September 2020 - East Cheshire Hospice

Harry’s Virtual London Marathon

Veteran runner Harry Newton will be there in spirit when he tackles the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday (Oct 4).

Like thousands of fellow runners, the 82-year-old cannot be in the capital and will start and finish instead at East Cheshire Hospice for which he is fundraising.

Harry, from Macclesfield, has completed the London marathon an amazing 16 times, the quickest aged 70 when he ran the course in under four hours.

He averages 100 miles a month in training and will settle for a time of around five and a half hours this time.

Organisers of the marathon, postponed from April, are only allowing elite runners to run the course because of Covid-19.

However, Harry, like other virtual entrants, will get an official time – and a medal  – by recording his time on an app.

He will undertake four circuits of a route to Henbury.

Harry said: “I ran a marathon round my garden on the day the race should have taken place in April.

“It’s a shame I can’t be there but I’ve got an entry for future London marathons and will keep going as long as I can.

“The Hospice does amazing work and any donations will keep me going when it gets tough in the last few miles.”

Harry, a retired grocer and sub-postmaster, had to miss the race in 2009 when he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

* To sponsor him visit

Harry Newton who is running the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday October 4th 2020.

From Pilates to Memory Miles

Friends who met through a pilates class several years ago put themselves through their paces again to help East Cheshire Hospice.

Carol Rayner, Dale Thomas, Sue Priestley, Maxine Seddon and Carol Palin wanted to lift the gloom around Covid-19.

That was partly why they were inspired to walk or cycle almost 1,100 miles, raising £750 for the charity.

The group took part in a Memory Miles event in which Hospice supporters undertook different challenges, some in memory of loved ones.

The charity’s initial aim of travelling 874 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End was beaten early in the two-month campaign.

So the destination was changed to the Sahara Desert – an extra 2,470 miles – which is where the Hospice is actually organising a trek late next year.

Memory Miles, sponsored by Sidney Jackson and Son, has raised £5,420 with the pilates group covering the furthest distance from the combined efforts of fundraisers.

Carol Rayner said: “When we saw the Memory Miles event we all embraced the opportunity to help a local and vital charity and, in doing so, have gained a feeling of doing something positive at a time when it’d have been easy to dwell on all the negativity around Covid-19.

“We’ve all found that having something to aim for has lifted us individually too. I’ve personal experience of assisting in the care of a loved one until end-of-life at home.

“This happened during lockdown, otherwise a place at the Hospice would have been applied for. This experience made me realise what a vital service it provides.

“We pledged initially to raise £200 and walk 50 miles each.  I also pledged to cycle 250 miles and we  quickly exceeded in both our pledges.

“We’ve covered most of the distance individually because it was difficult to walk together regularly because of commitments.

“Each team member reports their daily distance to me on our group chat and I’ve kept a spreadsheet. We’ve encouraged and praised each other along the way and have all enjoyed the challenge.”

*Donate to the Memory Miles campaign at

From left, Carol Rayner, Dale Thomas, Sue Priestley, Maxine Seddon and Carol Palin.

Carl Lamptey’s Fundraising Update

A rare piece of music memorabilia should prove a smash hit for Carl Lamptey’s fundraising campaign.

A platinum disc donated by Noel Gallagher will be sold at auction in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

The former Oasis star was given the disc for the band’s studio debut album Definitely Maybe, released in 1994.

The collectors’ item has even more value since it is owned by Noel who wrote the songs for the iconic album and inspired the group’s success.

The Manchester City fan donated the coveted disc after he heard about the Hospice’s struggle for funds from the club’s ex-goalkeeper Joe Corrigan.

Joe is one of many sports stars and celebrities to rally round after the Hospice’s fundraising events were cancelled due to Covid-19.

They answered a plea from Carl, from Macclesfield, to support the Hospice which revealed it would lose £1m in fundraising revenue.

Personalities lending their name include ex-soccer players Ryan Giggs, Steve Bruce and Michael Brown,  singer Mark Morrison, actress Samia Longchambon and chocolatier Oliver Dunn.

Carl has been supporting the Hospice since his late wife Sarah was treated there for breast cancer in 2014.

