Marie Curie nurses in County Durham are celebrating ten years of a vital service providing overnight care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

The end of life charity’s 24-hour Rapid Response team in County Durham was first established in spring 2012 and ensures that terminally ill people and their families can get urgent support in the event of a crisis, typically at night or at weekends.

Its nurses are on hand to help to manage symptoms and provide emotional support at short notice – whether that’s in people’s homes, in nursing homes or over the phone.

The 10-year milestone was celebrated in the sunshine with food, a special cake and a bouquet of flowers for every nurse in the team – all of which was donated by local volunteers and supporters.

Gillian Foreman, Marie Curie Clinical Nurse Manager for the North East, said:

“For many of the people we care for and their families, the night-time can be particularly hard. During the day they feel they can pick up the phone and there will be someone on the other end, but its different overnight. I think fear and loneliness really kicks in. That’s why it’s so important our Rapid Response nurses are there.

“Our team in County Durham, like all our colleagues, have worked through some incredibly challenging times recently, so it was great to be able to celebrate this milestone and thank them for their tireless work in supporting those who need us most.

“Many of our nurses have been part of this service since the day it began so the fact that they are still here today shows how truly dedicated and special this team is.

“I’d also like to thank our wonderful volunteers and supporters who helped make the celebration so special and memorable for our nurses.”

As well as providing support for those living with a terminal illness and their families, the Marie Curie Rapid Response service helps prevent unnecessary hospital admission, allowing terminally ill patients to spend their final weeks at home, while also providing an important link with District Nurses, GPs, and local hospitals.

For more information about Marie Curie’s Rapid Response services visit, mariecurie.org.uk.