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Going’s Good for Cynthia Spencer Hospice with £10,000 Racing Fundraiser

Mark Beesley lost his wife, Caroline, in the Hospice in November 2013.

Mark Beesley lost his wife, Caroline, in the Hospice in November 2013. Their mutual love of horse racing inspired Mark to hold his fourth equine event in her memory at Towcester Racecourse and after several years of successful fundraising, December’s race has surpassed all expectations with an amazing £10,000 raised for the Hospice.

Attended by around 60 people, including BBC Radio Northampton News Editor, Laura Cook, the Caroline Beesley Memorial Handicap Hurdle was sponsored by Totepool. The race winner was Ultimate Dream, ridden to victory by jockey Killian Moore whose silks were predominantly red which was Caroline’s favourite colour, according to Mark.

Reflecting on this race and his previous events at Towcester, Mark said: “It still hasn’t quite sunk in. I’m not sure I realise what we have done, what has been started, as apparently we’re going to do it again next year. Or at least we’ll try. Fundraising didn’t start until 2015 when £3,000 was raised for this truly commendable cause and everyone said ‘well done’. I shudder to think what they’ll say now!

“Actually, the money is a bonus. The main reason for doing this is to remember my wife in an environment that was special and stage a reunion for many of her friends, family and former work colleagues. Also, to celebrate Christmas, a spectacular and inspiring time in Caroline’s world.”

Photography courtesy of David Yanez, Yan Photography


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Joanne’s Journey

“I needed a lifeline”,”

Hagley resident, Joanne, was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma in October 2013.

Joanne said, “At the beginning of my journey, I wondered how I was going to face the prospect of chemotherapy and losing my hair. How would I feel emotionally? Was I going to be able to cope with it all? The period before starting chemotherapy, I began to get very tired, my joints ached and I found that the one hundred and ten per cent I normally put into my job as a Teaching Assistant was reducing very fast.  I needed a life line.

I spoke to my GP and I can’t thank him enough because it opened a door to KEMP Hospice.  The word ‘hospice’ had always conjured up in my mind, elderly men and women lying silently in hospital beds or sitting asleep in old high back chairs waiting for their next meal. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality KEMP Hospice was my lifeline – it is a vibrant, warm friendly place that provides a great many services to people with life limiting illness in the Wyre Forest.”

The support from the Hospice included help through counselling to enable Joanne to deal with the emotional strain of her treatments.  Joanne, like many people, found this service enormously helpful.  She also benefitted from complementary therapy in the early stages of her chemotherapy, she said, “There is nothing better than a shoulder and neck massage when you’re feeling wound up!”

Joanne has now completed her course of chemotherapy and she is still being supported by the Hospice, mainly from their physiotherapist, Jackie Godfrey who is helping Joanne to regain some of her physical strength and improve muscle tone, which will enable her to walk up and down the stairs independently.  She is looking to the future and has returned to work part time is helping at her local amateur theatre group on some weekends.

She commented, “I am so grateful to everyone at KEMP, without them, I think I would have reached rock bottom. I know that the money to provide the services comes mainly from voluntary donations, so I’ve started raising money.  I want other people who are going through tough times either with a life limiting illness or experiencing bereavement to be able to have a lifeline just like me.   I know what an amazing difference the Hospice services make and I want others to benefit.”