Walking on Sunshine: Annabel from BBC NW Tonight visits the hospice

Published on: 11/07/2024

In 2019, Wirral Hospice St John’s inherited many elements of the BBC NorthWest Tonight Sunshine Garden which had been created to celebrate the life of Dianne Oxberry, a popular local TV personality and weather presenter who passed away earlier that year. Although we never knew Dianne personally it still felt like we had all lost a friend.

The garden was a feature at the famous RHS Tatton Park show and our hospice was chosen to re-house it to coincide with a large garden makeover.

Now, this year, the BBC NW Tonight team have designed a garden which is combining the best bits of all those they have hosted over the last 25 years.

To that end, local news presenter, Annabel Tiffin, visited the hospice to see how the Sunshine Garden had bedded in in the last five years and to reminisce about the time hospice patient, Sue Edwards, spoke for the hospice on-air at the show in 2019.

Sue was a hospice patient who spent quite some time, following Wellbeing Centre sessions, as part of the famous Friday baking group. Her husband Charlie was always on hand to bring Sue to and from the hospice and they became familiar faces here, so much so they were invited as guests to the tea party for the Sunshine Garden at Tatton Park.

Nowadays Charlie has become a  general duties volunteer on our inpatients ward sometime where, sadly, Sue had died with her breast cancer in early 2020.

Charlie was only too happy to join our medical director, Dr Emma Longford, and garden volunteer Kay in explaining just how vital the hospice garden, incorporating the Sunshine Garden in many parts, brings welcome relief and a beautiful backdrop for our patients.

A group of the garden volunteers, who have done such an amazing job of pruning, weeding, cutting and expertly tending to the garden, were also on hand to say hello to Annabel and she thanked them all for their kind dedication to the hospice.

Annabel and her cameraman were here for nearly two hours chatting happily between the professional interviews and a link to the footage, as it appears in a segment on BBC Northwest Tonight, will also be available to view here soon.