Thursday, 2 March 2017

A proud Geordie lass

I really am proud of my roots and where I come from. I’m a true Geordie lass as I was born in the heart of Newcastle, I love living in the North East of England and personally wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Apart from everyone being so friendly here I think we have the best coastlines ever as well as the best countryside and also the most spectacular places to see and visit.

I love going to Newcastle as I am an outdoor person and love being in the openness and fresh air. I get a great buzz being amongst so many people and love to hear others enjoying themselves. I sometimes can’t help and have a bit chuckle to myself when I hear some of the conversations and when I do hear people laugh and carry on it makes me feel happy to and pleased to be alive and part of it. 

I also love the many different smells and like listening to the buskers and actors on the streets, for me I think it does bring something extra special to the city even if they sound good or bad it doesn’t really matter. Although I still enjoy shopping in Newcastle it is now so different from the place it used to be and the one that I knew. 
There have been lots of changes over the years as many buildings have disappeared, bus stations and picture houses have gone as well as many of the old big brand stores such as C&A, Littlewoods, BHS, Woolworths, Binns and many others which is so sad. I never thought for one minute that it would happen in my lifetime as I grew up with them all and somehow you think they are going to be around forever. There are still many great buildings and places to see in the city of Newcastle as we have a lot of history here. Apart from our famous St James football ground there are beautiful churches, museums, theatres, music venues, our historic one 182 year old indoor Grainger market as well as our beautiful hotels, bridges and our famous quayside.



People are not just travelling from around the country to come and celebrate their hen dos, stag nights and other events here, but Newcastle and especially the quayside have now become so popular and well known that people are now travelling from all over the world to come and celebrate their special events here together with their families and friends. But of course the biggest event which is held here each year is the great north run which has certainly put Newcastle on the map.


It is the most spectacular event of all to be held here in Newcastle where thousands and thousands of people gather from all over the globe and from all walks of life to help raise funds for many charities and worthy causes. I’ve never been brave enough to take part myself which I do feel very guilty about but who knows, one day I might just surprise myself and everybody else and do it. So now you know why I’m proud of where I’m from. 


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Miracles

God has always been in the business of miracles not just in Biblical times but here and now 



For years I never believed in God let alone miracles, it wasn’t until 1983 I witnessed my first when my husband Raymond was knocked over by a car.  On arrival the ambulance men thought Raymond was dead and a blanket was put over him, shortly afterwards somehow another ambulance driver realised he was still alive but only just.

Consultants at the hospital never expected Raymond to survive as his injuries were horrific, the worst that they had seen in years but to their amazement Raymond proved everyone wrong.

His journey to recovery was a long one as his injuries were multiple including brain damage.  For me that was the least of my worries, the most important thing was that he was alive and still here with us. I knew in my heart that it was God and his archangels who intervened and saved Raymond for me.  I strongly believe that your life is planned out for you and if God had wanted to take Raymond to be with him, he could have quite easily of done it there and then.

Sometimes things do happen in our lives of which are way beyond our understanding but somehow I knew there was a purpose as to why Raymond had been spared though I didn’t fully understand the reason why until God revealed everything to me some years later.

There is no doubt in my mind that God does exist and that he can and does perform miracles, I believe it can happen to anyone at any time he chooses whether we believe in him or not.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Faith, Hope & Love



From the age of seven my life was turned upside down and I was left broken hearted.  I felt everything that was good in my life had been taken away from me and I blamed God for all of it.  My Mam left my Dad and she took me, my twin brother and my older sister away with her to live with a new family and a new father.  Shortly afterwards my Nana Gardner who I truly loved and adored suddenly passed away.  I felt my whole world as I knew it had come to an end, I hadn’t just lost my home and family but also my school and all of my friends.

I had never felt so desperate, unhappy, unloved and so alone, it was as if I didn’t belong or matter to anyone including God.  As time went by my life continued to go from bad to worse simply because of the amount of abuse I was suffering from all angles.  Looking back I never realised just how ill I was and how much my life had been greatly affected until everything came to ahead at the age of sixteen when I became mentally ill and had a massive breakdown.

I eventually ended up in a secure mental institution. My experience there was so horrendous that it will live with me forever.  I think it is true to say whether we believe in God or not that he is the main guy that most of us turn to when we are faced with the most difficult and traumatic times in our lives. I know I did.  If you are in a bad and dark place at this moment in time and think that there is no way out, please believe me when I say that there is as I am living proof.  There were many times in my life when I wanted to give up and hoped and prayed that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning.

Many years have now passed and when I look back I still can’t quite believe all I have achieved, remember that you can to if you put your mind to it as everything in life is possible.  Stay away from those who are full of negativity as it will only play with your head and bring you down and make you feel much worse within yourself.  I can’t express enough how important it is to mix and be with those who think and act positive as it will have a much profound and greater impact on your life.

