ELVIS was definitely in the building to celebrate the opening of new facilities at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Royton.
And the ‘King’ will always be on the mind of staff, visitors and day patients after his surprise visit.
There were certainly a few people all shook up when the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Shadab Qumer, appeared as Elvis Presley.
Oldham’s first citizen turned up at the Turf Lane hospice in bright red shirt, wig and dark glasses as he arrived to perform the official opening for their refurbished Day Services and extended Café K.
He was dressed as Elvis –complete with mayoral chain – after being tipped off that the day patients were also celebrating the retirement of popular staff nurse Kay O’Neill, renowned for dressing up in an Elvis costume to lighten the mood of patients.
And the Day Services patient were overjoyed to see the Mayor join their tribute to Kay as they had Elvis-emblazoned T-shirts specially made for the occasion.
The surprise prompted applause from the gathered guests and staff and Kay was even serenaded with a few choruses of Elvis hit ‘The Wonder of You’.
The Mayor chatted with patients in the fine surroundings of the new Café and even found time to join in a session of Tai Chi before losing the wig and glasses to perform his official function.
He was officially welcomed to the Hospice by board chairman Mr Vernon Cressey and Chief Executive Joanne Sloan who both paid tribute to the efforts of staff to make the changes happen and who were delighted to see the day patients back at the hospice after their enforced break.
After cutting the ribbon to officially declare the facilities open, Cllr Qumer had a trio of surprises for the Hospice.
First he presented Mrs Sloan with a cheque for £1,000 – money that will be spent on equipment for a new children’s area in the family unit.
Then he made a presentation to the Hospice’s spiritual care coordinator Pauline Brierley on the eve of her wedding.
And lastly he presented the Hospice with four free tickets to the Asian Business Leaders Dinner which are now going to be handed out as prizes in a free raffle amongst the day patients.
“This is a very special organisation and it has been a pleasure to be able to meet so many people and be part of the celebration to mark the opening of the improved facilities. I am sure they will be well used,” said Cllr Qumer.
The Mayor has proved a big hit with staff and patients alike. After a recent tour of the Hospice he met the Friday Under 50s group and five of them went to the Mayor’s Ball as his special guests.
The group had a special gift for the Mayor and Mayoress as a thank-you for their tickets… they had a ball!
STAFF at Ryder and Dutton are stepping out to raise money for the Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.
The estate agents, whose head offices on Salmon Fields backs on to the grounds of the Royton hospice, are fielding a team in the 12th annual Hospice to Hospice Walk on Sunday, April 29 (10.30am start).
They have signed up to complete the 7.25 miles from the Hospice to Springhill Hospice in Rochdale and back by a circular route.
The event, sponsored by Zen Office, will see hundreds of walkers raising money for both Hospices.
There is still time to pre-register online: www.drkershawshospice.org.uk for £7 or pay £10 on the day (from 9.15am).