Voices 4 Health Charity Concert

charity concert-flyer

The Choir will be staging their own Charity Concert on 15th July at 7:30p in St, Peter’s Baptist Church, so anyone who would like to come and hear them is welcome. They are raising money for the Meadow Birth Centre and The Faye Turner Suite (a facility for parents who have had a stillbirth) at Worcester Royal. Tickets are £5 and available from revdavidsouthall@aol.com or available on the door.

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14605586.NHS_choir_will_raise_funds_for_those_who_have_suffered_stlllbirth/

Harry Turner: Unstinting Champion and Chairman at Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust

harry

Here is my Chaplain’s blog Article for the Worcester News on 7th March 2016

In a scrapbook filled with photos I was invited to write my piece on the occasion of the Hospital Chairman Harry Turner stepping down from his role after 6 years. Harry has left a legacy of putting patients at the centre of all we do, and of investing in the staff. He spent way more time in this place than his contracted hours; cared passionately for the Hospitals of Worcestershire; was vilified and suffered personal insults from so-called pressure groups who should be ashamed of themselves (Yes you know who you are!); and did it all with dignity and professionalism. It’s wrong that he has gone, but then small minded politicians and NHS mandarins will have their way. So what to write in that scrapbook – well, here goes:

“Harry,
What japes we’ve had. Who can forget you, somewhat disturbingly, shaving off my moustache at the end of Movember, or the Paddle, Plod, Pedal where you were there to “ jeer” us on early in the morning. Or, of course, the Rainbow Run when I beat you convincingly.
There are other things too. Your unstinting championing of the Chaplain’s Blog and the Voices 4 Health and COPD Choirs. You really get it that your staff matter and investing in them pays dividends. And for us to be invited to sing for HRH The Princess Royal will take some beating.
In all the time that our paths have merged I have never known you not attend one of my “madcap” schemes, even when it meant shifting your diary commitments, in order to engage with staff and make the Chairman visible…and I still chuckle at having the chance to soak you in the Ice Bucket Challenge. What other Trust Chair would have done that?
You know that I am sad that you are going but the machinations of the NHS have always been a mystery to me. All I know is that the impact you have had on the Acute Trust is immeasurable; and, as importantly, I have valued your friendship.
With many happy future days to you and yours,
David”

The Letter in My Baby’s Coffin

tear

 

This week I met a courageous woman who has now lost three babies. I have taken the previous two funeral and will be taking the third soon. She has written a letter to her daughter Darcie which will be placed with her in the coffin along with a teddy bear.  She has given me permission (along with the babies’ names) to share the letter with you to give us some insight into what it is like for her. I hope you find it beautiful, touching and it causes you to utter a few prayers for her.

“Hey Baby Girl. I’m so sorry Darcie! It’s all my fault again. I hope your brother and sister met you at the gates and you have all settled down up there with Nanny and Granddad. I want to say I love you all so much. It hurts me so much to know you are so far away from me. I will be with you, Thea and Willow as soon as I can. I was hoping and praying so much that I would have you here with me – I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I wish I did. I just think you were all too special to be here. I know I would have been a great Mommy to you all. I did get to hold you in my arms for a few hours and it was the best feeling ever. I couldn’t believe how perfect you were and you looked so much like your Daddy. Please all look after each other up there till I get there. I promise you all I will do my best to get you a headstone and clean the grave up. There’s not much I can say my baby girl. I think I’m hurting too much. I love you Darcie, Thea and Willow with all my heart. I will see you soon my angels. Love your Mommy xxxxxxxxxxxxx.”

And now with tears in my eyes, I will stop writing and say a prayer for this brave woman and her beautiful babies.

Go Well “Gentle Friend”

harry and charlie

Today a member of our family went to sleep. When I first met him I knew that he was someone who could be completely trusted. His eyes held wisdom beyond his age and his gentleness was evident in his gaze. He has proven himself to be strong, courageous, and a good friend. But with deteriorating health his time to go on the next leg of his journey had come.

So at 12 O’Clock, in an act of kindness and love, denied to many others, the vet came and put our huge, strong, tender horse, Harry, to sleep.

Now if you are not an animal lover then I give you permission to “tut”. But your “tutting” only means that you have not yet experienced the strong and beautiful bond that forms between a human and their horse. I have seen that bond between Harry and my daughter Charlie, his owner, carer, devotee, lover, confidant and friend. A bond that has been there from the moment that she met him, which has developed with Charlie and has infected the entire family. Harry taught me to ride- trusting him completely. And he always did his best to please us, but especially Charlie.

Now, if love could have saved him then Charlie’s love would have; but love couldn’t save him. His laminitis (a serious condition in his legs) was too severe. So in a final act of love we did what Harry couldn’t do and took the painful, heart-breaking decision for his journey to end.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and love for Harry and Charlie on Social Media from horsey and non-horsey friends alike. So much love from people who understand and have been there. And, of course, we have so many wonderful memories; of his galloping; his life; the joy he gave and the love he received.

