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Fireworks and fizz: Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Birmingham St Mary’s

21 December 2017

For many people, New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect, think ahead and make resolutions – and for people staying at our Hospice, things are no different.

Hayley Kerrigan, who is part of our nursing team here at the Hospice, tells us what it’s like to bring in the New Year at Birmingham St Mary’s. From watching fireworks to toasting with fizz, she explains why celebrating the New Year is one of her favourite nights to be at the Hospice…

I’ve worked at Birmingham St Mary’s for eight years now and have celebrated a fair few New Year’s Eves whilst I’ve been here. So many people think that working New Year’s Eve must be disappointing but that couldn’t be further from the truth – I love it and it’s one of my favourite nights of the year to be at the Hospice.

For me, the night is all about celebrating so that’s exactly what we do! For those individuals who want to acknowledge the occasion, we will often go into the conservatory to watch the fireworks happening across our city. It’s a spectacular sight and it’s great to get everyone together – whether they’re people staying at the Hospice, family members and friends, or even staff.   

As well as watching fireworks, we’ll also hand out glasses of fizz so people can have a toast when the clocks strike twelve. Midnight is such a poignant moment for so many people and we usually catch people calling or messaging loved ones on their phones.

I’ve got lots of happy memories from working New Year’s Eve but one of my favourites has got to be watching the fireworks with Ann. Ann – who was one of our individuals staying at the Hospice – asked to go into the garden to watch the display. She absolutely loved New Year’s Eve so we were determined to make her wish a reality.

So, along with a few other nurses, we wrapped her up in coats and blankets and headed into the garden to watch the glittering display. I’ll never forget her face – her eyes lit up like sparklers and she just seemed so happy.

Ann sadly passed away a few days after that New Year’s Eve but I feel so comforted to know that we made her evening special. It was just wonderful to be a part of that moment with her – all of us standing in the garden, ‘ooh-ing’ over the fireworks and generally just having fun.  

Of course, New Year’s Eve can also be an emotional time at the Hospice. For so many people, the evening is a time to think ahead and make plans for the upcoming year. I’m always overwhelmed by amount of people who live for the moment though. It’s that strength that keeps you going and it’s great to know that we care for people who are so focussed on living.

So to me, that’s what makes New Year’s Eve such a fantastic night to be at the Hospice. It’s a reminder to ‘live for now’ and I’m already looking forward to celebrating 2018 with our individuals and their loved ones, our staff and volunteers.

Happy New Year!

Thank you Hayley for sharing your story with us. We wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you have a wonderful 2018. To find out more about what happens at our Hospice over the festive season, take a look here.