From pink lemonade to the trek of a lifetime – Ruth and Billie Rose’s Story
How a granddaughter is keeping a promise to her beloved Gran, all in aid of Weldmar
Billie Rose Hampshire is taking on a colossal challenge later this year. She, and her partner Scott, will be trekking 3,000km across the length of New Zealand, hoping to raise £5,000 for Weldmar Hospicecare.
It’s all in memory of her beloved Granny – Ruth – who was cared for at our Inpatient Unit in Dorchester in 2014 after falling ill.
“She was the typical granny”, says Bille Rose, “always baking, with grey permed hair and floral skirts. She was amazing. She volunteered in the charity shop in town, she went to church every Sunday, she walked everywhere, and used to help everyone all the time. I could always go and see her – she’d put the kettle on and we’d take the mickey out of people! She was lovely and witty and hilarious.”
Billie Rose was actually travelling in New Zealand at the time, and had a heartbreaking phone call from home asking her to return. She did so immediately, and along with other members of her family, cared for Ruth at home until the time came for her to move into the hospice.
“Their personal touch meant everything to Granny. She didn’t like to make a fuss, and didn’t want to appear poorly – ‘I’m fine’, she’d say! Everyone was normal with her, they’d take her out into the garden and have a cup of tea and a chat with her”.
“They turned me from her carer back into a granddaughter for the last couple of weeks and I will forever be extremely grateful.”
Two memories in particular stick in Billie Rose’s mind about Ruth’s stay. The first is pink lemonade. “Granny loved pink lemonade. One of the nurses had been away for the weekend and seen it for sale, and had brought it back for her. She was also particular about her hair, it was always neatly permed and she’s always use a heated roller brush. Her hair had become flat being in the hospice, and so with the help of the nurses, they tilted the bed backwards so I could wash her hair in bed.”
“I also asked if I could stay with her. A nurse disappeared, and returned within a few minutes with a camp bed so that I could stay in her room with her.”
“The staff were outstanding. They went well beyond what they were expected to do.”
Support was there for the family too, with members of the family taking up the counselling offered to loved ones by Weldmar.
All of this care led Billie Rose to devise a plan to return to New Zealand in memory of her Granny, and raise money for Weldmar Hospicecare by taking on the challenge of a lifetime.
“Gran had recorded each of my flights, my weekly location, the friends I had met.. EVERYTHING. Without me knowing she had created a lovely travel journal for me, and together we sat for hours looking through it all as I showed her (endless) photos. She made me promise I would complete it one day.”
Billie Rose and Scott will be walking the Te Aroroa trail, which is 3,000km long, and takes in seven mountain ranges and volcanic areas, and includes a number of days kayaking down rivers. Whilst the average time it takes to complete the trail as around four months, the pair hope to do it in just 100 days, carrying all of their kit, clothing, and food.
They have been doing plenty of local walks in Dorset to prepare, including the coast path, and circuits around Portland! “I’m really excited”, says Billie Rose, “New Zealand is such a beautiful country, but I’m also nervous because it’s going to be tough – there’s some difficult and rough terrain to cover.”
The training will also involve work in the gym to build up strength in legs, back and shoulders, ready for what will be a real test of endurance.
It’s such an undertaking that Billie Rose has decided to leave her job as a teaching assistant at Conifers Primary School in Weymouth when she leaves for New Zealand, and she’s thankful for all of the support they’ve given her.
Not to mention the final stages of a psychology degree, Billie Rose also has her fundraising target to meet, and is planning quiz nights, race nights, raffles, and more.
Weldmar Hospicecare is dedicated to providing end of life care for patients and their loved ones, tailored to individual needs and wishes, just like some of the ways Billie Rose has mentioned above. All of our care is provided free of charge, but it costs £18,000 a day to keep these services going. Your help in supporting people like Billie Rose, or by supporting Weldmar in other ways, all helps us to continue this care for anyone who needs it in Dorset.