MORE than 70 patients in self-isolation were treated to afternoon tea when hospice staff and volunteers prepared and delivered goodies to their doors.

The team from St Cuthbert's Hospice, in Durham, had planned to carry out the small act of kindness for a while but it just happened to coincide with the start of the second national lockdown.

Carefully prepared by the in-house hospice catering team, each parcel contained a cream tea with sandwiches, scones and cake.

The Northern Echo:

They were delivered to the homes of those currently isolating due to their life-limiting illness and who have been unable to return to the hospice’s Living Well Centre since it began reopening to limited patient numbers in August.

Denise Crawford, day services manager, said: “We continue to make weekly calls to those patients who cannot return at present.

"These can range from a brief conversation to something longer for those who require a little more of our time, as sadly they may not receive any other contact from the outside world.

“Our intention with the deliveries was to lift spirits and to show they still remained very much in the thoughts of everyone here at the Hospice.

"For some the many months in isolation has taken a toll on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Not all guests have the luxury of a loving family, friends or a close knit community, and for them recent times have been tough.”

The Northern Echo:

Staff hand wrote individual notes to accompany each of the seventy afternoon tea parcels and volunteers helped to deliver them over two days.

Some patients found the gesture overwhelming and struggled to hold back the tears.

Ms Crawford added: “None of us could ever have imagined the reaction this simple act of kindness evoked.

"The ability for us at St Cuthbert’s to still make human contact, albeit socially distanced, it’s the greatest gift of all.

"It is such a privilege that when someone is in one of the most difficult phases of their life that human kindness can have such an impact, often the simplest of things can mean the most.”

The Northern Echo:

In October the charity launched an urgent fundraising appeal, saying Covid-19 had hit its coffers by an estimated £300,000.

It expects to lose another £41,000 with the closure of its eight charity shops due to lockdown.

To support the appeal visit