It was many years ago, soon after we set up business, that we met Pauline Mitchelmore, the Community Fundraiser for Keech Hospice Care in Streatly, near Luton. Keech do wonderful work, providing palliative care for children, and supporting parents through what is a very sad and challenging time.
Just like us, Keech were exhibiting at the Woburn Oyster Festival. Pauline visited our stand, loved our work and had an idea!
She felt that plaster casts would be a wonderful keepsake to offer the families whose children were under the care of Keech Hospice Care, and suggested that Toni, the Tootsie Toes founder, should visit the Hospice in Streatly.
As a mother of three children, the visit evoked an array of mixed feelings in Toni. Inevitable there was some sadness, but also admiration for all the staff and volunteers, working so hard for the families, who need the specialist care which Keech provides so well.
The overwhelming and lasting feeling, though, was of just how inspiring all these brave children and their families truly are – still enjoying their life and time together, even through all of their sadness and their pain.
Since then, Tootsie Toes has trained all of the community nurses to take casts, which Keech now regard as an important part of the palliative care process. We still visit at least a couple of times a year, providing free of charge training to the nurses, so that they can continue this wonderful service, which means so much to all of the families that Keech care for.