Emmerdale star inspired by visit to Pendleside Hospice and Barrowford school

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Samantha Giles, right, meets inpatient Gill Mercer
Samantha Giles, right, meets inpatient Gill Mercer

Emmerdale actress Samantha Giles was told by an inpatient at Pendleside Hospice how she never misses an episode of the soap thanks to her "super fan" partner.

Social worker Gill Mercer, 41, who has suffered breast cancer, said one of the first treats her partner Ian had given her after meeting seven years ago was a studio tour of the Emmerdale set.

She told Samantha: “We rarely miss an episode and sit and watch the soap together.”

Samantha, a self-proclaimed white witch who plays Bernice Blackstock in the ITV soap, is supporting Pendleside’s WitchFest 2022 which hopes to raise £100,000 and culminates with a world-record attempt for the largest gathering of people dressed as witches.

She was given a tour of the hospice by chief executive Helen McVey and community engagement officer Leah Hooper.

Lancashire Telegraph:
Lancashire Telegraph:

Hospice at Home nurses chat with Samantha Giles

During the tour she chatted to staff and patients both on the inpatients wing and in the health, wellbeing and rehabilitation department.

She also learned about the hospice at home and meals on wheels services as well as the bereavement counselling that is on offer.

Samantha said: “Pendleside offers so much beyond what you would expect.

"It’s not just about end-of-life care but also about respite and offering people with life-shortening illnesses the support they need.

“What I noticed immediately was that there are smiles everywhere. There is such energy around the place and it has a lovely atmosphere.”

Lancashire Telegraph:
Lancashire Telegraph:

Samantha Giles reads an excerpt from her book to Year 5 pupils at Barrowford County Primary School

Samantha, who is also a children’s author and whose first book was ‘Rosemary And The Pendle Witches’, later visited Barrowford County Primary School, where she was greeted by senior assistant head teacher Laura Rostron.

She read an excerpt from her book to around 70 Year 5 pupils and answered questions about the story, her life as an actress, and her role in Emmerdale.

She also told them about WitchFest 2020 which will be held at Barrowford Park on Saturday, September 17.

Lancashire Telegraph:
Lancashire Telegraph:

Actress Samantha Giles with some of the Year 5 pupils at Barrowford

Asked about being a witch Samantha said: “I don’t do magic stuff or anything like that. I just believe in being positive in everything I do and passing those thoughts onto others.”

Helen McVey said: “We really appreciate the time and effort that Samantha is giving to supporting the WitchFest. I think she learned a lot during her visit and was surprised about the services we offer at Pendleside.

“Both staff and patients were excited about meeting her and the visit gave everyone at the hospice and at Barrowford County Primary School a lovely lift.”

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