His appeal inspired many to raise funds, including runners Finley Foote and Tom Hamlett; George Bailey who climbed 108,000 steps; Will Newton who had his head shaved and cyclist Erin More O’Ferrall.

Erin More O’Ferrall who raised around £2,500 after cycling 1018 kilometres.

Erin’s dad David and Bob Kaz raised £3,000 by playing 100 holes of golf in one day at Tytherington where they are members.

Carl said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and want to thank everyone, whether they’ve sold cakes, knitted or done anything else to raise funds for our amazing Hospice.

“We’ve done it all together as a community during lockdown. The fundraising continues but I realise that with the kids going back to school and people returning to work it’ll be harder.

“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of interest in Noel’s platinum disc when it’s auctioned off in due course and want to thank Joe for sorting that out.”

Sylk Dance Academy, which has now reopened, launched a Flosspice.

Teacher Amy Mayers and students got into the groove, setting a trend which captured the imagination on social media.

*  To donate £5 to Carl’s Act of Kindness campaign text Kindness 5 to 70450. Change the 5 to any whole amount between £1 and £20. If you’d like to donate and refuse marketing communications, text Kindnessnoinfo and your donation amount to 70450.

Sylk Dance Academy teacher Amy Mayers gets into the Flosspice mood with students (from left) Daisie Newsome, Holly Eardley, Lewis Stainforth and Molly Goodwin.

Football Match In Memory of Col Smith

A charity football match in memory of Macclesfield Parish manager Col Smith was a poignant occasion.

Two teams he managed and played for – Parish and St Peter’s which are part of the same club – met at St George’s Park, Windmill Street.

The club raised £750 for East Cheshire Hospice where Col died of cancer in March, aged 52.

Col, of Higher Hurdsfield, stayed involved at the South Manchester and Cheshire Christian Football League club despite battling illness for 10 years.

Many of his football friends were unaware of his condition. Col, who leaves wife Debs and son Josh, was a team leader at McDonald’s and a member of Bollington Life Church.

Appropriately, the inaugural match for the Col Smith Memorial Trophy ended in a 3-3 draw. Tom Shirley scored a hat-trick for St Peter’s with Drewe Rowley-Weaver, Josh Harrison and Danny Madden replying for Parish.

Parish manager David Mayers said: “Col was a real Christian gentleman and a passionate football man. He inspired so many through his friendship, love for the game and deep Christian faith. We will all miss him and today’s game was a fitting tribute.”

Col Smith

The Macclesfield Parish team with volunteers Lindsay Taylor (left) and Gaynor Webb from East Cheshire Hospice.  

League President Pete Riley (left) with Parish captain Liam Rowley-Weaver and St Peter’s captain Jonathan Slater.

Col’s son Josh with Liam Rowley-Weaver (centre) and Joe Wilcox.    


Honorary Vice President Edna Keefe

Edna Keefe has been made an Honorary Vice President of East Cheshire Hospice in recognition of her long service.

She makes history as the only staff member to receive the honour and received a special framed certificate in acknowledgement.

Will Spinks, Chair of the Trustee Board at the Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to appoint Edna as an Honorary Vice President in appreciation of all the work she’s done for the Hospice over many years.

“There aren’t many people who can say they’ve been here since the beginning and Edna has been so kind to patients and colleagues.

“Comments from colleagues clearly show she has great warmth and has been a fantastic person to work with. On behalf of everyone at the Hospice, I want to thank Edna for her long, loyal service.”

Edna decided it was time to retire when she had to isolate at the start of lockdown in March.

Until Covid-19 she worked twice a week in the laundry room.

Edna said: “Someone suggested ‘why don’t you retire?’ and I believe that everything is for a reason. I have wonderful memories of the Hospice and feel very honoured to have been made an Honorary Vice President.”

Three years ago she received a High Sheriff Award and attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace as a thank-you for her contribution to the Hospice.

Edna with Will Spinks, East Cheshire Hospice Chair of the Trustee Board, and Chief Executive Karyn Johnston

Edna’s Retirement

It was the end of an era when Edna Keefe retired from East Cheshire Hospice after 32 years of loyal service.

Edna’s first job was to clean the Hospice before it even welcomed its first patient, eventually moving on to work in the laundry room.

