June 2021 - East Cheshire Hospice

Wing Walk Takeoff Delayed

A Wing Walk has had to be delayed five weeks in the latest blow to East Cheshire Hospice’s fundraising plans.

Bad weather was one of the reasons the challenge was put back until Monday, July 26.

A rise in Covid infections leading to Cheshire East being made an ‘enhanced response area’  was another factor.

The event, which sees wing walkers harnessed on top of a 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane, is fully subscribed.

The postponement adds to the tension for participants, including five grandmothers, the eldest of whom Barbara Spivey (74) runs a fancy dress shop on Chestergate.


Wing Walk grannies …from left,  Pam Webster, Gill Black, Jacky Macleod and Barbara Spivey.


The effects of Covid-19 have badly affected plans by the Hospice fundraising team whose last mass participation event was a Tough Woofer dog walk in October, 2019.

That means there will be a two-year gap until the next event, a Drive-in Cinema at Capesthorne Hall, on Sunday, October 17.

A Memory Miles walk due in August has now been shelved until March 25 next year.

Events Manager Beth Candy said: “We’re pretty confident the cinema event will go ahead. It’s been such a frustrating time for our supporters and losing so many events has wrecked our fundraising plans.

“We’d appeal to anyone who can raise funds for the Hospice to please support us in whatever way they can. The last 18 months have been so tough and the sooner we’re back to normal the better.

“Any donations, large or small, will much such a huge difference to the care of our patients.”


The wing walk facing Hospice fundraisers.  

Memory Walk Postponed Again

East Cheshire Hospice has been forced to postpone its Memory Miles walk yet again because of the Covid crisis.

The new date is Friday, March 25, 2022, at Adlington Hall – almost three years after the Hospice last staged its flagship memory walk.

The August 27 event has been postponed reluctantly, amid on-going uncertainty over the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The absence of mass participation events is a major financial blow to the Hospice.

The next event is a Drive-in Cinema on Sunday, October 17, at Capesthorne Hall, where the charity’s last fundraising event, a Tough Woofer dog walk, took place two years ago.

Organisers are hoping it will be a case of fifth time lucky for the Memory Walk which was cancelled twice in 2020 (April and September) and twice in 2021 (May and August).

Events Manager Beth Candy said:  “We’re very sad to keep having to cancel these events, but when we do eventually stage our next one and all get back together again it’s going to be bigger and better and more amazing than ever before.

“The memory walk is extra special to us because it’s a celebration of lost loved ones. It’s an event we get most sponsorship from because of its very nature.”


Walkers enjoying the memory walk two years ago.


The Hospice had delayed accepting registrations until the government made its most recent announcement to put back the final easing of lockdown restrictions.

Beth said: “People would have had mixed emotions about us launching an event in the current circumstances with restrictions in place, even though we’d probably have been out of those restrictions by the time the walk came round.

“But we want to make sure there aren’t going to be any restrictions and don’t have to cap the numbers taking part. Unfortunately, there was the potential for that to be the case.

“We want to be confident we can do it and want everyone to be confident they can attend.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everyone coming together again in March and want to thank everyone for their loyalty, patience and understanding.”

The Memory Walk, formerly Light Up The Night, was to have been the climax to a Memory Miles event in which fundraisers undertake their own challenge by whatever means they wish.


The last memory walk in 2019.

Staff Profile: Conor Stubbs – IT Engineer

East Cheshire Hospice has been leading the way using innovative technology to overcome Covid 19 challenges.

The Hospice’s IT engineer Conor Stubbs has implemented major infrastructure changes which benefit patients, families and staff.

The pandemic sped up the introduction of the new systems which mean the Hospice now has a more modern streamlined approach to its computer use.

Conor said: “Technology has been at the forefront of how we’ve run our services during Covid and beyond, with Microsoft 365 our main hub for applications and productivity.

“It’s enabled us to collaborate, share and work more effectively and remotely. We’ve also given in-house IT training for staff to enable them to understand how to use our systems.”

