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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 Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

I, too, congratulate my colleague Linda Fabiani on securing the debate, which is an annual event. The Marie Curie Glasgow hospice is based in my constituency and I feel honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to visit it on a great many occasions. It is one of those places that you always leave feeling much better than you did when you entered, because there is such a feeling of calm, joy and peace and of enthusiasm for the work that is done there. I pay tribute to all the Marie Curie staff who help to make that atmosphere and ethos so obvious to everyone who enters the hospice.

We are celebrating the great daffodil appeal, which is in its 30th year. It is worth thinking about the amount of effort, enthusiasm and initiative that went into establishing that wonderful idea in the first place.

One of the great things about Marie Curie is that it has allowed so many people to leave this world in the manner of their choosing, but I want to speak a little about those who remain behind. In 1992, a young man called Alan Young was bereaved. Unfortunately his mum, Margo, died while Alan was still at school. Margo had been a patient at the Marie Curie hospice in Glasgow prior to her death. As an adult, Alan Young established a foundation in his mother’s memory, the Margo Young Foundation, which creates and organises events to raise money to go towards the work of Marie Curie hospices.

For example, last year, the foundation organised a 99-hole golf event. I find it difficult to get my head round how that worked, but I understand that the golfers set out at 3.30 am in order to play 99 holes over five and a half courses, and that they completed it by 9 pm. In the process, they raised a great deal of money for the Marie Curie hospice. In conversation with the Margo Young Foundation, Marie Curie has set up a child bereavement project, to recognise that some children who are bereaved at a very early age of their parents, a sibling or another loved one find it difficult to deal with the consequences of that. That is a very fitting memorial to Margo Young. All praise to Alan and everyone who works with him to raise the money that makes all that possible.

In the main, it is the fundraising efforts of volunteers that make all of the work of Marie Curie possible. I am fortunate to have two Marie Curie shops in my constituency—one in Springburn and one in Maryhill—both of which are extremely popular locally and which raise a great deal of money for the charity. The work of Marie Curie volunteers is second to none, and long may that continue.

We have heard about the disparity in palliative care. In last year’s debate, I perhaps majored on that issue. It is incumbent on every one of us who has an interest in Marie Curie and its work to help by raising our voices and using all the opportunities that we have to explain to the wider communities that we work and operate in that Marie Curie hospices and palliative care are not just for cancer sufferers and that they are for anyone with a life-limiting condition. If we can do one thing to make that point clear—perhaps through our websites or our opportunities to speak to groups of individuals and communities in our constituencies—we would be helping not just Marie Curie but everyone who could benefit from its services.