St Peters is just one of some 230 independent hospices around the country. Modern palliative care has developed in this country from the 1960’s onwards and today much of it is available through the hospice movement. A hospice is not just a building it is a way of caring for people whose illness may not be curable.
It is not just about cancer but includes heart and lung diseases and other life threatening conditions. The services they provide include pain control, symptom relief, skilled nursing care, counselling, complementary therapies, spiritual support, creative activities, physiotherapy and bereavement support. Care extends beyond the patient to family and friends: a truly holistic approach. The service provided by these hospice is entirely free but costs some 800 million pounds per year. They receive approximately one third from the government but the remainder, more than 600 million pounds has to be found through local fundraising.
Katherine Meyer always loved chickens and gardening, and when she visited Highgrove, the Gloucestershire home of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales she found both in abundance; a veritable Grand Design of a Chicken House and the most wonderful inspirational garden.
When she developed secondary cancer and came back to live in her childhood home to be looked after by her family, we decided to try and build her a close copy of His Royal Highnesses Chicken House to be set at the edge of a woodland glade and stock it with some of her favourite rare breed poultry.
Before she died, Katherine spent some significant time in St Peter's Hospice in Bristol. St Peter's cares for patients in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset who have a life limiting illness. Their main aim is to improve the quality of life for patients and to provide them with the best possible care. Last year they cared for over 2000 patients and supported 6000 family members. They offer a number of services and each patient is treated individually with their care tailored to their needs: one patient asked if they could have their pet visit, it did despite being a tarantula spider!, another had their Budgie to stay!
Katherine said to us that St Peter's make the hospice feel like a five star hotel and that the staff are simply wonderful, each and every one of them, and that she would like to leave the Hospice something in her will. So an idea was born. We wondered how we could link some of these thoughts.
We enquired whether His Royal Highness would permit a near copy of his chicken house to be built for Katherine and he graciously agreed, so the family are proceeding with this whilst also looking at wider opportunities to raise money for St Peter's and the whole hospice movement; as such the Cock a Doodle-Do appeal fund was inaugurated.
Our family is building a beautiful hen house in memory of Katherine set in a glade at the edge of the wood . The hen house will be stocked with rare breed poultry of Katherine’s choosing. We have many plans for the future including open days, art therapy and potentially respite visits in the garden in aid of the hospice movement but right now, we would love you to complete the Cock a Doodle with a 'Do'. Please 'Do' contribute to the Cock a Doodle 'Do' appeal in aid of the hospice movement.