To mark her retirement, 83-year-old Edna and her family were invited to a special farewell gathering at the Hospice while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The event was hosted by Will Spinks, Chair of the Trustee Board at the Hospice, and Chief Executive Karyn Johnston, with many of Edna’s colleagues joining the celebrations via Zoom from home where they are working.

Bouquets of sunflowers – the Hospice emblem – were presented to Edna, along with a souvenir book packed with personal tributes from colleagues.

Edna Keefe with former colleague Christine Jenkins from the Hospice housekeeping team.

Edna spent 17 years as a domestic at Macclesfield District General Hospital before taking up a similar role at the Hospice two weeks before it opened in 1988.

The hospital matron became the sister at the Hospice and Edna joined her so she could prepare the building for the arrival of patients.

Edna said: “I’ve seen lots of changes at the Hospice over the last 32 years and can still remember the first patient who made flower embroideries for display in the chapel.

“The staff have been so lovely and so caring and were always there to help if I needed anything. I want to thank them all for their friendship and for this special send-off.

“It’s not the job that you do, but the people you work with who make it and they’ve been fantastic.

“I’ll miss them all, though I won’t miss going to work on dark mornings in the winter.

“I’d also like to thank the Hospice for my retirement gift of a pearl necklace and earrings.”

Edna, who has seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren, now has more time to spend with her family and she also enjoys walking.

Edna with (from left) grandsons Will and Harvey Johnson; daughter Jan Johnson; son Gary Keefe; son-in-law David Johnson; daughter Carol Tew and son-in-law Stephen Tew. 

Geoff Gittins tackles the Gritstone Trail for the Hospice

Keen walker Geoff Gittins is dedicating his most ambitious challenge to the memory of friends and relatives.

Geoff, from Macclesfield, will tackle the 35-mile Gritstone Trail as a tribute to father Harold, uncle Leslie Singleton and fellow walker Sandra Baran.

Sandra, who worked with Geoff at AstraZeneca, died earlier this year and like his two relatives was cared for by East Cheshire Hospice.

Geoff will be joined by David Baker, a fellow director at The Switched On Solutions Group (SOSG), for the three-day walk from Disley to Kidsgrove across the Cheshire plain.

Their company is part of the charity’s 500 Club in which members raise at least £500 a year over a three-year period.

Geoff said: “I enjoy walking but haven’t attempted anything like this before and it will be challenging. We’re aiming to raise £1,000 for a charity which is close to my heart.”

Geoff, who is also a Hospice lottery volunteer, is an authorised partner for multi-service providers UW (Utility Warehouse). For each new customer he makes a donation to the Hospice.

Geoff said: “We offer free online reviews so businesses and home owners can lower costs by getting the best deals and benefit themselves and the Hospice at the same time.”

* To sponsor Geoff visit


From left to right:

David Baker who is joining co-director Geoff Gittins for the 35-mile walk.

David Baker (left) and Geoff Gittins with wives Katherine Baker and Janet Gittins.  

Geoff Gittins who is tackling the Gritstone Trail Challenge.

Will Week 2020

A Macclesfield law specialist says the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 has led to an increase in demand for legal advice.

Estate planning consultant Tina Timmins says concerns among the public over planning for the future has created a surge in inquiries.

Tina is encouraging people to sign up for Will Week, run by East Cheshire Hospice from October 5-9, when solicitors waive fees in return for a donation to the charity.

Tina recently joined GPW Trusts – soon to open an office on Church Street – after 16 years with Blunts Solicitors which ceased trading in June when the long-established company went into administration.

GPW Trusts specialises in Will writing, trusts, long term care planning, inheritance tax planning, powers of attorney and probate.

Tina said: “My message is to make sure you have a Will and in this changing world there are ways of protecting your assets.

“It’s important people consider their estate planning and how they can plan to prevent their wealth being eroded by future threats.”

“We’ve had a lot of calls since the start of the pandemic and I’d encourage people to sign up for Will Week as soon as possible as appointments get booked very quickly.

“People want to support the Hospice and they come along because the charity is dear to their heart. This year more than any other has highlighted the need to have a Will.”

A full list of participating solicitors is available on the Hospice website

Participating solicitors can write a single or mirror Will, or update an existing Will, in return for a donation to the Hospice. Any other services are chargeable at the solicitor’s usual cost.

