New Chief Executive Officer at the helm

We are delighted to welcome Mike Thornicroft as our new Chief Executive Officer.

Mike brings with him a wide range of experience in service development and delivery and partnership working in the Third Sector.  He has a long-standing interest and commitment to ensuring that people with health conditions are effectively supported and cared for.

He was previously Director of Operations at Leeds-based social enterprixse The Ahead Partnership where he was responsible for service delivery and development.  The Ahead Partnership delivers activities within educational establishments involving businesses to improve the chances of employability for students.

Prior to this, Mike had 14 years’ experience with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and its associated charity Action for Blind People. His last position with this charity was as Head of Service Delivery and Operations across the Northern region.

Mike said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Tynedale Hospice at Home. It’s a wonderful charity and I am inspired by the innovative way it delivers high quality hospice care to people in our local community.  I am looking forward to working with the team of dedicated staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters to build on this excellent work to ensure that our care and support reaches the people who need it in the heart of the communities we serve.”

Anne Francis, Chair of Trustees at Tynedale Hospice at Home, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mike to Tynedale Hospice at Home.  He brings with him a unique set of skills which will contribute significantly to the continuous development of our Hospice as we strive to provide high quality care and support to hundreds of people in our local community.”

Mike replaces Alison Hands who stood down as Chief Executive Officer in June after three years in the post.

A very warm welcome to you Mike!

It’s Hospice Care Week!

Join us in shouting #HeartMyHospice this Hospice Care Week

We’re celebrating Hospice Care Week this week (8-14 October) and we’ve teamed up with Hospice UK and nine other independent hospices across the North East to shout about we do in an annual week of activity to raise the profile of hospice care across the North East and the rest of the UK.

The theme this year is ‘Heart My Hospice’ and  throughout the week we’ll be sharing news about our work, the people who receive our support and our fab volunteers and supporters who do so much to help us and asking why people ‘Heart their Hospice.’

From our nursing care staff, our volunteers, our trustees and our supporters, we couldn’t provide the vital, compassionate care we do without their expertise and dedication – and your support.

Here’s what some of our staff and volunteers say about why they love Tynedale Hospice at Home…

Please support us this Hospice Care Week by:

  • Getting in touch about volunteering with us by calling our main office on 01434 600 388
  • Making a donation. Every pound donated makes a different to providing our vital care – a £30 donation will provide one hour of hospice at home nursing care to someone who needs it in a place of their choosing.
  • Getting involved on social media by sharing our posts and using the hashtag #HeartMyHospice #HospiceCareWeek


Young people’s film helps others cope with bereavement

Six young people share their personal stories of grief to help others.

Our amazing Great North Run weekend!


We can’t thank our Junior and Great North Runners enough for their amazing efforts.

We’re appealing for new volunteers

If you want to meet new people, gain new skills and help to make difference in your local community, then one of our volunteering opportunities could be perfect for you!

We’re looking for new volunteers to support a whole host of our activities, including:

  • Occasional Fundraising volunteers
  • Hospital Transport volunteers
  • Collecting tin volunteers
  • Retail volunteers for our shops in Hexham and Ponteland

A volunteer’s story
When Hexham resident Wendy Reed was looking for a volunteer opportunity, a post on Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Face book page really caught her attention.

“The Hospice was looking for occasional volunteers to help sell their Christmas soft toys and run fundraising stalls in the lead up to Christmas. I was looking for something worthwhile to do so the call for volunteers came at just the right time in my life.  I signed up to become a fundraising volunteer shortly after and I am so glad I did.”

Now Wendy is a regular face in the local community, running fundraising stalls in local department stores, selling raffle tickets at events and fayres, helping out with collecting tins and selling soft toys when needed.

“I love being out and about meeting people and there’s plenty of opportunity to do this in my role.  Knowing that I am doing something worthwhile, however small that is, means a lot to me.  When I spend a day selling raffle tickets or running a stall and find out that we’ve raised an good sum, I think about the amount of nursing care this might mean the Hospice can provide and there’s a real buzz in knowing that because of the time I’ve given, someone, somewhere is able to receive this support.

“I have always been involved in volunteering  and I’ve developed lots of skills that mean I can turn my hand to a variety of roles but being out and about meeting people, like I am in this role, suits me best. I get lots of support from the Fundraising team and the other volunteers are great so it’s a real team effort.

