January 2021 - East Cheshire Hospice

Hospice Trustee Roles

East Cheshire Hospice is looking for two new Trustee Board members.

One of the roles is to chair its Patient Care and Clinical Governance Committee, so a volunteer with a good understanding of healthcare and its challenges is required.

The other position is for a candidate with a more general background. Skills and experience in other sectors, or roles, would be useful.

There is no requirement to have held a trustee position before and induction support is provided.


The Trustee Board, chaired by Will Spinks, is responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Hospice, working with the chief executive and senior management team.

The minimum commitment includes quarterly board and committee meetings, email and phone discussions and attendance at occasional Hospice events. There may be a requirement to represent the Hospice at external events and meetings.

Trustee Jon Beck said: “A trustee role provides opportunities for personal and professional development, including strategic planning and organisational development.

“Becoming a trustee can be immensely rewarding and fulfilling and means you’ll be making decisions that will impact people’s lives and make a difference to your local community.”


Visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/jobs/our-current-vacancies for a pack and application form, or contact Governance Administrator Claire Duncan.

Send applications via email to cduncan@echospice.org.uk or a hard copy to Claire Duncan, Governance, Milbank Drive, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3DR.

Selection will be conducted in a Covid-19 safe way.  Access to Zoom, or other virtual meeting technology, is helpful. The closing date for applications is Mon, Feb 1.

Will Spinks, Chair of the Trustee Board at East Cheshire Hospice

Norman Meredith

Walker Norman Meredith has been on the go virtually non-stop since he started his charity challenge.

He completed his mission to cover 1,000 miles in 100 days on Christmas Eve but has hardly put his feet up since.

Norman Meredith during his challenge. 

Norman, from Mottram St Andrew, said: “I think I rested for one day once I’d finished, but I’ve become so addicted to walking I’ve been out on seven or eight mile walks every day.

“It’s been great for my general fitness, I’ve lost weight and slept like a baby. I’d definitely recommend the exercise.”

Norman is raising funds for East Cheshire Hospice in memory of his father Dennis (86) who died in November 2018.

Dennis was chairman of the Macclesfield-based Prince Albert Angling Society – one of the biggest fishing clubs in Europe – for 25 years.

In his final days he was cared for by Hospice @Home nurses.

Norman said: “The Hospice were magnificent and I’d like everyone to know just how good they were. I vowed to do some fundraising and given the current circumstances felt it was appropriate to do something now.”

“The Hospice needs all the financial help it can get at this difficult time. Care is provided free of charge so any fundraising makes a difference.”

Dennis Meredith and wife Alma.

The retired sales executive used various routes as he kept to his average distance of 10 miles a day.

“I was amazed how many new friends I made who live within half a mile of my house just by going for a walk. People I didn’t know before would stop for a chat.”

A weekly route was to Aldi where he bought two bottles of Chilean Pinot Noir. “I became known as Clinking Norman because I’d got my favourite tipple in my rucksack.

“I was always very active, running marathons and half marathons, and played sport and have enjoyed walking.”

* To sponsor Norman visit justgiving.com/fundraising/norman-meredith

Norman Meredith on his 1,000-mile walk in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Jola Designs

Friends Jayne Hadfield and Nicky Bradley took a risk opening a town centre shop after the first lockdown but the move has paid off for them.

The co-owners of Jola Designs ran the business successfully from their homes before opening the Beech Lane store in September.

Jayne and Nicky have chosen East Cheshire Hospice as their charity of the year for 2021.

A percentage of sales from a Hospice collection, including cushions, aprons and bags, have already being donated to the charity.

The two Macclesfield women met while working for Arighi Bianchi.

Their careers then went in different directions but they remained close friends and eventually turned their craft hobby into a profitable business, starting off at trade fairs selling cushions and cards to retailers.

The shop and website now boasts an extensive product range, including gifts, clothing, home, baby and accessories.

Jayne said: “We had no expectations after opening the shop, especially as it was probably the worst time in history to start a business but the support has been amazing.

“We’ve traded for a few years and having a shop window allows us to show people in Macclesfield what we do. So for many we’re a new company.

“It’s been a weird time for everyone but felt we had to be brave and there’s a lot more we can do.”

Nicky Bradley (left) and Jayne Hadfield with their Hospice collection at Jola Designs.


