Volunteer Receptionist Trish Smith would walk 500 miles and then she’d walk 500 more (at least) for Wirral Hospice St John’s

Published on: 05/08/2021

On Sunday 8th August, Trish Smith, retired nurse and Wirral Hospice St John’s main reception volunteer, completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks (for a third time, no less) to raise funds for the hospice.

The conditions were especially challenging as Trish (and daughter Clare) traversed the ‘peaks’ of Pen-y-Ghent , Whernside and Ingleborough which form part of the Pennine Range in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The ‘walk’ involved a 24 mile hike with over 5,200ft of ascent.(See Trish pictured here at Pen-y Ghent in the soaking rain!) 

Trish has accomplished the challenge before, so she already has the honorary membership of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club, which is no mean feat, (pun absolutely intended).

She gets plenty of practise as Chair of the Deeside Midweek Rambling Club. Trish helps to organise regular scenic walks around Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales to keep the group, around eighty members, literally, on their toes!

We thought it would be good to get to know Trish a little bit more and understand her motivation for both walking, to raise money, and volunteering, giving precious time, for the hospice.

She’s volunteered on main reception for around six years now and, like many volunteers, she has a personal reason for what she calls ‘giving a little back’.

Her beloved husband Edward, known as Ted, was with us as an Inpatient in 2012. Trish remembers,

“The hospice team were brilliant with Ted. He had always been an independent person and they showed great respect for that, treating him with exemplary dignity. His wish was to be comfortable enough to come home to us and he duly did.”

Ted sadly passed away very soon after, at home, in May 2012.

Trish had met Ted in 1972 when she was a student nurse at Clatterbridge Hospital and where he was a recovering patient. He’d lost his right leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident but he was so cheerful and determined that he made a massive impression on Trish.

They married at the picturesque Barnston Church in Wirral in 1975. Daughter Clare was born in 1976 and, in 1979, son Mark also came along.

Clare, a pharmacist, (Pictured with Trish on a previous walk) now lives in Yorkshire with husband Richard and Trish’s granddaughters Georgia and Jessica (*pic below). She’s joining her mum once again on the Yorkshire Three Peaks with her own efforts going towards Cancer Research UK.

Mark is a graphic designer and lives in Derby with wife Suzanne (*pic below). Mark has had his own challenges, being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, but happily, with intensive chemotherapy treatment, has been in remission for around four and a half years.

Ted and Trish (pictured above) enjoyed a full family life. For their own part they loved cruising the waterways and canals on the narrowboat they owned and Ted particularly loved angling and was an active member of the Thornton Hough Village Club anglers. Because he was one of life’s true character’s, his passing was a massive blow to everyone, including their large wider family (Ted was one of eight siblings and Trish is one of five).

Since that time Trish has taken part in a number of sponsored walks, including the Wirral Coastal Walk, and raised several thousand pounds for us.

We missed her and all of her volunteer colleagues in the lockdowns last year, while we guarded against any potential spread of the coronavirus and to keep them all, alongside our patients, shielded from any possible infection.

Now Trish is back every other Thursday on reception and it’s lovely to see her. For the time being we’re taking the precaution of only one receptionist at a time, so the work load is often amplified. However, Trish is just pleased to be back helping while missing the camaraderie, for now, of sharing reception duties.

She mentions her first colleague, Sue Barker, who sadly passed away (and whose family, spurred on by wonderful daughters, Kate and Emma, show so much support for the hospice) and also more recent reception buddy, Marjorie Fagan, who has been handing the baton over to Trish after her own stint on Thursdays.

One of Trish’s other talents is for poetry and we thought we’d finish by sharing one she wrote about the joys of walking…

Follow Our Leader

We follow our leader where e’er they go

Through ankle deep mud or soft white snow

Over stiles and through kissing gates we’re led

In Cheshire, North Wales and Wirral, 

Our leader at the head.


Undulations, undulations 

Ups and downs, We follow. 

To the top of a mountain,

Or deep in a hollow.


Through tunnels and over bridges. 

Along canals. Across the famous aqueduct. 

On Roman roads, through countryside 

With barely a hint of disorderly conduct.


Through fields of maize at shoulder height 

Across the sands at Formby beach 

Hoping to spot red squirrels 

In fir trees, out of reach.


We stop for a short coffee break 

And much needed sustenance 

“Now it’s time to carry on”

The leader does announce.


Through woodland filled with bluebells 

Or wild garlic permeating the air 

Through brambles. Across meadows 

On and on without a care.


Until, we take a wrong turn 

And then the map comes out,

Or the GPS shows us the way 

However did we manage without?


Eventually we stop for lunch 

A picnic or at a pub 

No matter which we all agree 

We’re thankful for our grub


The leader hands out the sweets

To each and everyone 

Jelly babies and liquorice allsorts

I think that’s why some come


At the end of our ramble 

We thank the leader for a super, smashing walk

Then we go home to chill out 

And pop another cork!


Great friends and camaraderie 

There is nothing else quite like it in my view. 

Next week we’ll do it all again 

It surely keeps us fit. It’s true.

That is literally Poetry in Motion, Trish.

Everyone thanks you so much for your commitment and dedication to Wirral Hospice St John’s and a massive WELL DONE for completing your third Yorkshire Three Peaks.


If you‘d like to support Trish with a kind donation please login here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/trish-smith11

 If you would like to organise or take part in a walking or any other challenge please find links on our companies and events page at www.wirralhospice.org/eventsandcompanies or contact our friendly events team by calling 0151-343-0778 or email events@wirralhospice.org

 If you would like to volunteer for the hospice check out www.wirralhospice.org/volunteering for some of the latest opportunities. We’d love to hear from you!

Ted Ho!

Georgia, Clare, Richard and Jessica