22 September 2011

Charity Lunch

A charity lunch was held this week to raise funds for a new Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull, West Midlands. According Liz Cotter, the Solihull Hospice Manager, the new hospice will help them provide more care for terminally ill people across the region.

The new state of the art hospice will reach more local patients and their families and offer them a wider range of care and support. Healthcare professionals across the region will also meet there to share expertise and knowledge. Liz says ‘We currently provide first-rate care, but we are working in an old building that is unsuitable for our plans to expand our services. With an ageing population, and an increasing number of people needing our services, there’s a real need for a new Marie Curie Hospice for the West Midlands.

Hear more from Liz here

My friend Judy and I were delighted to receive free tickets for the lunch but I admit to feeling guilty that I didn’t have to pay. The tickets came our way because Judy’s son printed the menus free of charge and it was the charity’s way of thanking him.

The lunch was well attended by an estimated (mine) figure of 300 women … and what a racket there was in the reception room where we gathered for pre-dinner drinks. None of them were shouting but the buzz of conversation was deafening. I honestly couldn’t hear what my companions were saying.

Eventually we all went into the dining room to find our tables. My pal and I were on Table 13 which was a bit foreboding but it wasn’t until the speeches started that we realised what a bad spot we were in. Not only could we not see but we also couldn’t hear. The sound system didn’t go round corners very well. Of course, that was the fault of the venue not the charity organisers.

The press photographer did a grand job working through the crowds taking pictures.

It was a good event. The food was excellent and the company was good. Table 13 was dedicated as the Marie Curie table so we learned a lot first hand from Liz and her co-workers, a pharmacist, a social worker, a nurse, and others whose jobs I forget.

The speaker was a WI person (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post) none other than Tricia Stewart, the woman responsible for the Calendar Girls idea. I was sorry that I couldn’t hear all she said but since I know the story off by heart it didn’t matter so much. After her talk she went into another room to sell the latest calendars and yes I bought two, one for my guy and one for Frank, my stepdaughter’s guy. Both were autographed by Tricia. I just hope they enjoy a year’s worth of nude pictures.

Scroll through the pictures to see the calendar in question.

The star of the show, Tricia Stewart

The reason we were there!
Some of the Marie Curie professional team
A general shot of the 'noisy' crowd
Next Year's Calendar


  1. ha what a neat way to raise is hoping they raise all the money they need....

  2. Hope their raising of money is successful!

  3. Oh, Valerie, I wish I'd have been there with you.

    It sounded like a wonderful time!!!

    And what a great cause. My father passed away in a hospice in Florida and it was the most wonderful experience. Hospice is truly such an amazingly helpful and supportive organization, during a time when we really need it.

    And OMG...I can't believe you got a photo of Tricia Stewart - HOW EXCITING!!!!!!

    I'm so star stuck that I'm sure I would have acted like an idiot in front of her - HA!

    Have a great weekend, dear lady. And thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed it!


  4. Brian, Mona, I'm sure they'll reach their goal. They're a determine lot.

    Ron, if you had been there I could have introduced you to Tricia. She's just an ordinary lady really, with WI of course.

  5. What a great cause. We have first hand experience of Hospice and couldn't fault their wonderful care. It sounds like a great event too!

    Thanks for popping by my blog. I was quite nervous being so close to a herd of cows when I took that photo, so I'm glad it was in focus ;)

  6. Hi Babs-beetle. Great to see you here. You're right, hospices do have a marvellous way of helping their patients and their families.

    You did great with the cow...grins.

  7. Next time you feel guilty about a free lunch Valerie, please feel free to pass the tickets on to me. But being one of our lovely W.I. ladies you deserve your lunch.

  8. Okay....I'm the ignorant one here. *sigh*


    And I went to the web site -- and what an awesome group of people to be working with the circumstances they do.
    We need more awesome folks like that.

  9. A good cause and I hope they get everything they need. Glad you had a wonderful time, Val. And that is a lovely picture you have at the top of your blog. Take care.

  10. Hi Mel, thanks for visiting.

    WI stands for Women's Institute, a huge organisation dedicated to educating women in all things. It will soon be it's centenary year so we must be doing something right.

  11. Hi Shifey, I'm glad you like the picture. Have a great weekend, my friend.

  12. John, you're so kind. You would have enjoyed being with so many lovely ladies.

  13. Hi Valerie, how nice of you to share the important mission of this wonderful organization. I believe that people who choose hospice as their vocation are truly angels on earth. I work in a fundraising envirionment too and events such as the one you attended are vital to increasing awareness. I hope the luncheon was a success! ~diane

  14. poindextr. Hi Diane, thanks for popping in. I agree, the 'angels' are worth their salt in the hospice world. It's always good to know there are such dedicated people where they are needed most.


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