added £489 to the donations for the Rally.
Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “The students and lecturers who took part in this activity have gone to amazing lengths to support us and we are truly grateful for that.
“It is wonderful to hear about the learning experiences they have had and how the local community and College have clubbed together to make this possible for them.
“And of course, we are delighted that their efforts in the Rally have raised vital and welcome funds for the worthiest of causes.”
The department were commended for their efforts in a recent lunchtime ceremony at the Clydebank Campus.