Lancaster hospice gets birthday support from across the pond

A former Morecambe man now living in the United States has pledged his support for Lancaster's St John's Hospice in its 35th birthday year.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Alan with his dad and sister.
Alan with his dad and sister.

Alan Dale has pledged to raise a minimum of £100 and become one of the faces of the hospice via their new campaign, the 35th Birthday Club.

The Slyne Road hospice cared for Alan's mum before she passed away.

To raise money, Alan wanted to do something unique and decided to host a global ‘FaceTime-athon' - setting himself the goal of video calling someone for a chat in as many time zones as possible at noon local time.

Alan's parents, Alan Snr and Antoinette.

Alan connected with 13 time zones across nine countries, calling people in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Italy, the UK, Canada, Brazil and the United States on March 17 (St Patrick’s Day), in total calling 34 family members and friends - plus seven dogs and two babies!

Originally Alan wanted to raise £400 so he could ‘beat’ the amount raised by his sister Nicola when she did a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis for St John’s in 2009, and has finished raising well over £1,000.

Alan’s parents ran The Cedars Guest House in Morecambe in the 1980s and he has since lived in Australia before settling in Boston.

When Alan was 15 his mother Antoinette became a patient at St John’s Hospice, and sadly passed away.

Alan’s dad became a single parent to three children, including Alan’s older sister, Tracy, who was born with spina bifida and lost not only her mother, but her full-time carer too.

Alan said: “For 30 years my family and I have had a very negative March 17, due to it being the anniversary of when we lost Mum.

"I saw the 35th Birthday Club as an opportunity to do something for St John’s Hospice in memory of mum, and doing it on March 17 would give this date a new meaning, however, in order to that everyone had to be involved.

“It was fantastic to think of an idea which enabled me to do that, the calls which involved family and old family friends were precious as we intentionally shared memories of mum, everyone dug out old photos and thanks to technology we were able to share them and talk about them live.

"Four of mum’s siblings came over from Italy for a couple of weeks just before she passed. They had fond memories of St John’s Hospice and its tranquil grounds with lots of spring flowers, and how well cared for mum was whilst there. A man would bring fresh-cut flowers to mum each morning.

“Overall, everyone’s connections with each other and our memories of our late Mum were definitely reinforced and going forward, March 17th will be the day it happened. In addition, we got to say a big thank you to St John’s Hospice in mum’s memory too.”

Lauren Kelsall, fundraising coordinator at St John’s Hospice, said: “It’s been a real pleasure getting to know Alan and learn about his family.

"We wanted the 35th Birthday Club to be a way for people to make connections and build our community, so it’s great to hear that Alan was able to connect with family and friends all over the world with his fundraiser!

"This is such a unique fundraising idea, and it shows fundraising can be done in many different ways. I would encourage anyone with an idea for a fundraiser to give it a go, whether it’s a sponsored bike ride, bake sale or something a bit different – the St John’s team will support you all the way!”

You can join the 35th Birthday Club for St John’s Hospice, by signing up here.