One such innovation saw clinicians use smart devices to connect patients on the ward with loved ones, an essential online facility during the crisis because of restrictions on bedside visits.

Video conferencing has allowed staff to stay connected and the platform has also hosted fundraising events, including quizzes and games plus virtual events with high-profile speakers.

The Hospice’s Time to Remember services held in the chapel are hosted on Zoom and the website for access by the bereaved. These may continue online even when families are allowed to attend again.

Advanced technology also helps manage the charity’s fundraising by connecting with donors and identifying opportunities for growth.

The Hospice’s clinical care was already supported by EMIS Web, a system allowing clinicians to access patient records in real time.

This data sharing with other health care professionals enhances patient care and delivers high quality treatment.

Conor said: “We’ve got the best of both worlds – improved technology and face-to-face contact now we can start bringing people back into the building again.

“We want patient care to be the best experience and technology helps communication for relatives who might still be unable to access our site.

“Working in this fantastic environment caring for people with life-limiting illnesses is a proud and fulfilling job.

“I got involved in IT from a young age and was brought up with technology, from gaming to building and repairing PCs and even helping out in the family with their gadgets.

“IT is a hobby and something I’m passionate about. There’s so many different sectors in the IT industry to learn and ever-changing technologies make it an exciting career.”


East Cheshire Hospice IT engineer Conor Stubbs.

Bill’s Open Garden

The roots of Bill North’s love of gardens go back to his days as a teenager.

His first job was as an apprentice horticulturalist and he spent his entire career involved in parks and gardens in some capacity.

Bill eventually retired as head of leisure at the then Macclesfield Borough Council in 2009.

He is one of several East Cheshire Hospice supporters opening up their gardens to the public this summer to raise funds for charity.

Bill and wife Julie entertained visitors at their beautiful garden on Kennedy Avenue as part of their annual support for the National Garden Scheme.

The Hospice provided teas for guests who admired herbaceous borders, Acer trees and countless flower pots and hanging baskets.

Bill said: “I dote on my garden and spend hours in it. I love it and genuinely feel better when I’m outside.

“I was very fortunate that my hobby was my career and once our garden is sorted at the start of the year it’s a matter of mainly keeping on top of it.

“We’ve a covered area where we love entertaining. That’s why we’re pleased to be coming out of lockdown because we can start to have people round again like before.”

Core beneficiaries of the Nation Garden Scheme include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The couple have now decided to hold a second Open Gardens day on Sunday, August 15, with proceeds in aid of the Hospice only. Find out more here.


Gardeners’ world….Bill and Julie North in their back garden.

Katie and Sophie Step Up

Sisters Katie and Sophie Richards used their new Fitbits to spur them on in a fundraising challenge.

The girls reached their daily target of steps to raise £290 sponsorship for East Cheshire Hospice.

Their grandad Stephen Jones died of bowel cancer at the Hospice in 1998, aged 47, while late great grandad Gordon Oldfield, also from Macclesfield, was treated there as well.

Katie (9) and Sophie (8) warmed up for their month-long challenge by walking or running 5,000 steps a day for the first week.

Their target increased to 6,000 steps a day the following week and the last two weeks they covered 7,000 steps, raising the total to 10,000 for the last day.

Mum Emma Jones said: “We got them a Fit bit each as an incentive and they wanted to do something for charity since the Hospice is part of our family.

“The care it provided when my dad and grandad passed away was amazing and we wanted the girls to take the money to the Hospice so they could see what it does.”

“They’re proud of their achievement and want to thank everyone for their sponsorship.”


Sophie (left) and Katie Richards during their step challenge.

Rachel Wild’s Mountain Marathon

Rachel Wild after completing her Lake District marathon.


The memory of her grandad inspired Rachel Wild on a gruelling marathon run across Lake District mountains.

The trainee advanced clinical practitioner has already raised £1,000 for East Cheshire Hospice where Michael Palmer, from Macclesfield, was a patient.

