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Hospice volunteers thanked with special cake on national TV

Nicky Willan and Phil Jensen with the cake

[A] hospice serving the South Lakes took delivery of an extra special cake to present to volunteers marking the end of National Volunteers Week on Friday 8th June.

Standing three feet tall and bound for the small screen in the third series of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, the 50 kilo masterpiece was designed and made by award-winning Cornwall-based cake makers, Peboryon, and delivered to St John’s Hospice in Lancaster for volunteers to enjoy.

The cake, an oak tree complete with edible acorns, hedgehogs, owls and a rabbit, was created at the Peboryon studio in Penzance before making the epic 390-mile journey north to St John’s Hospice.

Phil Jensen – one half of Peboryon – was inspired to create something for the Hospice after his parents started volunteering on the ward at weekends.

Delivering it in person, he said: “My mum has spoken so highly of the Hospice so it’s great to come here and see it for myself. I’ve been absolutely blown away by it and can’t think of a better environment and more deserving place for the cake to end up.

“The whole point of the cake is to celebrate and say thank you to the volunteers so we’ve also embossed the words “thanks”, “cheers”, and “ta” into the decoration. Despite the hundreds of miles it’s travelled, thankfully the only casualty was one of the rabbit’s ears, which fell off!”

The cake took three days to make and is made up of 15,000 grams of fondant icing and 10,000 grams of chocolate grenache. They used the Hospice cake to unveil their brand new recipe of chocolate hazelnut as well as having traditional carrot cake on the base. When sliced, there were enough pieces for over 200 people.

Nicky Willan, Volunteer Co-ordinator at St John’s Hospice, said: “The big oak tree in the garden at St John’s was planted by the founding nuns and our logo is an oak leaf so it’s particularly fitting to have a cake modelled on a tree. Our volunteers outnumber the staff 3:1 so we couldn’t do the job we do without their support. They really add to the friendly atmosphere at St John’s so we hope that this goes some way to show our appreciation.”

The St John’s Hospice tree cake will be featured on the third series of Extreme Cake Makers, which will return to Channel 4 later this year.

Phil and Christine Jensen who run Peboryon (Cornish for Bakers) in Penzance are one of eight cake companies who regularly feature on the show. The husband and wife team lived in Lancaster from 1994 to 1997 where Phil worked as an architect and Christine as an occupational therapist. Nowadays they supply many of the UKs top hotels including The Dorchester. Phil’s mum and dad offer their services on the Hospice ward as volunteers.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual event to say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make and was established in 1984.

St John’s serves a population area of 250,000 people across the South Lakes and North Lancashire and has two shops in Kendal.

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