Retired teacher Chrissy given a lifeline by Pendleside’s day services

Retired primary school teacher Chrissy Holt turned to the day-services team at Pendleside Hospice after losing both her father and a close friend around Christmas time last year.

And attending Mosaic Monday and Shabby Shed sessions on Thursdays has helped her deal with the grief she has suffered.

Chrissy, 68, is herself being treated for CML (chronic myeloid leukaemia) and has been receiving chemotherapy medication since it was diagnosed in 2018.

 But it was losing her dad George Holt, 93, and her friend John Ireland, 73, last December that led to Chrissie seeking therapy at the hospice.

 She said: “As you can imagine I was at a low ebb and after receiving some counselling from the hospice’s psychotherapist Jeanette Chambers I decided to join the sessions on a Monday and Thursday. And they have worked wonders.”

Chrissy, who lives nearby in Reedley, has worked as a volunteer in various capacities for Pendleside and has been a member of the Mayoress of Burnley’s charity committee over the years.

The former teacher at St John the Baptist RC Primary School, Padiham, had studied craft courses involving antique restorations over several years at Burnley College so working on the mosaics and upcycling discarded pieces of furniture really appealed to her.

She said: “At Pendleside I have been restoring a little table John used to sit at in his back garden to have a cup of coffee. It was falling to bits really and I have painted the wrought iron legs and am fitting a new tabletop made of pieces of porcelain.

“In the mosaic sessions I have been working with the group to produce our large piece of work but am also planning to make a stain glass piece which will represent two roses in memory of both my father and John.”

Chrissy, who enjoys swimming and walking in the pool at Crow Wood leisure centre, added: “The sessions at Pendleside are so very peaceful and tranquil and already I have started to make new friends and acquaintances.

“Everyone is so friendly and when you realise that they are suffering from life-limiting illnesses it makes you realise you are not on your own and sometimes actually makes you feel how lucky you are.

“Apart from general chit chat we share our experiences and learn how each other is coping. And, of course, the staff and volunteers are so helpful and cheerful they make the sessions so enjoyable.”

Pendleside’s Health, Wellbeing and Rehabilitation service, formerly day service, aims to improve the quality of life for people age 17 years or older living with a life-limiting condition by offering therapeutic care and a range of activities to support them, their family, carers or friends.

They are tailored to meet people’s individual needs focusing on how they are coping and helping to ease some of the physical and emotional difficulties they may be experiencing as a result of their illness.

The service is the coordination hub for all hospice outpatient services including medical outpatients, complementary therapy, psychological support and rehabilitation.

It also offers a drop-in clinic on Wednesday afternoons between noon and 3.30pm providing advice, information and support, and a peer support group weekly on a Friday between 2.30pm and 4pm; a social group for anybody diagnosed with a life-limiting illness their family, friend or carer.

Referrals are accepted from any healthcare professional, patient, relative or carer. When referrals are received contact may be made with relevant health care professionals to obtain clinical information.