How boots got appeal up and running…

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When the appeal launch event was being planned, we wanted to do something to capture people’s attention, but we also wanted it to be relevant to palliative care.

In the same way that nurses, doctors and other health professionals involved in palliative care have the patient at the centre of everything they do, we too wanted to create a public fundraising appeal that has meaning and relevance to patients, their families and carers, and at the same time provide the people of the Borders with ideas to generate this sum of money.

One thing that became very clear in the many conversations we had during the appeal planning phase is that palliative care is as much, if not more, about living as it is about dying.

In addition to medical care, a lot of time spent by the specialist doctors and nurses with their patients and family members is focussed on helping them make the most of the time that they have left.

During a conversation with a member of the palliative care team, I asked what they were most often requested to help patients who have a life limiting diagnosis with, and the answer was: “Tying up loose ends.”

For people in the palliative phase of their illness, “tying up loose ends” can range from very practical support such as wills and other financial matters, to facilitating visits to see family, friends or special places for the final time.

The concept of tying struck us as a very positive idea that could be developed as a theme for the Margaret Kerr Unit appeal. We started looking into it, and couldn’t believe our ears when the whole of a “pause for thought” slot on the Radio 2 breakfast show was about the issue of tying.

The words of Cannon Anne Easter could have been written with our appeal in mind, and one quote seemed to represent everything we were planning to do: “Tying knots is what makes the fabric of families, communities and societies strong and resilient and we need to celebrate that strength because it is what supports us when times are difficult, when change is afoot, and when difficult decisions may have to be taken.”

We wrote to the breakfast show and got a lovely letter from Anne Easter, wishing us all the best for the appeal.

The giant boots are our representation of the concept of “tying up loose ends” and are a positive image that will be associated with this very special appeal.

In addition to the boots, the appeal fundraising pack includes lots of ideas about what can be tied to raise money; so please tie up something and do your bit to raise this final million to help build the Margaret Kerr Unit for the Borders.

TheSouthern is backing the appeal. If you are planning a fundraising event or have already raised money, let us know and we’ll let our readers know.

Boot facts

The boots were made in Beverley, Yorkshire by papier maché sculptor Nicky Clacy,

Length: 2.7m

Height: 1.2m

Weight: 18 kilos

Time to make:- 135 hours

Coats of paint: 3

Number of newspapers used: 37

Length of laces: 6 metres each

Distance travelled to BGH: 189 miles