Michael (81) died of cancer last September after a career in television engineering which included a spell living in Vietnam.


Michael Palmer


Rachel climbed more than 6,000 feet –  equivalent to scaling Ben Nevis – as she ran almost 28 miles over nine and a half hours on the Trail Pursuit course near Lake Windermere.

She said: “I was scrambling up summits where there were obviously no paths and on a hot day it was brutal. The descents were just as horrendous and you needed to be resilient. I’m tough minded but found it very hard.

“My grandad was my best friend and we were lucky to get a place for him at the Hospice. The care and attention he received was incredible and the staff were amazing.

“It meant I could be his granddaughter and spend those last few days with him. I sat and read one of his favourite books Alice in Wonderland to him and we listened to classical music.

“He was peaceful, comfortable and pain free. I wish everyone could have that experience and know that’s not always the case.

“Grandad was the most amazing, intelligent kind and funny man who had high morals. He always believed in doing the right thing to help someone if he could and loved magical fairy stories and childhood wonder.”


Michael Palmer with his dog Archie.


Rachel, an Army reservist, found the Trail Pursuit challenge harder than a marathon she completed in stifling heat and humidity in Sierra Leone in 2015.

“The first and last few miles along the Cumbrian Way were fairly flat but the mountains, including Bowfell, the ninth highest summit in England, required a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

Rachel has already reached double her initial fundraising target of £500. She said: “I think my grandad would have been so proud of me and anyone who sponsors me is making a difference to someone’s end-of-life care.”

* To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/rachel-wild6

Art Fair Cheshire Returns this Autumn

Art Fair Cheshire returns this autumn featuring works by established and emerging artists.

The biennial event will take place at Macclesfield Town Hall from Thursday, September 23, until Sunday, October 3.

Organisers are dedicating specific gallery space to artists who may have recently graduated from creative degrees.

The move is an opportunity for the next generation of artists to exhibit work, reach a wide audience, make sales and gain recognition.

Each exhibiting artist donates a percentage from the sale of their work to East Cheshire Hospice.

Two years ago the event raised £45,000 to provide funds for the Hospice’s art therapy unit. It also attracted record sponsorship with organisers now aiming to build on that success.

Art Fair Cheshire – showcasing work by more than 80 local and regional artists – has donated around £300,000 to the Hospice since 1999.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said:  “In addition to our fantastic exhibition, we’ll have a pop-up cafe, artist talks as well as lively debates with experienced gallery guides.

“For the first time, we’ll be hosting a gallery of newly-graduated and emerging artists. We’re keen to support artists who might not have exhibited before and look forward to showcasing their work.

“We love working with artists, makers and creators to develop a truly unique event which not only showcases art, but celebrates community and giving.  We invite people to join us and support East Cheshire Hospice and discover some wonderful art while they do so.”

* For more information visit www.theartfair.org.uk.


Visitors enjoying Art Fair Cheshire in 2019.

What Women Want Return

Five friends who call themselves What Women Want are back in business planning events after Covid curtailed their fundraising.

A glitzy ball at Cranage Hall on Friday, November 12, is already sold out assuming restrictions have ended fully by then.

The group has still managed to carry on fundraising for East Cheshire Hospice during the pandemic, although on a much smaller scale because of government limitations.

One of the group Jo Millward raised £1,300 after running a half marathon last month after injury forced her to delay her challenge.


Jo Millward completing her half marathon in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.


Meanwhile, fellow member Jill Harding is undertaking a wing walk on Monday, June 21, in aid of the Hospice where she is a health care assistant.

Jill fell in love with the Hospice after her late mum Mary was a patient there 18 years ago.

Group chair Jayne Carter said: “All the tickets have gone for the Ball if it’s allowed to go ahead.  We’re just waiting on Boris Johnson’s announcement on June 21 and are thinking of calling it the Masked Ball since we’ve all been wearing masks.

