TWO miniature Shetland Ponies have visited guests and patients at St Cuthbert’s Hospice. Petal and Lily, along with their handlers for the day, Jean and Richard Gamlin, travelled from Newcastle to visit the Durham charity on Monday 19 February.
Both Jean and Richard work as Marie Curie Rapid Response Nurses and are based at St Cuthbert’s. Richard said: “We’ve been based at St Cuthbert’s for a number of years so have seen first-hand the wonderful care and support given to those who visit the hospice. It is a real joy to be able to bring the ponies along to help bring comfort and joy to lots of people, and possibly help them to forget their worries for at an hour or two.”
“Petal and Lily belong to our friend Jenny Wilson, who kindly gave permission for us to bring them along to the hospice for the morning. They usually visit nursing homes and charities so are well used to meeting people. They’re incredibly calm which in turn has a calming effect for those who they meet.”
The ponies spent an hour meeting Living Well Centre guests, patients from the In Patient Unit and staff. Living Well Centre Nurse Julie Brown said: “We are pet friendly at St Cuthbert’s so are used to seeing small pets from time to time but seeing the ponies in the lounge was quite a surreal experience. As they trotted along from reception everyone’s faces were lit up with joy. I think people couldn’t quite believe their eyes. The ponies were so well behaved and spent time greeting everyone. It was wonderful to see.”
St Cuthbert’s Hospice offers a range of palliative, end of life and bereavement support services free of charge to the people of County Durham. To find out more about the services available visit www.stcuthbertshospice.com