April 2021 - East Cheshire Hospice

Local Businesses Provide Support For Delayed Christmas Tree Collection

Loyal businesses continue to play a key part helping the East Cheshire Hospice tree collection scheme run smoothly.

Cheshire Vehicle Rental has been providing vans for the last 18 years, while Bosley-based King Feeders has been lending shredders for 16 years.

The mulching machines, operated by Ansa Environmental Services staff at West Park, have recycled trees into compost for parks, gardens and Cheshire farmland.

Andrew Billing has owned King Feeders, suppliers of agricultural machinery, for more than 45 years.

He said: “The Hospice does great work caring for people with life-limiting illnesses and we’re delighted we can help the tree collection campaign raise much-needed funds.”

Managing director John Kirkby, who started Cheshire Vehicle Rental more than 50 years ago, said: “Our company is full of admiration for the volunteers who put so much effort in on behalf of the charity and we’re extremely proud to be involved in such a great local cause.

“The Hospice is self-funding and depends on contributions from our community to continue with this vital role of care and support for those in need. Let’s all pull together to ensure the Hospice meets its required objectives.”

Richard Raymond, co-founder of the collection scheme now in its 21st year, said: “We get lots of assistance  in many different ways and the long-standing support of these two companies shows the affection held for the Hospice. We thank them for their commitment.”

Catherine Mooney from Cheshire Vehicle Rental which has been supporting the Christmas tree collection since 2003.

Better Late Than Never For Christmas Tree Collection

East Cheshire Hospice finally held its long-awaited Christmas tree collection last week, three months later than planned.

A reduced team of 25 volunteers collected around 1,100 trees after lockdown restrictions were eased.

Five vans shuttled across the region delivering trees to the Ansa recycling plant at West Park, Macclesfield.

More than 6,000 trees had been registered for collection, with most donors disposing trees themselves when the scheme was delayed because of Covid-19.

However, organisers promised to collect trees once rules changed and, true to their word, honoured that pledge.


From left, Tina and Richard Raymond with co-founder of the collection Pete Chapman and Hospice Community Fundraiser Carley Macey.    


Scheme co-founder Richard Raymond said: “We want to thank the people who kept their trees for their patience. We had great fun collecting them, even though our team was smaller in number.

“The postponement in January was a devastating decision we had to take and was a blow to all our plans.  But there we were, doing it again and this time with more daylight hours which meant we could collect for longer.

“It’s important to thank our amazing volunteers for their commitment to doing the job in this Covid crisis.

“They were really excited to be out there and felt cheated they couldn’t go out and pick up trees in January.

“There was no shortage of volunteers and some wondered why we were doing it during the week, preferring the collection to be at the weekend when they weren’t working.

“We realise it wasn’t the big happy band it normally is, but we’ll be back in business with a full scale operation as usual next year.”


Volunteers Sally and Pete Broughton collecting Christmas trees.


The collection, sponsored by AstraZeneca and adhering to Covid guidelines, saw two volunteers on each van with routes mapped out.

Organisers will announce soon the total raised this year, a sum increased by donations from those even without a tree for collection who contributed once they knew how much the Christmas tree scheme means financially to the Hospice.

Richard said: “The goodwill has been amazing and we also want to thank from the bottom of our hearts  those who made a donation and disposed of trees themselves.

“It’s made an enormous difference to the Hospice to have the Christmas tree collection money coming in, especially at the turn of the year when, in normal circumstances, there aren’t many fundraising events. That was the case even more last winter because of Covid.”

Neptune Shop Donates Flower Display

Patients at East Cheshire Hospice are the latest to enjoy a beautiful floral display which helped bring a splash of colour to Knutsford town centre.

The arrangement now has pride of place in the lush Hospice gardens which provide a relaxing haven for patients and visitors.

The flowers were donated by new furniture, kitchen and home interiors store Neptune Knutsford which created a week-long display on Princess Street, by St John’s Parish Church, to spread a touch of happiness amid the Covid gloom.

Each of the company’s 27 stores nationwide took part in a campaign called #lovelytoseeyouagain  with the flowers, placed in barrels, then donated to a local good cause.

Neptune, which recently opened its newest store on Chelford Road, Ollerton, chose the Hospice in Macclesfield as the flowers’ final destination.