And I will never forget his wisdom; the way he looked at me and understood me at the deepest of levels. I will never forget how he changed our lives and my daughter’s life, adding quality and depth.

So for now, GO WELL, GENTLE FRIEND.

Thanks from an Insufferably Proud Grandad (that ME!)

emilia grace999

“Which service?”

Ambulance please,” I said with panic rising in my voice.

My daughter Suzy’s waters had broken at 4am that morning and by one O’clock she was having contractions really close together. We had tried to get her in the car, but by that time she couldn’t down the stairs.

The operator stayed on the phone and the crew arrived within 10 minutes. Their control, calmness, professionalism and care was exemplary – and with loads of reassuring words and some gas and air Suzy floated down the stairs and straight to the Meadow Birth Centre.

We were met at the door by Lucy, who calmly took control and showed Suzy to the Violet Room. It is a pretty room, beautifully decorated, with a huge birthing pool in the centre. Alison, Suzy’s Mom and also the baby’s Dad, were the birth partners and stayed with her. And in just two hours beautiful Emilia Grace was born.

My other children and I went up to welcome her to the world at about 4pm and she was already looking at the new world, and her mom, contentedly with beautiful big blue eyes.

My midwife friend Alison took over care and from about 9:00pm, I was alone with Suzy and Emilia as we were being prepared for discharge home. Alison was calm, professional, caring, interested and happy for us as well; and she made sure she took some photos of us putting Emilia’s leaf on the Birth Centre Tree to mark her birth.

Mom and Baby are doing well at home but I can’t stop thinking about that day. Usually my stories are second-hand; but for this once I was not the Chaplain, just David, a proud Dad and Granddad, watching in awe at the superb treatment we were getting from people who know their stuff.

So from a normal Worcester family, we want to give our heartfelt thanks to the Ambulance crew and Meadow Birth Centre staff for the best treatment we could have possibly asked for. Amazing is too small a compliment. We will always be in your debt!

 

ON SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT AND BINGO – OR HOW THE CQC IS SO OFF BEAM

Big Up the NHS

Last week David Southall approached me to ask if I would publish this piece as a guest blog on “Big Up the NHS”. I have just started a new job as a medical consultant in his trust so I am getting to know about the organisation.  I already know it is a good hospital staffed by good people. Also I totally agree with what he is saying – so there was no hesitation. Here it is.


Well the cat seems to be alive-and-dead simultaneously in the sealed box. At least that was the conclusion of the thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger of his cat placed in a box with a bottle of poison and various other paraphernalia

It got me thinking because my hospital has recently enjoyed (or should that be endured) a CQC visit. The Hospitals in our Trust have been rated as inadequate and placed into special measures. And…

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Singing, Dementia & Voices 4 Health

Just in case you found today’s Blog post too contentious, here’s another to get your teeth into. Hope it gets as much interest, if not more so, than the previous one. God knows it deserves too!

V4H Christmas

The Voices 4 Health NHS Choir singing at a Nursing Home

So on Thursday evening 20 of us for the NHS Voices 4 Health Choir put on our Santa hats and Christmas Jumpers and headed to a local nursing home. While setting up I had the chance to talk to some of the residents. Some were frail elderly; some others had levels of confusion or dementia asking “Where am I?” or “When can I go home” or talking about relatives and loved ones from the past.
We started with a carol and then sang one of our pieces: The Little Road to Bethlehem. After that I asked them for an X-Factor style vote. Did they want to sing Angels from the Realms of Glory or Ding Dong Merrily on High. The second one got the loudest cheer and so that is what we sang. And when we got to the chorus “Glor…….or…or.or…or…or…ia Hosanna In Excelsis”, I looked up and many of the residents were joining in with beaming faces. One lady in the front was obviously enjoying herself so much. Now what is remarkable, is that many of those who were joining in were the very ones who, in my initial chats, wouldn’t have been able to say where they lived or where they were now. But to sing along with a carol was not problem; and, in fact, more than that, they gained some happiness from it.
Music has the power to bring joy and healing. It has the ability to bring back to mind events long since lost in the mists of time. It has the facility to transport people to happier places. I know this because this is what it does for me.
So, on the surface we were just one of many choirs visiting nursing homes this Christmas, but deep down – who knows – we might have been the instruments which gave these lovely people some respite from their condition.
I believe that music can reduce physical pain; that it can salve wounded emotions; and that it can heal deep wounds in the soul. So I hope we can return there soon to bring some more healing.

Please let me know if this is your experience too. You can comment on this blog.

Note: Unlike other blogs and sites I have to APPROVE comments before they are posted so that they do not cause untold concern or hurt. Only comments which are in line with the ethos of the Blog will be approved. Abusive and personal comments will be assigned to where they should be- “The TRASH” – or the rubbish bin in English:)