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about St. Michael’s, but obviously you can’t have 800 people milling about aimlessly and any commercial company with 800 employees would have an HR department the size of the United Nations to take care of them. Indeed it is the sheer size of the whole St. Michael’s Hospice operation which has so astounded me, and remember all of its services and wonderful facilities are provided completely free to anyone who needs them. But although free to the patients, somehow those services do have to be paid for. What does it all cost? That’s the key question and obviously the engine room of this machine is the fund-raising department. Even if there are a large number of people volunteering and working for nothing the other costs are real and huge: the professional staff, the building, the utilities, and, most important, the medical equipment and drugs. In fact it costs about £5m a year to fund the Hospice and that is £13,000 a day! It’s true that the NHS does fund just under 30% of that - and so it should because it couldn’t cope without the Hospice - but it still means that the Hospice has to find £10,000 a day, every single day of the year including Sundays. That’s why there are ten shops; that’s why there is a St. Michael’s Hospice Lottery and scratch cards; that’s why there is such a varied and long list of fund-raising events. And that’s why if you can do anything to spend your money in the shops or at the events, or if you can organise an event yourself – perhaps opening your garden one day a year – it would be so welcome and so worthwhile. We’ve only been able to scratch the surface of the work of the Hospice here: I haven’t mentioned, for example, its vital Bereavement Services and the Chaplaincy Service which offers spiritual support to those of any faith and to those who have no religious beliefs, but perhaps it is appropriate to finish on the experience of a family who know what St. Michael’s Hospice help means first hand. Two months ago Margaret Kett died of cancer at home in Rye and I spoke to her daughter-in-law, Amy. Margaret was very ill in The Conquest but she wanted to be at home. The hospital and the Hospice acted quickly and she was moved home where the family were supported by St. Michael’s Hospice and were able to look after her for her last few days. Amy told me how someone from the Hospice sat with her mother-in-law through the night and how the Hospice was constantly in touch and on hand to help the family and Margaret through this difficult time. Until all this happened Amy and her family had no idea what St. Michael’s Hospice did and then suddenly and miraculously there it was providing the help and support that was needed. She said “In the final days we would have been lost without Hospice at Home. You don’t realise who you need until you need them.” 26 The Onion magazine

Driving into St. Michael’s ‘Hotel’

Forthcoming Events Sinatra Night with Pete Prescott’s Sounds Quintet 7th November Christmas Markets: Sedlescombe 15th November Robertsbridge 22nd November Cooden Beach Hotel, Bexhill 29th November Lights of Love Services 7th December (six locations) Christmas Concert 13th December ‘Soul Express’ Christmas Party 13th December Santa Fun Run 14th December For full details of all events and for any other information about St. Michael’s Hospice go to www.stmichaelshospice.org or telephone 01424 445177. onionmagazine.co.uk

The onion november 14  

The Onion magazine - a monthly printed magazine delivered by the Royal Mail to 23,000 homes in Kent & East Sussex - with a readership of ove...

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