Neptune Knutsford Store Leader Joanna Makant said: “Neptune placed the displays close to each of our stores with the aim of bringing a little cheer and joy after what everyone’s gone through.

“The flowers were something for passers-by to enjoy and we’re delighted they’re now being appreciated by patients at East Cheshire Hospice.

“It’s a lovely charity and covers the area of many of our customers.  The garden there is so pretty  and is overlooked by rooms on the ward, allowing patients and visitors to sit outside and enjoy the scenery. The flowers are artificial so will have a much longer life.”

Neptune Knutsford opened in November 2020 and sells beautiful furniture for the kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom and bathroom as well as home accessories.

The Hospice is the second-lowest funded in the country, receiving only 17 per cent of income from government. The charity, which costs £7,500 a day to run, provides care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers, free of charge.

Neptune Knutsford Store Leader Joanna Makant (left) and East Cheshire Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston with the floral display at the Hospice.

Hospice Staff Prepare for Wing Walk

It did not take long to find enough brave volunteers for a wacky wing walk in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Places were soon filled by supporters looking to escape lockdown blues by enjoying the thrill of a lifetime on top of a classic 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane.

High flyers include seven female Hospice staff, all terrified by the prospect of soaring through the skies above Gloucestershire in June.

Health care assistants Joanne Helm, Jill Harding, Caroline Allen and Pam Webster will be joined by complementary therapist Gill Black, staff nurse Laura Parker and fundraiser Bethan Wade.


Top (from left): Laura Parker, Jill Harding and Joanna Helm. Bottom: Bethan Wade, Gill Black and Pam Webster. Middle:  Caroline Allen


Mum-of-three Joanne said: “I’m not very good with heights and can’t get past the third rung of a ladder when I’m decorating. But I love my job and the hospice desperately needs fund, so I’ve plucked up the courage to overcome my nerves.”

Caroline said: “I must be crackers, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to raise much-needed funds for the hospice after a really difficult year.

“I’ve worked at the Hospice for nearly four years now and every day I witness the wonderful work everyone does there.

“This last year has been especially tough with the lack of fundraising events happening,  so I thought it was time I stepped up and did my bit to help out. Plus, on a personal level, I needed something to make up for the lack of excitement in my life over lockdown!”

The Hospice has had a special place in Jill Harding’s heart since her late mum  Mary Barber was a patient there 18 years ago.

Jill held her wedding reception in the Sunflower Centre so Mary could attend before she passed away, aged 58.

Jill later became a volunteer and then joined the staff. She said: “Mum was only a patient for eight days but as a family we were blown away by the love and care she received.

“I adore my job and thank my mum every day for guiding me in this direction. I’m always looking for ways to repay the Hospice and what better way than to accept a challenge.”

Both Bethan and Laura must conquer a fear of heights for the 10-minute flight and like their colleagues will be spurred on by fundraising.

After giving inspiring talks about fundraising at memory walks, Pam is tackling her own special solo walk.


Wing Walk –  The challenge facing the wing walkers.


All their individual JustGiving pages are available via the links below:

Bethan Wade – Challenge Events Coordinator – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bethan-wingwalk

Joanne Helm – Health Care Assistant – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joanne-helm1

Gill Black – Complementary Therapist – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gill-black1

Jill Harding – Health Care Assistant IPU – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Harding2

Caroline Allen – Health Care Assistant IPU – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/c-allen8

Pam Webster – Health Care Assistant IPU – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pamela-webster11

Laura Parker – Staff Nurse – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-parker47

Hospice ‘Time to Remember’ Service Goes Virtual

The monthly Time to Remember Service enables families of East Cheshire Hospice patients to remember and honour departed loved ones.

The Hospice has started uploading the Services – held in the Hospice Chapel on the second Sunday of each month – on to its website.

Hospice Chaplain Margaret Lillis leads the Service, assisted by Chief Executive Karyn Johnston and volunteer Bridget Fenwick.

They light a Remembrance Candle, and those who died three months earlier while accessing Hospice Services  through the Inpatient unit, Sunflower Centre or Hospice @Home, are remembered as their names are read out.

A recording is uploaded around 24 hours later for families to watch at their leisure.

The Hospice may carry on broadcasting the Services even when families are again permitted to attend the Chapel.

It is uncertain when that might happen, with September a possibility.

