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Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th March 2016.

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Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

I thank Linda Fabiani for securing the debate. I appreciate the chance to speak about Marie Curie’s great daffodil appeal, which is in its 30th year, and about how the appeal facilitates much of the good work that the organisation carries out. I welcome the Marie Curie representatives and volunteers who are in the gallery.

Marie Curie is a charity like no other. It has been carrying out work for more than 65 years, and during that time it has managed to remain cognisant of how it is perceived and of what people in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom need from the services that it provides. With that in mind, in 2015 it rebranded itself from Marie Curie Cancer Care to Marie Curie: care and support through terminal illness. The charity supports more than 7,400 terminally ill people in Scotland each year, providing services in 31 local authorities and in two hospices, in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

It is of great importance that we take time today to honour the achievements and continued hard work of Marie Curie staff and the many volunteers who give their time.

Marie Curie is there for people who are living with terminal illness, whether cancer or another illness; it also supports those people’s families. It offers expert care, guidance and support, to help people to get the most from the time that they have left.

The implementation of new information and support services, such as the Marie Curie support line, the information hub on the website and the Marie Curie community online forum, is helping the charity to achieve its goal of raising awareness and maximising the number of people who can access and benefit from the different types of support that are available.

Various initiatives take place annually to raise funds. One of the biggest successes for Marie Curie in raising funds for services is the annual great daffodil appeal. Last year the appeal raised half a million pounds in Scotland alone and more than £8 million nationwide.

Over the past few years, I have been able to join volunteers in my Kirkcaldy constituency in the great daffodil fundraising appeal and I never fail to be impressed by the effort that is put into organising collections. The dedication and commitment of everyone involved in the appeal at different venues in the area is inspiring. I am equally amazed by the generosity of the public towards Marie Curie. The money that was raised in Scotland in 2015 funded more than 30,000 hours of nursing care.

In the past two years, new local Marie Curie fundraising groups have formed in Fife, which do much to raise funds, not only through the great daffodil appeal but through many other events. In my constituency, Kirkcaldy, the fundraising group, which has raised more than £6,000 since its formation, recently held a joint event with the local Marie Curie shop, which I attended. I understand that it was the first such event to be held. It was a great success and £1,000 was raised, which will provide 50 hours of Marie Curie nursing.

I am also looking forward to the great tea party and the mass keep fit sessions that Marie Curie is organising in conjunction with the upcoming beach Highland games in Kirkcaldy to raise funds. I might even be persuaded to take part.

Marie Curie works constantly to enhance its services so that it can deliver the right care. It encourages involvement from patients and feedback from families about issues to do with terminal illness, prognosis, dying, bereavement and symptom control.

Marie Curie will continue the good work that it does to support people who are suffering from a terminal illness, but that is no easy task. Services such as those that I have mentioned, which rely on the dedication and hard work of the many staff and volunteers who work for Marie Curie, are invaluable.

I have talked about Marie Curie’s accomplishments in Scotland, including in my area. I also want to raise awareness of the work that will be necessary if we are to meet the challenges ahead. The future will bring greater demands. People are expected to live longer and to have more complex illnesses. By 2033, some 1.2 million people will be more than 90 years old.

It is important not only to relieve the pain of those who are terminally ill but to ensure that they are provided with quality end-of-life care. We must, in the words of Marie Curie,

“deliver the right care in the right place at the right time.”

I encourage all fellow Scots to wear a daffodil and show support for Marie Curie’s invaluable services.