By having faith, hope and love in my life now it makes me want to carry on no matter how bad things may seem, never give up on yourself, live your life to the full and cherish every moment especially with those who you love as we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.

God bless and take care of yourself.


You can read more about my life and how I overcame adversity in my book Blind Courage.



Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Thank you to those have donated and supported

I am writing this blog to say a huge thank you to everyone for all their love, support and donations, we really could not do what we do at Emmanuel House without your kind help.

I would like to say a big thank you to for supporting Emmanuel House over the years. Your generous donations have always been greatly appreciated and has all went towards the running costs of our three Emmanuel House holiday homes that we have purchased and are situated in Weardale. This is a place of outstanding beauty where cancer patients the terminally ill and their families can go to for respite care completely free of charge.

Since the opening of our homes in 2006 we have managed to provide holidays to hundreds of families who were in desperate need of a break. They are always so grateful and don’t just remark about what a lovely time they’ve all had but also express how special and important it was to them being able to go away and spend some quality and precious time having fun with their children and loved ones.






Unfortunately for some it was the last holiday they spent together but at least they will have some wonderful memories to cherish and look back upon. Throughout the years Doctors and Macmillan nurses across the region refer patients to us and I know once again that this year will be another fruitful one.

As well as the many individuals who all donate I'd just like to say a special thank you to the following organisations who have so kindly helped me...

John Luke and everyone at the Haltwhistle & Smith district Charitable Trust

Lynne Govan & Bellway Homes Ltd

Burnopfield Methodist Church

Chowdene Community Church

St Mary’s RC Whickham

Dunston Chapter Rose Croix No1069

Liddell Royal Arch Chapter No3616

Chic’s hairdressing, Lobley Hill

Sorry if I have missed anyone out, you all help us so much and your donations and help mean we can provide families this much needed facilities and support during such a difficult time.  You really are all "Super Stars" and make a difference to so many lives.

So thank you all once again for your support as it has enabled me to carry on with my work in caring and also providing quality of life, but most of all for being able to help put smiles on so many faces who desperately needed it.

Hope you are all well and have a lovely Summer.



Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas Fayre 2016

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came along to support our annual Emmanuel House Christmas Fayre on Saturday 3rd December 2016 and once again it was a great success.  I hope you all had a lovely time and enjoyed yourselves as I know I did.

It was fabulous to see everyone and we really had a fun time, catching up, tucking in to a delicious buffet and singing along with Christmas tunes.


As well as refreshments and food we had a tombola, raffle and gifts for sale.


Everyone did there big to make our Christmas Fayre 2016 a huge success.


Raymond, Ryan and I had such a laugh and it was great to all catch up with everyone.




video


We raised the fantastic sum of £650.00 and I must say without your help, support, generosity and dedication it would not have been possible.  All the money raised will be going towards our Emmanuel House holiday homes that we have purchased and situated in Eastgate Weardale where cancer patients, the terminally ill and their families can go to for respite care completely free of charge.

Each caravan has its own decking area with outdoor table and chairs where you can sit and soak in the beautiful scenery and atmosphere.  There is also a country pub/hotel called the Cross Keys within a few minutes’ walking distance from the site which has wheelchair access, a silver service restaurant attached and a beer garden at the rear with a running river view and access for parking if needed.  They provide a much needed break for people to relax and spend time with their families.

Five to six regular Macmillan nurses across the North East refer patients to me and last year we managed to provide respite holidays for thirty-two families and their carer’s who all had a wonderful time and 2016 has been just as busy.

Next year the total costs of running the holiday homes will be approximately £8,000.00, this is because of site fees, rates, gas, electric and the insurances going up each year as well as keeping them maintained to a very high standard.

So thank you all once again for your continuous help and support as it means so much and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.




Tuesday, 18 October 2016

South Causey Inn

On Sat 1st Oct 2016 our friends son was married at the South Causey Inn at Stanley, myself, husband Raymond and our younger son Ryan attended the evening event and what a great night we all had. When we first arrived we were invited to sit with our friends in the bar/lounge until the function room was ready once again for the evening do. What a lovely welcoming and relaxed atmosphere it had.


We sat on a large leather sofa in front of a beautiful open log fire; you simply can’t get anything better than that. The function room was huge but because my husband and I are non-sighted my friend and son described all the decor and furnishings and also took me on a small tour so that I could feel everything for myself and not miss out on anything.

I have to say how greatly impressed I was, as a matter of fact it was breath taking and quite moving. The night also included a free roulette table for the evening, not to gamble but just for pure fun. There was a winning prize on the night, a free overnights stay for two persons in the hotel and guess who won, my son Ryan.  Imagine my surprise when he generously then passed the prize over to me! 