“We’re so lucky to have Tynedale Hospice at Home in the heart of our community and lots of people I know have benefited from its support or know someone who has.  I can’t think of a more worthwhile charity to support.”

To find out more about what’s involved, please call Sam Horne, HR and Volunteer Adviser, Tynedale Hospice at Home,  on 01434 611 913 or visit

Sun shines on afternoon tea celebration

We say thank you to our volunteers with cake and a cuppa.

Charity dinner is a recipe for success

Over 60 people attended a special charity dinner last week hosted by award-winning Hexham restaurant Bouchon Bistrot, raising £466 for Tynedale Hospice at Home.

The event was a first for Tynedale Hospice at Home and Bouchon but will definitely not be the last.

Bouchon’s Gregory Bureau said:  “We wanted to do something to support Tynedale Hospice at Home as it’s a wonderful local cause and does so much good work in the community. The event was great fun and I was delighted to see such a good turnout on the night.  I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who booked a table and supported the evening.”

Cathy Bates, Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Senior Community Fundraiser, added: “Bouchon is a really special restaurant and Greg and his team did a fantastic job on the night, creating a special menu for everyone who attended. The service and food was excellent and the amount raised will make a huge difference to the people who need our services.

“We’ll definitely make sure we have another great night at Bouchon on our fundraising menu in the future!”


Spring edition of Newslink is out


The Spring edition of Newslink, our supporters’ newsletter, will be hitting doormats in the next week.  In this packed issue you can read about how our Nursing Care team were a pillar of support for a family whose precious Nana received our hospice care in her final weeks, the amazing bargains and hidden gems you can find our shops and news of our annual Big Bake campaign which launches this month.

You can catch up with the news here.

Fundraiser is easy as pie!


We’re kicking off our 2018 Big Bake campaign in style by joining forces with two Hexham businesses to encourage people to ‘bake a difference’ in our annual fundraiser.

Deb and Tim with their Big Bakes.

TastyBITES and Robson & Sons Butchers are creating the perfect sausage roll to sell at our special Big Bake stall at the Farmers Market in Hexham Market Place on Saturday, 14 April between 9am and 1pm.

Tim Graham, owner of Robson & Sons, said: “We’re delighted to partnering TastyBITES by providing the award-winning Hexhamshire sausage meat to go in the Tasty Bite sausage roll.  We are proud to be a local business supporting such a worthwhile charity that helps so many people.”

Deb Humble from TastyBITES added: “Our customers return again and again for our sausage rolls so for everyone we sell during the Big Bake campaign we’ll be making a contribution to the Hospice. Tynedale Hospice at Home provides wonderful support in the community and as a local business we’re really pleased to be involved.

Our Nursing Care team love lemon bundt cake!

Now in its third year, our Big Tynedale Bake has raised over £10,000 for the Hospice.

Cathy Bates, Tynedale Hospice at Home’s community fundraiser said: “Our Big Bake campaign is a popular fundraiser but we thought we’d bring it back with a difference this year. Most people think of baking something sweet for a coffee morning or bake sale but not everyone likes sweet things.  This year, we’re encouraging any type of baking so if a savoury pie tickles your taste buds more than a cup cake, you can still get involved.”

“Last year, we raised over £5,000 through the Big Tynedale Bake but we’d love to top this if we can.  Whether you’re part of community group, school, a local business or simply just want to invite a few friends over for a cuppa and a cake or pie, please get involved. We can supply you with our Big Bake Fundraising Pack, which includes everything you need to host your own event.”

Cathy continued “The need for our services continues to grow.  In the last year, we provided over 4,916 hours of nursing care in the home, enabling 86 people to die at home at they had wished.  Our Family Support and Hospital Transport Services are also in high demand.

The Big Tynedale Bake is taking place throughout the Spring and Summer so there’s plenty of time to get organised, join in and help bake a difference!

To find out more visit Get Involved


Finding someone to listen and make sense of my feelings


“Having just finished GCSE’s and with the whole world in front of me, caring for my dying Mother at home and losing her just before Christmas is not what I had imagined I would be facing as a 16 year old.

I lived alone with my Mum, Judith, and a week before I started sixth form she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mum was a social worker. She was caring, creative and really good to all of her friends. We were really close but when she became ill, things changed. All of a sudden I had to learn to care for my Mum by myself, I had to learn to cook, clean and learn basic medical skills. Mum was in so much pain and although district nurses visited, every night I was on my own.

