Little “Random Acts of Crochet Kindness” have been popping up across the Hospice (and around our local community) for months, helping to bring a smile to anyone who may need it.

Our very own Ward Clerk, Carol Thompson, is the crafter behind these kind gestures.

The idea of sharing a random act of kindness is what sparked Carol’s interest in learning how to crochet. Since the moment she taught herself how to crochet, she has been leaving little crocheted gifts for patients and their families around the Hospice. Each gift can take about 20 to 60 minutes to make and she scatters them around the local community for strangers to find, including crocheted “worry worms” in cheerful colours. The hobby has also become a special experience shared with her mum, Sylvia, an avid knitter. Sylvia knits lovely hearts which have been placed at the Hospice ward for anyone to help themselves to.

“It’s wonderful to know that something small can bring a smile to someone’s face or make a difference to their day. My late husband knew that I never had the time to crochet before and is definitely having a chuckle at me from above as I am so addicted to it now. He was a right joker. The truth is, I never considered myself the knitting / crocheting type, yet I have found so much happiness and therapy in it. I feel that it is important to help share a message of kindness and positivity wherever we can, no matter how big or small the gesture.”

A bit about Carol

Carol has been a member of the St Raphael’s family for more than nine years, in a variety of roles. Her first encounter with the Hospice was through her father-in-law, who was supported by our Inpatient Unit for a few short hours before he died. She describes those fleeting hours having made such an impact on her that she immediately knew she wanted to work at St Raphael’s.

“With St Raphael’s, it’s the combination of medical skill and love that really sets it apart. It is the huge sense of relief that the Hospice gives you when you walk through the doors, knowing that your loved one is in the very best hands. The care that my father-in-law received from St Raphael’s in his final hours of life and the support we received as a family was second to none. During those short hours, it was clear that St Raphael’s was, and is, a very special place. I immediately looked into their job vacancies on our return home as I knew I wanted to be a part of their team.”

With 17 years of experience as a Healthcare Assistant in nursing homes, Carol applied for a Healthcare Assistant role at the Hospice. She had specialised in Dementia care at the time and felt that palliative care would be a natural transition for her.

“I never thought to ask what the wages would be when being interviewed for the role” Carol explains. “It was really about something bigger than that. It was about giving back where I could to a charity that gave my family so much, in such a brief but significant moment in our lives. I was thrilled when I joined the team.”

Carol worked as a Healthcare Assistant at the Hospice up until six years ago, when she took on the role as Ward Clark of our Inpatient Unit. She quickly started to enjoy the set hours of her new routine and being home for dinners with her family.

Come Christmas time, Carol’s late husband always encouraged her time spent on the Hospice grounds. He used to say to her that “it Is important to be there for people who are struggling, especially at Christmas when they need you most.”

Reflecting back to Christmas years ago, Carol remembers her husband arriving in the Hospice parking lot with a friend who had a Land Rover. They had covered the car with twinkling fairy lights from top to bottom. A gesture they had made in case any patients and their families were passing by and could do with a bit of cheering up during the festive season. “Anything to share a bit of joy and make people smile” Carol says. Carol and her husband helped to run the London to Brighton Land Rover Run one year, nominating the Hospice as their charity to help raise funds for.

Carol explains: “We often don’t realise how much people may need a bit of compassion. Simply to let someone know, someone we may have never met, that they are not alone and that they are appreciated.”


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