He said "you go Mam and take someone with you."




I would have loved to have taken my husband with me but unfortunately I look after him 24/7 because of his disabilities and special needs and wouldn’t have been possible. So I took my Mum, Hilary Jack with me instead. We actually went the following Sunday on Oct 9th 2016. I was so looking forward to it just that short period of time for me to sit and chill out and that’s exactly what we both did.

We had a great time just sitting on the sofa in front of the beautiful warm log fire soaking in all the wonderful atmosphere, chatting, laughing and being waited on hand and foot while feeding our faces. What more could anyone ask for. From the moment we arrived we were made so welcome by Sue and Phil the owners and also from their wonderful team of staff.

I have never experienced so much warmth, friendship, expertise and efficiency as I did for those two days at the South Causey Inn. In my opinion it definitely ticked all the boxes from the exotic food, beautiful bedrooms as well as the stunning surroundings. The much bigger hotels could most certainly learn a thing or two from this very unique place. What I loved more than anything about being there was that there was no airs and graces, no falseness about the place, you really could just sit back and relax and be yourself and for me that speaks volumes.


Delicious Sunday Dinner at The South Causey Inn

The difference I feel between the South Causey Inn and other hotels is that it is privately owned and also ran by the owners themselves which shone through and through. To be honest, altogether it was like one big happy family and you were made to feel part of it and that’s the way it should always be wherever you go. I would have no hesitation about advising anyone to go and visit there even if it was only for a drink as you will not be disappointed.

Relaxing on the sofa
It is also the ideal place to go if you are feeling down, lonely or living on you’re own and just want a bit of company, as you will be made very welcome. When you sit on the sofa by the log fire it really is like being in your own home except you have company around you. Who knows you might even bump into someone who you already know or maybe someone who is in the same position as yourself.

So thank you once again Sue and to your lovely husband Phil and to all your staff for allowing us to have such an enjoyable stay and I look forward to catching up with you all again in the near future.

God Bless and take care.






Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Sponsored Dip in the sea in memory of Dave Pickett



On 24th August 2006 Dave Pickett sadly passed away leaving his loving wife Dawn and his two wonderful children Alex and Jack behind.  He was one of my patients at Emmanuel House and had been bravely battling with Oesphogeal Cancer.  Although I only got to know Dave for the last few months of his life he was a great guy who always had a smile on his face and was an inspiration to many others.

Dave was loved and well known by many people.  They all helped out and together  raised the fantastic sum of £4,500 for Emmanuel House, donated in his memory by his family, friends and work colleagues.  We were truly blessed to receive such a kind donation at such a difficult time.

Dave Pickett with his daughter Alex

Because so much money was donated to Emmanuel House in memory of Dave Pickett I felt the need to do something special with it.  So in 2008, on his son Jack's third birthday, we opened a Summer House for children of all ages and equipped it with everything that they would need from table football, keyboard, boys workbench, dolls house, games and much more. 

I somehow felt that Dave would have wanted me to provide a place for the children where they could have their own fun time whilst their parents would come and relax, have therapy or just a simple chat with others.  

On the opening of the Summer House Dawn Pickett said “it was a really emotional day but a happy one as well”

Since Dave’s passing ten years ago we have never lost contact with Dawn and the family and they have been great supporters of Emmanuel House throughout the years.  

In August Alex held a beach party in memory of her father to help raise funds for Emmanuel House.  


tynemouth beach party for charity
Alex with her friends & family at the Beach Party


You can read more here on her JustGiving page here.

It was the ten year anniversary for her dad, and she wanted to celebrate his life.  She organised a party on Tynemouth Beach for friends and family.  

There was even a sponsored dip in the sea to help raise funds.


Taking the plunge


raising funds for charity at tynemouth beach
A wonderful way to raise funds & remember Dave 


alex and her friends raising funds for emmanuel house


Between the JustGiving page and donations on the day they raised £300 in total and we are extremely proud of Alex, she really is a truly amazing young woman.    

"It was a fantastic day and it was amazing to have the support of all my family and friends." Alex said.

"I'm glad I could give something back to Christine and Emmanuel House as they have helped our family so much, and my Dad adored Christine and Ray".

She is an inspiration and regularly fundraises in memory of her Dad.  We are so blessed to know people like Alex, who help us do what we do.  Without fundraising we simply would not be able to help people the way we do.  We have three holiday homes situated at Cragside Caravan Park in Eastgate near Stanhope in Weardale.  They are available free of charge for cancer patients, the terminally ill and their families to go to for respite care.  It cost £7,000 per year to keep our holiday homes up and running, so we're always grateful for any help.

If you would like to learn more about what we do, click here.

If you are interested in raising money for Emmanuel House ring us on 0191 460 9693, we'd love to hear from you