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Two friends whose mothers-in-law both passed away at St Barnabas House from cancer in 2019 have created a book of recipes from people in the local community which they are selling to raise funds for the hospice.
“Both my mother-in-law, Gill Grace, and Mel’s mother-in-law, Gill Horne, were unwell and going through a similar journey at a similar time,” says Lucy. “After their deaths, we were thinking up all sorts of ways that we might be able to support the hospice and came up with the idea of a recipe book.”
Mel continues, “The idea of preserving precious family recipes was important to us as we shared many memorable meals around the dinner table with our loved ones, and when my mother-in-law died, I realised that sadly I didn’t have the recipe for the shepherd’s pie she used to make.”
In an effort to make sure other people didn’t lose their favourite family recipes, the friends reached out to the local community on Facebook and asked if they would like to share recipes that had a special place in their heart.
The book contains 38 recipes which span many generations, from Ferring Primary School’s legendary 1960’s Jam Roly-Poly, to one lady’s Covid-19 Strawberry Ice Cream which gets its name because ‘pick your own’ fruit farms were one of the first places to open up during lockdown.
Alongside their favourite dishes, people have also shared memories of their loved ones, some of whom were cared for by the hospice. “A lot of the people who reached out also have a connection with the hospice,” says Mel. “The book is full of precious anecdotes about family members and friends, and it’s nice to be able to preserve these alongside their recipes.”
The friends are aiming to raise £700 for St Barnabas House to allow others to benefit from the same care that their loved ones received.
“We wanted to raise some money as we know the hospice doesn’t get much government funding,” says Mel. “St Barnabas was there to guide my mother in law (pictured right, with grandchildren) and our family through all the different stages of her breast cancer journey – from practical help with filling in forms, to advice on pain relief and emotional support.
“When Gill’s health deteriorated the hospice provided a night sitter, which meant my father-in-law could get some sleep knowing that someone was with her if she needed anything. And, when she was admitted to the hospice in April 2019, the care was just so compassionate. The nurses took the time to explain everything to us, and on the day she died, they had the care and knowledge to call us at 6am so we had the opportunity to all be there with her as a family for her last few hours. They had got her changed into a fresh nightie and everything was as calm and peaceful as it could be.”
“The support that was given to the whole family during such a difficult time was wonderful,” says Lucy. “My mother-in-law had volunteered and given a lot of support to her own local hospice in Lincolnshire before she moved to Sussex. So, she absolutely knew that at the end of her life she wanted to be in a hospice environment. She was very reassured to know that she would be cared for at St Barnabas and was kept as comfortable as could be.”