Jola Designs is a family affair. Nicky’s parents Paul and Carol help out, while daughter Ellie runs NaughtyBirds, a women’s clothing brand based at the shop.

Nicky said: “Jayne designs and is the creative inspiration, while I focus on sales.  We spent a lot of time between homes where we had workshops in our garages.

“It then reached the point where we had to decide whether to go full time. Some products are generic, but we also specialise in creating personalised bespoke items. ”

Their only regret is that Jayne’s husband Ged is not around to see their success. Ged died of a heart attack in 2016, aged 53.

Jayne said: “Ged urged us on and backed us all the way. He would have been so proud to see how we’ve done. Nicky was my rock and saved me when Ged died, encouraging me to carry on and make it work.”

Although they started January with the shop closed due to restrictions, they continue to trade online and look forward to reopening again soon.

Find more ways to support the Hospice by shopping online here.

Charity of the Year 2021

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping the local business community will again rally round in 2021.

The Hospice is urging companies, or any other organisations, to adopt it as their chosen charity of the year.

Another way of helping is through membership of its 500 Club which sees businesses pledge to raise a minimum of £500 every 12 months over a three-year period.


Corporate Fundraiser Kate Bowmar said: “The charity of the year initiative is a traditional way for companies to align their fundraising efforts with one charity throughout the year.

“We’re grateful to those which have already signed up for 2021 and would ask any others interested in supporting us to get in touch.

“Our 500 Club also has well over 20 members and their on-going commitment means so much to us, especially in such a difficult financial climate.

“The charity sector has suffered because of Covid-19 and the Hospice has been hurt badly by a lack of fundraising income, though thankfully our corporate supporters continue to amaze us with their backing.”


Remap Consulting, based at Alderley Park, was one of several companies which ran fundraising events as part of its charity of the year support. Others included AstraZeneca, Leap29, Spirit Medical Communications Group and Chess ICT.

Kate said: “Companies don’t often decide on their charitable support until the New Year so our message to them and any other groups is to please bear us in mind.”

* Contact the team via fundraising@echospice.org.uk.

Kate Bowmar (third right) from East Cheshire Hospice with staff from Leek United Building Society which is a member of the 500 Club.

Donations for Postponed Christmas Tree Collection

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping the public will let it keep donations made for the Christmas tree collection.

Refunds are available – or trees will be collected once lockdown eventually ends – but the Hospice hopes supporters will help ease its financial plight by not asking for donations to be returned.

However, it says it quite understands if people prefer a refund because trees cannot be collected on the weekend originally specified.

A Hospice statement said: “If you would like us to keep your kind donation towards the collection, you don’t need to do anything, and we thank you so much as this will make a real difference at this difficult time.

“If you would still like your tree to be collected on the re-arranged date, you don’t need to do anything, we will be in touch closer to the time with more information about this once a new date is safe and possible.

“If you would like a refund for your donation towards the Christmas tree collection campaign, please notify us by completing the form on our website.

“Please note, if we don’t hear from you to request a refund, your kind donation will be gratefully accepted and will make a real difference at this difficult time.

“Thank you for your continued support.”

To find out more about the postponed collection click here.

The recycling operation at an East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection.

Christmas Tree Collection Postponed

Devastated organisers have apologised after reluctantly calling off the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection.

The decision to cancel last weekend’s collection was forced upon organisers after the country went into a new national lockdown.

A refund will be offered to more than 6,000 customers who had registered their trees on the charity’s website www.echtrees.org.uk.

Donors can decline that option if they wish, helping the Hospice financially during the toughest time in its 32-year history.

Another option is for customers to have their trees collected once lockdown restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

However, it is unclear when this later collection can take place because of uncertainty over the length of the latest lockdown period.

It is the first time in the scheme’s 21-year history the collection has not taken place. Four years ago it was delayed by a week because of bad weather.

Organisers desperately disappointed by having to make the decision insist the scheme will be back in full swing in 2022.

Volunteers helping at a previous collection.

The cancellation is another serious financial blow to the Hospice as the tree campaign is one of its flagship fundraising events of the year.

Months of meticulous planning had again gone into this year’s scheme.

Officials had carefully considered safety restrictions caused by Covid-19, with volunteers and driving teams kept in family/support bubbles.

Further discussions were then held after the end-of-year announcement that Cheshire was going into Tier 4, with the decision made that it was safe to continue.

