The Story of Hazel Marsden House, Berwick
Hazel Marsden was an Occupational Therapist at Berwick Infirmary in the 80s and a real character of a lady.
She was an active member of a group at Berwick Infirmary called ‘Hobi’, which organised trips out locally for the elderly people in the area. She pioneered the idea of running holidays for elderly people to the Lake District, often folk who had no family around.
Chris Foreman, one of the founders of HospiceCare North Northumberland, volunteered with this. Chris, together with a district nurse at the time in Wooler, also knew Hazel. The seed for the Day Hospice came after Chris and the district nurse attended an Oncology club meeting where a Macmillan nurse spoke of the benefits of day hospice provision for palliative care patients. A few days later the district nurse called Chris to discuss how they could get a day hospice off the ground for the people of North Northumberland. They thought Hazel would be very interested to hear of the plans and so they helped co-ordinate the 1st meeting with Hazel.
An accountant and solicitor were also present to discuss the idea of a day hospice. Hazel pledged £1,000 to support the idea of the day hospice - other local health professionals and lay people were invited to come on board to help progress the plans. Hazel said at that point she would make a substantial donation if they could get their plans off the ground. During the summer and autumn of 1994 - 4 Public Consultation meetings were held - 1st at Wooler - with Chris and the district nurse presenting to the local communities what was available at that current time and what the future could look like with the addition of a day hospice - they were very well received and attended, particularly in Wooler.
A district nurse from Hexham was appointed as the Day Hospice Manager in May 1995. In October 1995 in Shilbottle and Berwick, the first patients were seen in rented accommodation. In 2002 Hazel left an amazing legacy of £200,000 - which was used to purchase the Seaman’s mission building in Violet Terrace, Berwick. In 2003 Hazel Marsden House opened its doors for day patients to receive care and support , which continues today.
Hazel's legacy to HospiceCare continues to support the demand for our clinical services today.
If you would like to leave a legacy to HospiceCare, no matter what size, we would be hugely grateful.