Al fresco area at The Mill is a fitting tribute to Amelia

Visitors to a new café launched by St Catherine’s Hospice last year can now enjoy a drink or a meal al fresco – thanks to a generous grant which has funded a new outdoor seating area.

Sarah Warren, a tax advisor at Mazars LLP in Birmingham, applied for the funding from the Mazars Charitable Trust after hearing about The Mill through her friend Amelia Ford, who was cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice earlier this year.

Amelia sadly died in May from lung cancer aged just 36. During her stays on the in-patient unit at St Catherine’s, she and husband Stephen, along with their daughters Imogen, aged four, and Eva, aged two, enjoyed many trips to the café, which offered a place of ‘normality’ and a change of scenery away from the hospice.

When Sarah heard about The Mill and their hopes of building a new patio area, she decided to nominate the project for a grant from the Mazars Charitable Trust. Funds are donated to the trust by partners at Mazars – a global firm which specialises in audit, accountancy, tax, legal and advisory services – with employees then invited to nominate projects and causes to receive a grant.

The Mill received £16,500 from the trust, which was used to install the patio area to the front of The Mill Café and to purchase outdoor tables and chairs. The café has also recently changed its opening hours and is now open from 9.30am until 7pm every day.

Stephen, from Euxton, Chorley, said: “When someone you love is diagnosed with an incurable condition, it’s like getting on a rollercoaster – there are so many ups and downs. The Mill offered a place which was normal, somewhere we could simply ‘be’ – all together, as a family.

“The girls could have an ice cream or a piece of cake, and then we could take a stroll around the grounds, Amelia in the wheelchair and the children having a run around. It was somewhere different to go, without it having to be a big operation. Sometimes getting in and out of a car could be too much effort, so that is what was so fantastic about The Mill.

“Amelia’s mantra was always to carry on, to create happy memories for our children. The support we got from St Catherine’s helped us to do that, and The Mill provided a lovely venue for precious time together – including special occasions like Mother’s Day, which we spent there having a meal. The new outside area is a fitting tribute to Amelia and her positive attitude, and I know she’d be very happy that other families can now use it to create their own memories in the future.”

Sarah said she was delighted to have helped make a lasting contribution to The Mill.

“I remember chatting with Amelia and asking her ‘what can I do?’,” Sarah said. “She told me about how much St Catherine’s had helped her and what a support they had been and the idea went from there.

“I know she loved going to The Mill for family time together and I’m sure lots of other families feel the same. The Mazars Charitable Trust is thrilled to have added a great new feature to this fantastic place, particularly as the venture is raising vital funds to support the work of the hospice – making it more sustainable for the future.”

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