St John’s cared for me and now I’m giving back

Lilian Hilton and some of the Swarovski decorations she has made.
Lilian Hilton and some of the Swarovski decorations she has made.
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For Lilian Hilton and thousands of others with limited mobility, being cooped up alone inside the house for days on end can “get a bit boring”.

Lilian, 65, from Lancaster, has been asthmatic since birth.

Doctors said she would grow out of it, but it was not until 1992, when she was in her mid-40s, that she was put on a nebuliser and then later diagnosed with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Lilian said that although she may not be able to “go on one of those moonlight walks”, she was able to 
give something back to the hospice in return for the help, care and friendship she has received.

Lilian shows me a selection of boxed handicrafts she has made for the hospice, which include tree decorations, broaches and other items.

“These are Swarovski crystals that we get from a factory in Austria.” she says.

“I’ve also made shopping bags, with the oak leaf and the acorn, which is the sign of the Oak Centre building.

“The hospice has provided me with a lot of help and care, and also the friendship of other people here, and this is my way of trying to give something back and at the same time raising much needed funds.”

Lilian started coming to the Oak Centre in January as a way of getting out of the house and meeting new people.

She used to teach handicrafts in Morecambe in her younger days, so the handicraft fundraising idea came naturally.

“Having COPD and asthma means it does get progressively worse.

“You get good days and bad days, and I’ve had a few bad days of late.

“A day on the ward here has helped me pick up a bit though.”

“This is just my way of giving something back,” she says, looking at the items she has made again.

“I may not be able to go on these moonlight walks,

but this is my way of doing my bit.

“Also, I live alone, and 24 hours in those four walls gets a bit boring.

“The staff here have become my friends.

“Brian (one of the volunteer drivers) comes and picks me up, we have a good laugh, we’re a pair of short houses!

“I always thought the hospice was for people with cancer but it’s not.

“I was certain that I would be taking a place away from someone with cancer but it’s not the case, everyone is welcome here.”

Lilian will be holding a stall for her handicrafts as part of the hospice’s Christmas Market on December 7.