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Crookhill Primary School's Special St Oswald's Connection

Pupils at Crookhill Primary School in Ryton, Gateshead, have been working on a very unusual canvas in their classroom this term.

With Elmer’s Great North Parade around the corner, the school have been busy painting their very own little elephant sculpture, alongside fundraising over £7000 for the Hospice. The primary school has two special connections to the Hospice, giving them even more motivation to get involved.

Mrs O’Shaughnessy and Mrs Bunting are both teachers at the school and have two very different stories as to why they support St Oswald’s.  

Mrs O’Shaughnessy said:

I found out I was having twins but that there would be some complications. All of the teachers were aware but I didn’t want to tell the world, I wanted to make sure I had valuable time with my boys. Mrs Bunting then came in to be my maternity cover. 


Danyl and Dylan were born in October. I had been told Danyl only life 4-6 weeks which was heart-breaking. St Oswald’s were there from the 20 week scan when I found this out. We used their family support service for months and really got to know all the staff. My eldest son Oliver really benefitted from his time there.


We had decided to use St Oswald’s for end of life care for Danyl, but he seemed to defy all odds. We were able to celebrate Danyl’s 1st birthday together, although he sadly passed away a few days after. We sent a letter out to all of the parents of the school to tell them what had happened. It was incredible though, the school have done everything for us, we’re a family here and it really shows.


I don’t know what I would’ve done without the Hospice, it’s been my support, it’s got me through the days, helped with pre and post bereavement and Oliver still goes for play therapy.

Mrs Bunting said:

We found out my husband Andy had a brain tumour and needed surgery quickly, he was only 38 years old. The Hospice helped us after his surgery, he stayed in for a few weeks to recover. We got to talk to all the nurses so I could understand how to look after him, his medication and all the other daily stuff in between.


We had both signed up to do the Great North Run together. Andy had already done it 5 times previously and although I knew he wouldn’t make it, we still supported each other. He died in the May, just 4 months before the run. I knew I had to do it and I was cursing him the whole time, but I managed to finish it with my friends. We raised over £38,000! It was incredible. I also did the Firewalk for St Oswald’s with a few staff members earlier in the year.


Andy would come into the Hospice every week for physiotherapy. I’d look forward to every Tuesday as it was the only time I could leave him knowing he was in safe hands. The Hospice offered me complementary therapy at the same time, it was such a relief. I had an hour to myself where I’d be pampered and could get looked after. I wasn’t worrying, I was just relaxing.


I still see the physiotherapists around, they always come up to me and we hug, just like seeing friends, its lovely. St Oswald’s just prepared me. I worked with the nurses and it was all the preparation that made things a little easier.

As well as decorating a sculpture for Elmer’s Great North Parade, the staff and pupils at Crookhill have worked hard all year fundraising for St Oswald’s Hospice. Their choir sang in Asda for donations, they’ve held bake sales, sold St Oswald’s merchandise and supported the Hospice through their summer fair and fun runs. Some staff have also signed up to do a skydive for the Hospice later in the year.

You can see Crookhills Elmer on the trail across Tyne and Wear for 11 weeks from 21st August. You can find out more here.