Former volunteer, Ann Morgan, 48, has ties to St Ann’s that date back to when she was just two years old. In 1975, just four years after St Ann’s opened, Ann’s grandmother, Martha Boulderstone, fondly known as Marie was admitted to St Ann’s with cancer.
Despite the severity of her cancer, Marie went on to be a resident at the Heald Green hospice for nine years, defying the odds after being told she had months to live.
Ann, who was from Little Hulton, used to travel to Cheadle every Sunday to visit her grandma with her parents, Harry and Lily Hilton.
I used to look forward to our visits every Sunday, which we made without fail. St Ann’s became a very special place to me and my grandma was so respected and well cared for. The staff were second to none and gave her amazing care and love. Ann Morgan
As Ann got older, growing up around St Ann’s, she began helping with the trolley at teatime and soon decided she wanted to volunteer and serve afternoon tea to the patients. Volunteering gave Ann the chance to spend more time with her grandma at the hospice.
Ann said: “I mainly loved the time I got to spend with my grandma. All my other grandparents had passed away and we had a really close bond.”
Marie stayed with St Ann’s for many years and was a patient when the Little Hulton hospice was opened with her receiving the first place for a bed.
Although Little Hulton was much closer to home, Marie denied this, wishing to stay at Heald Green as she had built strong relationships and friendships with the staff and volunteers.
Ann said: “Grandma didn’t want to leave Heald Green, she was very happy there and wanted to stay where she was until her time came.”
One of the most iconic memories for Ann was when Coronation Street Actress, Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner, opened the fete one year. Ann remembers all the celebrities and VIPs that visited St Ann’s during those nine years, especially as they made a great effort to speak to her grandma who had become a bit of a hospice celebrity herself.
St Ann’s became a home from home for Ann and she accumulated many fond memories from collecting conkers in Autumn to riding the little train or playing the tombola at the hospice’s annual fetes.
The hospice was rooted in her childhood with many moments captured at St Ann’s including birthdays and Christmas.
Birthdays or festive seasons were always fun. I loved being made a fuss of by the staff when it was a birthday celebration and I remember counting my grandma's birthday cards. She would have so many pinned up on the walls of the room. Ann Morgan
In 1984, Marie died at St Ann’s on a Sunday with Harry and Lily, Ann’s parents, by her side. Ann was too young to attend during her grandma’s last hours.
“Grandma passed away peacefully with my mum and dad at her side. She always said she wanted to die on a Sunday and I was glad she got her wish.”
For Ann, St Ann’s Hospice will always be a place she remembers fondly, with the memories over the nine years shaping her childhood. The hospice wasn’t a place any of them feared and Ann soon came to learn it was one of care and compassion that was replicated year on year by the staff and volunteers at St Ann’s.