From France to Rosemere – the Prestonian spreading Christmas cheer in mum’s memory

Posted on - 23rd December, 2020 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Charities, Fulwood, Health, People, Preston News, Sharoe Green, South Ribble News
Staff with their gifts

Brexit uncertainties and the coronavirus pandemic have done nothing to jeopardise the relationship between a Prestonian living in France and Rosemere Cancer Centre’s in-patient Ribblesdale Ward.


This year, much like the past four years, Helen Duchamp, who lives in Grenoble with her husband Phillipe and their three children, has been working for months to secure sacks of Christmas gifts for patients and
staff over the festive period.

Helen’s dad, Mick Brakewell of Bamber Bridge, has already donated a car boot load of bath products donated by Preston’s Royal Sanders company.

There were also toiletries gifted by Morrisons stores in Leyland and Bamber Bridge.

Read more: Kind-hearted gran creates popular milk bottle top Christmas trees to raise funds for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

In addition, donations were received from Beech’s Fine Chocolates and Frank Anthony Kitchens Ltd. During Christmas week, Mick will deliver a consignment of Greenhalgh’s mince pies with enough to go round all visitors to the ward.

Helen and her family take on the role of Santa in memory of her mum, Jill Brakewell, who spent time on the ward. Jill sadly died of leukaemia in November 2015.

She was known for her love of Christmas and so her family making everything as Christmassy as possible for patients, their families and those looking after them is Jill’s legacy.

Read more: Silence is golden for Rosemere as carol service raises funds despite Covid-19 cancellation

Helen said: “It was mum’s most favourite time of the year and she would be
thrilled that we are able to bring some Christmas cheer to the Ribblesdale,
especially this year.

“All my usual contacts have stepped up and friends have also given to ensure we have enough gifts to go around. We are incredibly grateful for all this support during this difficult time.”

Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, accepted the gifts and treats, which were all quarantined in line with Covid-19 guidelines before being taken onto the ward.

He said: “We used to buy Ribblesdale patients a Christmas gift but since 2016, Helen and her family have been doing a brilliant job of treating everyone connected with the ward.

“We are well aware of the tremendous effort they put into making Christmas special. It’s a lovely legacy for Jill. We are extremely grateful to Helen, Mick and everyone who supports them.”

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What do you think of Helen and Mick’s efforts for Ribblesdale? Let us know in the comments.

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