Hospice appeal: 'St Columba's is now in its hour of need'

FOR more than 30 years, St Columba's Hospice has been there for thousands of Edinburgh families in their hour of need.

Scotland's first modern hospice was way ahead of its time when it opened its doors in Granton in 1977.

Since then, it has achieved something remarkable.

It has created space – both in the hospice and through home visits – where people in the advanced stages of progressive illness can continue to live life as fully as they are able.

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Our story today about Paul and Allison Derighetti's wedding says more about this haven on the banks of the Forth than any mission statement ever could.

With Paul's father Vincent dying of cancer and unlikely to live to see their big day, the couple decided to take their wedding to him.

With the help of St Columba's staff, they tied the knot in the hospice, on a day of great happiness and emotion.

That determination to embrace life in all its colour sums up the ethos of St Columba's.

To people outside, a hospice is somewhere people go to die – but the best ones, like St Columba's, are places seriously ill people go to live.

As a secular organisation, the hospice offers this same life-affirming support to people of all faiths and no faith.

Today, although the care remains first-class, the same cannot sadly be said of the ageing hospice building.

Once state-of-the-art, it now needs almost complete rebuilding to ensure patients, their friends and families are supported in the best possible surroundings.

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The proposed new hospice will allow more people to receive in-patient care in an improved residential unit, with more private rooms. There will be better facilities for day visitors and a modern base for its extensive and pioneering community and education work.

All this, of course, does not come cheaply. The whole project will cost 26 million and the hospice, which relies on donations and grants, cannot raise all of this on its own.

It needs to find another 7m to make this vision of the future a reality. St Columba's is now in its hour of need.

• Click ere to find out how you can help.

These are tough times economically for many of us, but please dig deep and give whatever you can to ensure St Columba's can continue to give the best possible support to thousands of Edinburgh families in their hour of greatest need.