Community News: Garden House Hospice – From Charlie Chicks volunteer to Hospice ‘Frailty Service’ patient

It’s that time of year when Garden House Hospice Care’s Charlie Chicks campaign spreads joy across North Hertfordshire and surrounding villages. These cheerful chicks are knitted and crocheted by many keen volunteers, before being stuffed with Creme Eggs and sold in schools, shops and beyond, to raise vital funds for the Hospice.

Doris sitting comfortably in the inpatient unit

Throughout the years, one of their most keen volunteers has been Doris Jaszczak, who just so happens to have been admitted to the Hospice recently, as a patient through their new Frailty Service. After being diagnosed with anaemia, Doris had a blood transfusion and has been experiencing health issues ever since. She is now receiving more personalised care, until she’s well enough to move into a care home.

Doris was happy to talk about her involvement with making Charlie Chicks:
“I’m trying to bring my memory back as to where it all started from, as it was quite some time ago. I remember when I started sewing – doing the eyes and beaks, and every chick having to be exactly right, otherwise it wouldn’t pass Doris’s inspection. So I would make alterations, making sure that the egg fitted – it was important that the egg didn’t fall out when in a bowl of fifty other chicks. It was a very important job, but I made it so.

“Then we upped our game a bit and got into making chicks with hats. My friend, Jo Wiffen, was the instigator of that, and she was great. Then I got my daughter-in-law involved as well as she’s very good at sewing, much better than me.

“Each year I had a bedroom full of them. There was so many I can’t remember the exact number – but there was hundreds and hundreds, and even more hundreds of them!”

Charlie chicks that have been knitted by volunteers

“I would encourage anyone to get involved. You don’t have to make hundreds – just make half a dozen and that will help. I honestly enjoyed the chicks while I was doing them, and there’s also a good social element to it. I made a lot of friends.”

When asked about her experience with the Hospice’s new Frailty Service, here’s what Doris said:
“It’s marvelous. I only have to call and say “Please may I have…” and it appears – and I’m sure that’s the same for everyone, not just me. It certainly is a wonderful place. I never expected to be in here, partaking of it. Last Sunday when the lady came up to me in the hospital and asked me if I’d like to come to the Hospice, I said “Yes please” and off I went that afternoon. I knew exactly what I would get from the Hospice was care and attention, and I have.”

Not only did Doris significantly contribute to the Charlie Chicks fundraising – she also volunteered on reception at the Hospice. The team had a message of thanks to share:
“We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Doris for all she’s done to help the Hospice in her volunteering roles over the years. We wouldn’t be able to continue supporting patients and their families without our amazing volunteers.”

Claire Lunnon is a Community Fundraiser at Garden House Hospice Care, leading on the Charlie Chick campaign:

“The amount of support from volunteers each year to support with Charlie Chicks is incredible. This week we have sent out 15,000 chicks and eggs into schools, businesses and local establishments across the community with a fundraising target of over £20,000. Our little knitted friends are so much more that an easter treat, they support the Hospice to sustain the incredible care we offer 365 days a year.”

Fundraising coordinator Claire Lunnon leads the Charlie Chicks campaign
To find out more about our Charlie Chicks and to donate, please visit
To find out more about our new Frailty Service and to donate, please visit
To find out more about volunteering, please visit

Garden House Hospice Care provides free specialist palliative care for patients, families and carers facing life-limiting illnesses from across North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and towns and villages in Central Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, serving a population of around 260,000 people.

Working with a medical team of highly experienced doctors and nurses, the Hospice has specialists in a wide range of roles including complementary physiotherapy, bereavement, occupational therapy, complementary therapy and spiritual care.

It costs Garden House Hospice Care £6.5m to provide their services, and although they receive some funding from the NHS, they need to raise £9,700 every day in charitable income and greatly rely on the support of the community – local businesses, groups and individuals to help fund their work. They also rely on the support of a fantastic team of volunteers to help them deliver services.

For further information about Garden House Hospice Care, please contact:
Aaron Thiele | Communications Manager –  / 07300 863 344 /