Generous gift of picnic benches for the Hospice - East Cheshire Hospice

Generous gift of picnic benches for the Hospice

Patients and their families can relax on picnic benches in the grounds of East Cheshire Hospice thanks to a generous gift from four long-standing supporters.

Three large picnic tables, plus two benches, are dotted around the gardens providing the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the Hospice.

The benches were bought by Thelma Jackson MBE, Anna Rains, Margaret Pettener and Hazel Offer who raised more than £1,600 from a spring lunch.

Fundraisers (from left) Anna Rains, Margaret Pettener and Thelma Jackson with Hospice staff April Green and Jean Chaddock.

The benches cost £3,800, with the balance met by a kind gesture from Ford dealers Sidney Jackson & Son Ltd. Thelma’s father-in-law Sidney set up the successful car business over a century ago.

Anna hosted the lunch for 50 guests at her cottage with the four organisers cooking dishes and serving food.

Thelma said: “We had a wonderful afternoon and would like to thank everyone who came and generously supported the lunch and bought raffle tickets.

“The Hospice said they’d like to buy the benches, so it came into my mind to put the money raised from our lunch towards buying them. The girls also thought it was a fantastic idea, especially as we were buying something specific.”

Sidney Jackson & Son then stepped into make up the difference, their latest gesture as part of the firm’s long-standing support for the Hospice.

Thelma Jackson (left) and Anna Rains try the benches for size, watched by Liam Riley, General Manager at Sidney Jackson, and Margaret Pettener.

The company sponsored the charity’s Memory Walk earlier this year and provide both cars used by  the Hospice @Home service.

Thelma – the last Mayor of the Borough of Macclesfield in 2008 -has been fundraising for the charity since before it opened in 1988.

She said: “I’m proud to have supported the Hospice since day one and was there when the first sod was dug.

“It was nice to be there at the beginning and although I haven’t been able to visit as much recently, I still support the Hospice.

“It’s been difficult for them in the last couple of years because of the pandemic when everyone’s had a tough time.”

Anna has also been a fundraiser since the start and chaired the Hospice’s 10th anniversary appeal to  build the Sunflower Centre.

A total of £300,000 was raised and it was Anna’s idea to hold an art exhibition. She set up Art Fair Cheshire in 1998, a biennial event still thriving today.

The benches allow visitors to have a quiet time and remember friends and relatives.

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