Poet donates proceeds of book to hospice

14th November 2017

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: It is with great sadness that due to stringent infection control measures, we are required to restrict visiting and cannot offer the comprehensive level of service in the way we usually do. However, we will still do our utmost to make sure that each patient and loved one is given the compassion and dignity they deserve. To help families stay in touch we are encouraging virtual visiting using technology such as video calls and apps. This will be discussed and explained to patients and families on admission and we can help provide access to equipment in the hospice. In addition, the IPU nursing team will liaise with each patient and family to arrange short daily visits from the patient's closest loved one and compassionate visiting, as appropriate. Read the full details here.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.