Margaret said: “The Services are now recorded and uploaded on to our website. It enables us to reach more people, especially as we don’t yet know when social gatherings will allow people to mix more freely.

“We send an invitation and service sheet with a list of names to next of kin three months after they’ve lost someone, although people are welcome after then.

“It’s important that everyone feels included. Services are about care, compassion and humanity and are open to all – people of all faith, no faith and everyone in between. We hope they help to remind people that they’re cared for and remembered, particularly at this time.”

East Cheshire Hospice Chaplain Margaret Lillis.

Hospice Shops Reopen

East Cheshire Hospice’s charity shops reopened on Monday (April 12) hoping for a surge in trade to make up for lost revenue.

The tills were ringing at the Thornton Square retail outlet and in the Hospice’s other shops at Handforth and Poynton after lockdown restrictions were eased.

The locations had to close at the start of the year, dealing a further financial blow to the Hospice which relies heavily on trading income to help fund patient care.

The Thornton Square and Handforth sites also faced long closures last year during the initial lockdown, while the charity’s new  ECHO shop in Poynton had to delay opening until September.

Commercial manager Louise Delany said: “It’s good to be back open again after such a frustrating time for our customers, staff and volunteers.

“We want to thank everyone for their patience and ongoing support and remind everyone that strict social distancing measures are in place.

“The closures were a big blow to Hospice income, but hopefully we can make up for some of the funds and donations we’ve missed out on.”

The only limit on donations is at Thornton Square where there is a maximum of two bags. Books should be taken to the shop rear for quarantine. CDs, DVDs, toys or soft toys are not accepted at Handforth.

Opening hours are 9.30 am-4.30 pm Mon-Sat. Furniture collection is also available to book here, or call 01625 409647.

An announcement about the former Chestergate shop is expected soon.

Louise Delany, Commercial Manager at East Cheshire Hospice.

Lucy’s Trig Point Challenge

The final footsteps taken by Lucy Coppack on her epic journey around the Peak District will be the most poignant.

The path to the top of Shutlingsloe above Macclesfield was designed by her late mum Lynne and partly built by her dad Ian.

The landmark will therefore provide a fitting climax to her record attempt to climb all 88 trig points in the Peak District as quickly as possible.


The Shutlingsloe path Lucy’s mum designed and her dad helped build.


The combined height of the coordinate trigs is around 35,000 metres.

Lucy is already well on the way towards raising £7,500 for East Cheshire Hospice where her mum was a patient 25 years ago.

That is how much it costs to provide a day’s care at the Hospice which provides some of Lucy’s earliest childhood memories.

She was just a toddler when her mum died of breast cancer, aged 38.


Lucy with her late mum Lynne.


Now 28, Lucy said: “I was too small to remember much about my mum, but I’ve got happy memories of the Hospice.

“That’s why I’m driven to do this challenge because those memories aren’t sad. They’d serve her sherry in the evenings and I’d play with the toys. Every year I still get a birthday card from the nurses.”

Lucy starts her adventure next month and aims to finish in September.

She said: “Not many have climbed all the trigs and they haven’t done it against the clock. I’m hoping to climb several each week.

“The shortest climb is six miles and the longest up to 20 miles and I’ve made it my mission to walk, run, and even crawl if necessary.”


Lucy Coppack by one of the trig points.


Lucy’s challenge will fit round her job with Royal London where she is a financial services coach, a role that includes promoting well-being and mental health.

Her parents, from Langley, met when Lynne was Ian’s boss. He worked on a project she had designed.

As a landscape architect, Lynne ran a joint project between the Peak park and Cheshire County Council to re-instate the footpath up to Shutlingsloe.

The stone was flown in by helicopter and Lucy’s father, a council ranger, ran the project on the ground.

Lucy said: “That’s why the path is sentimental to me and means a lot each time I climb it. It was the obvious place to end my challenge and family and friends will hopefully join me on that final leg.”

Lucy is on Instagram via @lucy.does.trigs and to donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/lucy-coppack1


Lucy preparing for her fundraising adventure.

Anna Rains Stresses the Importance of Legacies

A long-standing East Cheshire Hospice supporter has made an emotional plea for the public to help with legacies.

Grandmother Anna Rains said gifts from wills are a vital source of revenue for the Hospice.

