Sharing Fond Memories And Learning New Culinary Skills

Cooking for the bereaved

On 18th January, Rowans Hospice’s third cookery course for the bereaved will begin. The eight week course, based at Havant and South Downs College and supported by Kenwood through a grant from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, provides an opportunity for the bereaved to learn new skills and recipes.

This course provides an excellent example of the ethos of our local hospice, which is to support patients of life-limiting illnesses their families and carers, from diagnosis into bereavement.

The comments shared by participants and the chef, Laura Skye, from the previous course reflects how beneficial the course is, beyond simply learning how to cook smaller meals for themselves and teaching them new techniques.


Rita Wright
Lesley-Ann Morgan and Laura Skye
Elsie Hockaday

Elsie Hockaday: “It has been wonderful. When I was first asked by Lesley-Ann, I immediately said yes.  When I mentioned it to my friends, they said “You don’t need to go on a cookery course Elsie, you are a good cook! However, I wanted to, as I knew it would give me the opportunity to meet up with people who were in the same place as me. It has been very difficult since losing John. At our first meeting we were all strangers, but now after spending the last eight Fridays together with lots of fun and banter in the kitchen, we are all good friends and plan to meet up at least once a month. I know we all felt very grateful to Kenwood and the Rowans Hospice for giving us this wonderful opportunity to move on a little with our lives. I certainly learnt some very interesting tips from our lovely Chef Laura.”

Rita Wright: “It has been absolutely fantastic. We started off with soup, then we did risotto, quiche, then roulade, beef bourguignon, curry, and then apple pie. I haven’t eaten my apple pie as I put it in the freezer to share with my study group.

“As far as cooking is concerned my husband was my carer for 14 years and he wouldn’t let me do a thing. He said to me, this isn’t fair. I said what isn’t fair? And he said, I shouldn’t be going before you. He was so upset that he was leaving me to care for myself. But now coming here, it has meant more than cooking, it has meant caring for yourself. It has brought me back to life and given me a real interest again.”

Roger Wilkinson: “I have been wanting since 1955 to know how to make Manchester Tart properly. I asked Laura if she could get me the recipe and I have made them today. I am just hoping they taste as good as I can remember them. I can’t thank Rowans, Kenwood, Hampshire and Isle of White Foundation and Laura – she has been unbelievable, enough. The course has been great.”

Lecturer and chef at HSDC, Laura Skye:  “Teaching this course is fantastic. The group had a range of cooking abilities so my aim was to ensure that everyone progressed and learnt new skills.

This group gelled straight away and we all had a real laugh together. Tears have also been shed over the weeks, as certain recipes or conversation brought back particular memories to them. The wonderful thing is this group provides a safe place to share memories. Everyone is in the same place and so they can relate and comfort each other. From doing this course, real friendships have developed.” 

Lesley-Ann Morgan Deputy Manager at Rowans Living Well Centre, who is part of the team who developed and now runs the course, stated: “It is great to hear how much the group have enjoyed and benefited from taking part in the cookery course.”

She then added: “Working within Rowans, if we see a need we are encouraged to actively find a way to meet it. However I really appreciate that our ideas can only become a reality thanks to the unfailing support of our local community. So thank you to the local community, the college and Kenwood for applying to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation for the grant. All of these people help us to be there for patients, their families and carers, wherever they are on their journey.”

Your help is important. So this year pledge to do one thing for Rowans Hospice Silver Jubilee Appeal.

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