When you know that you are going to lose the person you love, obviously you want to have as many happy times as you can but… that is not the reality of caring for someone who is dying. When I was awake in the middle of the night, helping Mum to go to the toilet or cleaning up after she had been sick. I felt so alone. I knew that my friends wouldn’t be doing the same. It is so easy to feel that you are the only person in the whole world who is having to do this sort of thing, that you are the only person who has got a Mum who is dying or that you are the only one who has lost a parent. You can’t underestimate the help you need when caring for someone who is dying or how much there is to do. If I’d had more help that would have made a difference.

Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Rainbow Room

Finding someone to listen and making sense of my feelings: I first heard about the family and bereavement support at Tynedale Hospice after my teacher at school told me about Emma. Emma, one of the practitioners, had visited my school to help other children whose loved ones had died. I visited the Hospice’s Rainbow Room, a special, safe and colourful place where young people like me can begin to talk and make sense of what we are feeling.

I wanted to keep school separate from everything that was going on at home and although my friends helped, often they didn’t know what to say.

I met with Emma and Carla from the Hospice every couple of weeks and kept in touch via email and phone and it made the world of difference.

Thanks to their support, I could talk through my feelings, get them out in the open and process them in my own mind. I understood that it was ok to be angry, to be cross at Mum and that it wasn’t wrong to be feeling that way. I also understood that I wasn’t alone. Without talking I would have gone mad.

Mum was happy I could go to the Hospice and in the weeks before she died, visiting the Rainbow Room and talking helped me to understand my grief better – even when everything around me felt out of control.

Anna in the Rainbow Room

Treasured memories: Carla gave me a notebook to write in – during one of the first sessions I wrote down words that reminded me of Mum – it was helpful to have something physical to do. I also created my ‘Mum box’ – a box of memories about Mum, and even now I go back and add to it. It’s good to have the box there.

Sometimes I find it quite hard to remember Mum before she was ill. My main memory of her is the person that was dying but the Mum Box helps to remind me of all the happy moments we had and with the help of Carla, I’ve been able to hold onto safe memories, like Mum and I sitting in the garden and Mum working on her tapestry as ‘Boo’, our cat played around us!

Unlimited support: Mum died, aged 47, on the 9th December 2016. I felt overwhelmed and for a long time I didn’t feel like talking or coming to see Carla and Emma, so I had a break – I always knew the support was there if I needed it and that helped. Nearly a year later, I was invited to take part in the teenage Film Club at Tynedale Hospice and I accepted. I met with 5 other teenagers, all of whom had lost a parent. Together we have put a film together that helps explain our experiences, talks about our feelings and what grief is like. Recently we went to Broomley Grange Activity Centre and I braved muddy tunnels and high wires in the trees before sitting down with my film club friends around a bonfire to toast marshmallows and reflect on our shared experiences and achievements. We had all been through horrible things but the day was fun, challenging and helped to take our mind off things.

Family Support Practitioners are on hand to help.

I am taking back control! It’s been more than a year since Mum died and I just keep in mind that this happened to me and there is nothing I can do about that but the emotional skills it will have equipped me with will last me my whole life. Nothing will ever, ever be as scary as going to my Mum’s funeral, and if I can face that, then I can face anything. Soon I hope to go to University to study chemistry. Looking back, it’s been good to have the opportunity to reflect, pause and try to put what I’ve been through into words.

Grief is a weight that you carry around, it is unexpected and it will get you at the worst of times. You can’t decide what day it’s going to be, grief will decide. But it does get easier and you learn to live with it and it’s a bit nicer when you’ve learned how to live with it.

I had no idea what to expect when I came to the Rainbow Room at Tynedale Hospice but I was shown so much care and given more support than I could ever imagine. I had the opportunity to say what I was thinking without judgement and I received support from such lovely people who go out of their way to make a difference. The support I’ve received from Tynedale Hospice is unique and something I couldn’t have accessed anywhere else.”

Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Family Support Service provides help to children, young people, individuals and families who are facing bereavement or who have been bereaved.  Our services are free and available to all and you don’t have to have been touched by our Hospice care to receive this service.  To find out more, please call 01434 600 384.