Two well-known celebrity personalities from the Midlands have been reflecting positively on the palliative care their partners received, as they pledge their support for the Birmingham hospice that looked after their loved ones.

West Bromwich Albion legend, Brendon Batson and former ITV Central News anchor, Llewela Bailey donned white feather badges to encourage people to support Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and its Resilience Fund Appeal. The hospice, located in Selly Park, provided vital care for their partners in the final months of their lives.

Llewela Bailey's husband was given end-of-life care by St Mary's Hospice in Birmingham BSMH
Llewela Bailey’s husband was given end-of-life care by St Mary’s Hospice in Birmingham

Batson and Bailey’s spouses were both cared for by Birmingham St Mary’s doctors and nurses during their illness and up to the very end of their lives. Their gratitude and appreciation for the care they received led them to back the Hospice’s urgent appeal for support during the coronavirus crisis.

The Selly Park based Hospice charity provides free care and support to individuals and families across Birmingham and Sandwell who are living with life-limiting illness.

Doctors, nurses and frontline staff at Birmingham St Mary’s have been caring for people with life-limiting illnesses throughout the pandemic – including those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Despite its crucial role, the charity has seen a huge drop in its income during the pandemic. All 17 of its charity shops had to temporarily close, and all community activities, corporate partnerships and fundraising events have been postponed. It costs £23,288 to run the hospice every day; £14,000 of this coming from fundraising and donations.

Former sportsman Brendon Batson OBE is urging people to support the hospice during the difficult COVID-19 period BSMH
Former sportsman Brendon Batson OBE is urging people to support the hospice during the difficult COVID-19 period

Batson’s wife Cecily was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009, and was cared for at home by staff based at the hospice.

“I’m supporting Birmingham St Mary’s Resilience Fund Appeal because I know first-hand how important their work is,” he said.

“When my beloved wife Cecily was diagnosed with a brain tumour back in 2009, my family and I were so grateful for the care and kindness she received from Hospice nurses which allowed her to stay with us at home.

“The Hospice needs people’s support more than ever before, so I urge people to get behind the appeal and donate whatever they can, to keep these vital services running.”

The resilience appeal’s emblem is a white feather, representing loved ones no longer with us IAB / BSMH
The resilience appeal’s emblem is a white feather, representing loved ones no longer with us

The appeal’s emblem is a white feather, symbolising the memories of loved ones who are no longer here, but also as “a sign of hope and determination that brighter days are ahead”, according to the charity.

Birmingham St Mary’s has created ‘Remembrance Feathers’ and is asking the local community to write messages of personal remembrance and celebration, to then be sent back to the Hospice.

TV and radio presenter Bailey praised the hospice for looking after her late husband.

“I’m dedicating a feather to my husband Martin, who was cared for by Birmingham St Mary’s. The Hospice will always be close to my heart after the amazing care he received and the support myself and family were given during the most difficult of times.

“Now the Hospice urgently needs the community’s support, so it can keep on providing compassionate care to families like mine. I’m asking people to donate to the Appeal and to wear the white feather with pride.”

To find out more about the appeal and donate, visit: birminghamhospice.org.uk/resilience.

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