In her new role as ambassador, Anna is offering to give talks to community groups, stressing the importance of legacies and sharing Hospice anecdotes.

She said: “I’m trying to appeal to people’s sympathies and make them realise how important it is and what it’d be like if we didn’t have a hospice in this area.

“People would either die at home without a lot of help, or in hospital. However, the Hospice is there for us and Hospice @Home is marvellous.

“We need more money coming in and only get a small portion of our income from the government. We’re the second lowest funded Hospice in the country.

“We’re just asking people when making, or updating, a will to please think about the Hospice.

“We’re not a national charity and can’t put big advertisements on television, saying ‘please leave something in your will.’ We must do it on a much smaller scale.”

Anna has made a legacy to the Hospice in her will, like husband Michael who died almost two years ago, aged 96.

The couple were married for 37 years and got involved in fundraising for the charity soon after it opened in 1988.

Anna set up Art Fair Cheshire and was chair of the Hospice 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal to build the Sunflower Centre.

Family and friends have also been Hospice patients.

She said: “Michael’s first wife died there, as did his brother and my sister. It’s a most extraordinary and happy place.

“Someone who didn’t know what to expect when walking through the front door said it felt like being given a big hug and knowing you weren’t on your own.

“There are more young people coming into the Hospice with life-limiting illnesses than I thought. We take patients from 18 yet most people consider the Hospice as a place where older people go to die with a serious illness.

“I’ve done a lot of public speaking over the years and jumped at the chance to become an ambassador in this way. I’m 78 now and felt it was time to do a bit more for the Hospice.”

Anna Rains at the Art Fair she set up.

Leaving a Legacy for the Hospice

Legacy gifts make up about a third of East Cheshire Hospice’s fundraising income.

Donors usually leave either a fixed amount, or a percentage of their estate, in their will.

The absence of major fundraising events over the last year because of Covid-19 has left the Hospice struggling for income even more.

Beth England, Individual Giving Fundraiser, said: “We’re here to look after you and your loved one, should you ever need us and understand more than most how important family is.

“Therefore once you’ve looked after your family in your will, we ask you to consider leaving a gift to the Hospice.

“Such a gift is a big decision but it’s one that makes a very real and lasting difference to the lives of people affected by life-limiting illness, long into the future.

“The past year has shown without doubt that we can’t predict the future and the need for our care is only growing.

“Your support through a gift in your will, will help future generations access our vital care. We can’t even begin to express how much we appreciate every legacy gift that we receive.

“It’s so special to know that someone has trusted us to continue their legacy through the work we do in the community.”

* For more information about legacies contact Beth England at legacies@echospice.org.uk.

Beth England, Individual Giving Fundraiser at East Cheshire Hospice.

Easter Thought from our Chaplain

A thought for Easter

As I write this, the birds are singing, the sky is a beautiful blue, and the sun is shining – all signs that Spring has arrived! Unlike April 2020, when it seemed – and indeed proved to be true, that things could only get worse -in this Spring of 2021, we have the joy and relief of knowing that we are slowly, gently and cautiously entering back into LIFE!

Hopefully, we do this with a deepened sense of gratitude, reminding ourselves that we must never again take life, our environment and each other, so much for granted. If we do forget, let’s be grave enough to remind each other. The Covid 19 pandemic brought home to us that as human beings, we really do need each other; that our environment, which we have treated so badly and with such disregard for so long, is a precious gift; that being generous with our love, kindness and concern is the only way we will ever get through difficult times. Hopefully, we have gained a new sense of respect for our fellow human beings – no matter who, no matter where from – and that this earth and its gifts are here for all, to be shared by all.

This is a good thought for Easter. For many throughout the world, the joy of Easter is that it is the celebration of the core of the Christian faith – the promise of fullness of LIFE for all. The Resurrection of Jesus is much more than an event that occurred centuries ago, marked by the consumption of countless Easter eggs. It is thanksgiving for the gift of life which is promised to us forever. For those who do not share this belief, the celebration of Easter at Springtime, still gives that feeling of being glad to be alive – so we can all enjoy a good time! And remember, the season of Easter lasts for 6 weeks!!!!

May the joy and blessings of new life and new beginnings fill us all with hope. And may the sun keep shining warmly on our gardens our family and friends, and all our wide open spaces…especially our hearts!!