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Poet donates proceeds of book to hospice

14th November 2017

Elizabeth Rolph, Averil Stedeford and Alice Brunt

A generous poet has donated hundreds of pounds from the sale of her book to support hospice care.

Dr Averil Stedeford, who lives in Hanley Swan, near Malvern, gave £300 to St Richard’s Hospice after selling copies of her poetry book The Long Way Down.

The 85-year-old’s poetry reflects time spent with her husband after he was found to have inoperable cancer, and of her journey through bereavement.

Her poems also draw on her experiences working at the Sir Michael Sobell House hospice in Oxford as a therapist and teacher of palliative care.

“I wrote most of the poems at the same time as they happened which is why they have an immediacy about them,” explained Dr Stedeford, who has written poetry throughout her life.

“People use words like “it is very comforting”, they read it over and over and say it’s lovely even though it’s so sad.

“I think it describes what they have been through and they think: ‘Gosh, somebody else has been through this before me’. It gives them hope.”

The author and humanitarian Terry Waite has commented on Dr Stedeford’s book.

He said: “’This book is a very personal account of the pathway Averil trod when her husband died.

“The journey describes the agony of separation and leads the reader through to the positive fruits that can emerge from suffering.”

Dr Stedeford, who lives in a care home, will donate all the profits from sales of her book to hospice, cancer and bereavement charities.

St Richard’s is the first charity she has donated proceeds to, following publication of her book earlier this year.

Alice Brunt, Fundraiser at St Richard’s, said: “We are grateful for Averil’s generous donation – her support is very much appreciated.

“Her donation will go towards funding our specialist care to patients living with life-limiting illnesses, their loved ones and bereaved people across Worcestershire.”

A Long Way Down is available to buy from Aspect Design, in Newtown Road, Malvern, and The Lyttleton Well bookshop, in Church Street, Malvern.