A light in the darkness of lockdown

Butterwick Hospice has been a lifeline for many people since it was founded over 37 years ago, and never more so than over the last 12 months.

Everyone living through the Covid-19 pandemic has faced unexpected difficulties, but for one day care patient, it was the Stockton-based hospice that helped her through it.

For Sarah Northridge, from Thornaby, her weekly trips to the Butterwick for therapy and social time was the highlight of her week, and when lockdown came into effect, she eagerly looked forward to the time she could re-join the friends she had made.

“I’ve been visiting the Butterwick for three or four years now,” Sarah said. “I suffer with multiple sclerosis and Grave’s Disease, which means I’m in a wheelchair and some things are difficult for me.

I’m stuck in the house 24/7, but going to Butterwick got me out of the house and let me meet people. I get lovely food, they help me get into the bath, and it’s just gorgeous.

“They don’t mind me taking my iPad in either, so I can do my exercise classes with the MS Society on Zoom!”

When lockdown was announced in Spring 2020, staff at the hospice made the difficult decision to temporarily close the doors for the safety of patients while Covid-safe measures were put in place.

“Not being able to go every week was hard,” Sarah admits. “But getting to go back when the doors re-opened was just perfect – just to see a different four walls was a big thing!

“They were in contact all the way through lockdown too! Every month someone would give me a ring to see how I was doing. It was really lovely to know that someone there cares.”

Sarah is back at the hospice now once per week for socially-distanced treatments, including her favourite aromatherapy massages from Butterwick’s resident complementary therapies team.

She added: “I just think Butterwick, the people they have there, what they do for us – they’re amazing.”

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