However, any hopes the collection could still go ahead ended once the third lockdown was imposed.

Organisers immediately halted tree registrations before concluding the collection could not go ahead.

A Hospice statement said: “We’re truly sorry we’ve had to make this decision but the safety of our community and all involved in making the collection happen must come first. Therefore, we must postpone for a safer time and follow the government’s guidance to stay at home.

“This is a devastating blow to the Hospice after an extremely challenging year for fundraising, having been unable to hold a major fundraising event since the last Christmas Tree Collection in January 2020!

“The collection is one of our biggest annual campaigns generating vital funds that we rely on to continue to provide our care. ”

Volunteers before last year’s Christmas tree collection.

James Bunker – Christmas Tree Collection Volunteer

*Please note that the Christmas Tree Collection has now been postponed and some information in this article may be out of date. For more information click here.*


James Bunker was not even born when East Cheshire Hospice’s first Christmas tree collection took place in 2001.

But the teenager is now a key part of operations as the scheme celebrates its coming of age this weekend (Jan 9-10).

He was just 13 when he first volunteered for the collection with his dad Richard by joining the team on vans collecting trees for recycling.

James, who is 20 in March, is still out on the vans collecting trees each January, but is also increasingly involved in the planning and co-ordination process, assisting organisers Richard Raymond and Pete Chapman.

He was on the helpline before and after last year’s tree collection, spending the actual weekend on a round with his dad.

Richard and Pete began the pioneering collection which now collects around 7,500 trees and raises in excess of £100,000 for the Hospice each year.

James said: “Richard and Pete do an absolutely incredible job organising and co-ordinating the collection each year, spending more than three months on the event with all the planning.

“I’m still quite young, but I’m keen to do as much as I can to help them and pick up tips on how it works so that in future years I can help as much as is needed.

“The Hospice are keen to ensure the long-term sustainability of the collection to make sure it carries on for years to come as it’s such a vital part of their fundraising.”

James is a manager in Wilmslow for Mitchell’s and Butlers who operate pubs, bars and restaurants all over the UK. He also freelances as an event manager for large-scale public sporting events and  works on major Hospice fundraising events.

James Bunker and Richard Raymond, co-founder of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection scheme.

Route planning company 121 Systems optimises journeys for the 40-strong fleet of vans, a service it provides voluntarily to more than 50 charities.

Managing director Chris Sisson said: “There are a number of reasons we help East Cheshire Hospice. The collection brings the community together, donations go directly towards caring for patients facing challenges at end-of-life and trees are recycled so there are also environmental benefits.”

The company is one of many providing support, including main sponsors AstraZeneca. Organisers are asking tree customers to be patient about collections of their tree due to Covid restrictions.

* For any queries email echtrees@echospice.org.uk or call the Customer Care Helpline 01625 708939.

Calvin Marketing – 25 Miles for 25 Years

Fitness enthusiast Diana Stephenson turned the 25th birthday celebrations of the marketing and public relations company she founded into a charity challenge.

Colleagues at Calvin Marketing completed a series of solo activities to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

Each went 3.6 miles and covered a combined distance of 25 miles by either running, cycling, walking, hiking or horse riding.

Diana ran to the company’s Lower Withington office, her fitness routine paying off even though she had not run for three years.

Husband Peter hiked in Macclesfield Forest with their two dogs and Charlotte Gribbin also enjoyed a dog walk.

Katya Joyce cycled and Sara Wheater ran, as did Alex Brown who went backwards partly. Meanwhile, Julia Bickerton rode her horse on a farm.

Diana said: “The fundraising was a fun way to raise money for a great local charity. I haven’t had direct experience of the Hospice but know people who’ve had its support and they sing its praises.

“We wanted to do something on our home patch to celebrate Calvin’s birthday and the Hospice is certainly a worthy recipient.

“We’re delighted to celebrate 25 years and business is flying at the moment. Marketing is very much in demand and clients are needing us more than ever during the pandemic. ”

Calvin is sharing memories across social media, reminiscing on how the industry once relied on mobile phones the size of bricks and posted out press releases with large photographs.

* To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/calvin25425

Peter Stephenson on his charity hike.


Charlotte Gribbin on her dog walk.


Runner Sara Wheater was the first to complete her Calvin challenge.