THE SPEAKER this evening was Lisa Kimpton from St Peter’s Hospice, Bristol’s only adult hospice which cares for residents of South Gloucestershire and North Somerset too.

We all knew of the hospice and of their excellent reputation for end of life care.

Lisa started with a brief history of the hospice which was originally located in Knowle and opened its doors in 1980.

Before that, in 1978 there was a community nurse who helped patients and their families.

Their first shop opened in 1981, there are now 51 shops that raise £2million each year.

In 1998 the site at Brentry was built and is the focus for the 40th anniversary this year with a new wing of 15 single en-suite rooms.

Each room has a sofa bed for family and doors that open on to the garden. The project was started last October and will be completed in a year, on time and in budget!

The funding appeal is called ‘Room to Care’.

The hospice costs £20,000 each day to run with only 25 per cent of that coming from the NHS so the shops and community fund raising events are as important as the many volunteers who work as drivers or in the kitchen, café, reception and gardens.

Members were concerned that 15 beds would be inadequate for such a large area but many people now prefer to remain in their own homes as their life ends, with a palliative care nurse.

The hospice, therefore, can also help with respite care, art and music therapy, and patients can stay to manage their symptoms and control their medication then leave again, usually after a couple of weeks. 2,200 patients use the facilities each year, as well as 6,000 family members.

This evening’s competition was the best decorated cake and there were so many delicious and beautiful cakes it was difficult for the speaker to judge them. Julie Barnes won with a lemon sponge decorated with intricate sugar craft flowers. I quickly purchased and ate a slice and it was indeed a winner.

The cake sale raised, including a small donation in lieu of the speaker’s fee, just over £100! Everyone was amazed and pleased by this.

As usual, the May meeting will be on debating this year’s National Resolution ‘Mental Health Matters’ new members are very welcome.