Creating special memories for hosipice families

Playworker Sue Pelling (below) organises special visitors to Brian House, including the cast of local pantomimes.
Playworker Sue Pelling (below) organises special visitors to Brian House, including the cast of local pantomimes.
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Part of working at Brian House children’s hospice involves creating special moments for the all the children there, as well as their families.

And that’s where Sue Pelling comes in.

Sue Pelling, our Brian House Playworker

Sue Pelling, our Brian House Playworker

Sue has worked at the hospice for 14 years, and as well as playing with the children she helps organise special visitors into the hospice as well as days out.

“It’s all about making memories,” she said.

“We’ve had theatre characters and donkeys in the hospice, and we’ve been out to the zoo and visited the donkey sanctuary in Manchester.

“I organise the Christmas party, which I’ve just started working on this week, and the nativity service, and we have drop in days where parents can have a natter with each other and the children can play.

“We also do a bereavement drop in for siblings, where I help them make memory boxes for their loved ones.”

Another keepsake Sue, 52, does is make hand and footprints for children before or after they have died.

Surrounded by children with life threatening and life limiting conditions, many people think working at Brian House, on Low Moor Road, Bispham, would be upsetting.

But for Sue, it’s a privilege to work there.

“It can be very emotional at times, but on the whole it’s a happy place,” she said. “If it isn’t a place of happiness, I haven’t done by job properly.

“You can’t help but get attached to the children here, especially those who have been here a long time and you’ve got to know their parents and their siblings.”

Sue, who started out as a nursery nurse, said there were too many wonderful experiences at Brian House to pick one favourite, but a couple come to mind.

She said: “When we had the donkeys from the donkey sanctuary in it was amazing. Just seeing the children’s faces light up was unbelievable.

“We also recently took the children to BAE Systems at Warton and had them flying in an aeroplane, which was totally amazing.”

Brian House is set to be refurbished thanks to The Gazette’s Hospice Heroes campaign, which aims to raise £200,000 to make it fit for the future. The kitchen will include a bigger cooking area for patients, the bedrooms will be made safer and brighter and the living room will be made bigger to accommodate medical equipment.

At Trinity Hospice, single rooms will be created and the original furniture and features will be updated.

Sue said: “This work is really important. We will be able to have somewhere private to go with maybe siblings if they are finding it tough, and we can work more one-to-one with them.”

“The new kitchen will be brilliant to have – we will be able to do proper baking with the children.”

DETAILS OF HOW YOU CAN DONATE OR GET INVOLVED ARE LISTED ON OUR DEDICATED HOSPICE HEROES PAGE.