GPW Trusts is expanding into Macclesfield, using Tina’s experience and in-depth knowledge of estate planning, which include Power of Attorney, Court of Protection and Probate.

Tina said: “I’m delighted to be at the start of an exciting new project and this is a new office for GPW Trusts which is well established in West Cheshire and North Wales.

“Will Week is usually three weeks for me by the time Wills are drafted and signed and I enjoy helping the Hospice.”

Pre lockdown, she was a frequent visitor to the charity’s Sunflower Centre giving informal legal advice to patients and families.

Tina is based at home and online until the new Macclesfield office is ready. Visit

Dan Proctor’s Mega Marathon

Dan Proctor has never even tackled a marathon before but is now preparing to run almost twice as far.

He plans to run 50 miles from Liverpool, where he has lived for the last year, to Macclesfield where he grew up.

The shortest route between Sefton Park and the Flower Pot pub is 39 miles but a detour via Warrington and St Helens makes his challenge even tougher.

Dan is raising funds for East Cheshire Hospice and was inspired by Carl Lamptey’s attempt to raise £1m for the Hospice.

Dan, a former Royal Engineer, works as a support worker at the David Lewis Centre in Bollington.

Friends will join him at various intervals to offer support, some undertaking the last five miles before joining him in a celebratory pint afterwards.

Girlfriend Anna Jenkins will be his support driver with a first aid kit, including plasters for the inevitable blisters, refreshments and lots of encouragement .

Dan will set off at 6.30 am on Saturday, October 17, and hopes to cross the finish line between nine and 11 hours later.

He said: “I’ve always kept myself in good shape and wanted to challenge myself. My longest training run is 15 miles but I’ll increase the distance to 35 miles beforehand.

“I’ll take my time. It’ll be a slow and steady run and will walk if necessary. One thing is for certain – I’ll be ready for a drink once it’s over.”

* To sponsor Dan visit

Dan Proctor is aiming to run 50 miles in a single day.

New Adult Bereavement Service

*Edit October 2021: Please note that the Covid Bereavement Service project has now ended and we are not taking new referrals for this particular programme.*


East Cheshire Hospice is offering counselling to adults who have lost loved ones during Covid-19, even if they have no previous link to the Hospice.

Anyone bereaved whose emotional and mental well-being has been affected by the pandemic qualifies.

Their GP can refer them for professional psychological support from Hospice therapists.

NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group is resourcing the county-wide project with St Luke’s, Winsford, and Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Chester, also involved.

For East Cheshire it means extending services beyond families and carers of its own patients.

Adults affected by bereavement can access up to 12 sessions via Zoom or telephone.

The Hospice’s Adult Bereavement Services Manager Helen Wilkinson said: “We’re making people aware the service is there and those who’ve lost someone during Covid-19 are eligible.

“It could be someone anticipating death, a Covid-19 loss or the bereaved during this awful time.

“For instance, it might be a parent or spouse who died of another cause other than Covid-19, which you have been impacted from severely by restrictions in place during lockdown.

“Grief is a normal response and most people manage without professional intervention. However, for those who are really struggling to cope and for whom friends and family aren’t enough, then our psychological support services are available.”

Helen suspects there will be plenty seeking therapy.

She said: “There was already increased demand for our services due to Covid. In our area we’ve  recognised that more bereavement support is needed and require extra capacity.

“People are more isolated and their grief compounded by restrictions, meaning they can’t hug, meet a friend, or catch up like they did.

“Some people try to squash down their emotions, or keep busy, before realising there’s a problem and they can’t cope. We’re seeing that now and the delayed reaction means we’re likely to see it in the future as well.

“We encourage people to talk about it, be open and seek help. Everyone has different experiences and Covid and lockdown has heightened emotions. Some don’t want to bother ringing the doctor because there’s a pandemic while others feel isolated.

“Those grieving shouldn’t wear a mask metaphorically and friends, relatives and society can help by  listening and offer empathy.  Bereavement is hard anyway.  Now more than ever, people are recognising the need for support.”

Helen Wilkinson, Adult Bereavement Services Manager at East Cheshire Hospice.