“Our disco bingo nights at Tytherington School usually attract 200 people but we’re not sure whether they can go ahead yet.

“It’s been hugely frustrating and we all feel really sorry that we haven’t been able to raise much-needed funds.

“We’ve organised online raffles and had a couple of meetings, but have missed doing big events which is hard when the Hospice needs the money.

“It’s been a difficult time for them and we’re a bit detached from it all as we’ve been unable to go in to the Hospice.

“We may not make as much money from the Ball, especially as we were lucky enough to get a massive £1m donation from sponsors Proseal a couple of years ago, but this time it’ll be much more about raising the profile of the Hospice and having fun again.”

Elaine Burgess and Julie Barnes make up the Macclesfield quintet who have been fundraising for the Hospice for 13 years.

Jill has already raised £1,590 for her wing walk at an airfield in Gloucestershire. To sponsor her visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Harding2.

What Women Want made a £25,000 donation to help launch the Hospice @Home service in 2017 and later bought a car for staff to visit patients at home.

The group has also bought equipment and many other practical items for the Hospice.


What Women Want fundraisers (from left) – Jo Millward, Julie Barnes, Jill Harding, Jayne Carter and Elaine Burgess

Vaccine Workers Donate to Hospice

Several workers helping with the mass vaccine roll-out at Andrews Pharmacy are donating their wages to charity.

They include two couples with strong links to nearby East Cheshire Hospice which is benefitting from their generosity.

Teacher Angela Raval is a Hospice ambassador, while Margaret Black is a part-time health care assistant, having rejoined the nursing register to take on a vaccinator role.

Both have worked many hours at the pharmacy, as have husbands Neil Raval and Sandy Black whose roles include helping the operation run smoothly.

Neil, a management consultant, said: “Angela’s role at the Hospice means we’re acutely aware of the difficulty charities are facing.

“We’ve been at the pharmacy in rain, hail, snow and occasional sunshine and the feedback is it’s a friendly, efficient service.”

The Ravals split their donation between several charities, including sponsoring Hospice health care assistant Jill Harding, a friend and fellow dog walker, for her wing walk last month.


Angela and Neil Raval.


Neil is scout network commissioner for Macclesfield and Congleton district and proud of the organisation’s support role at the pharmacy.

Sandy is a retired health and safety manager at AstraZeneca, while Margaret was a Hospice nurse.

Sandy said: “We’ve enjoyed helping at the clinic supporting people through the vaccination process. The elderly were thankful to receive the vaccine and it’s been rewarding from that aspect.

“Donating our wages to the Hospice was the obvious thing for us to do. We’ve done various things to support the charity and know friends who’ve needed its support.”


Margaret and Sandy Black.

40,000 Jabs with Help of Hospice Staff

More than 40,000 Covid vaccinations have been carried out at Andrews Pharmacy this year – many of them by nurses from East Cheshire Hospice.

Hospice staff have joined retired GPs and retired nurses, pharmacists and a paramedic giving jabs at the pharmacy on Kennedy Avenue, Macclesfield.

Every Tuesday two nurses from the Sunflower Centre, which had to close during the pandemic, have administered doses, with the Hospice compensated for loaning staff.

It is part of a huge vaccine roll-out at Andrews, one of the first three community pharmacies nationwide to begin inoculations in mid-January.

The operation has involved more than 170 staff and volunteers, with up to 600 jabs a day. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was given until mid-May when the Pfizer jab was added for under 40s.

Lindsey Rial, HR and Business Manager at Andrews, said: “It’s been non-stop and the first few weeks were relentless but it’s been so rewarding. The look on people’s faces when they come for their vaccine makes it all so worthwhile.

“We had to apply to become a vaccine clinic and prove we could do it. Obviously, we’ve kept our core business going, running the dispensary so customers can collect prescriptions as normal.

“With such a big logistical challenge, including car parking and marshalling, there were bound to be minor bumps along the way but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

“Effectively, we had to cut the shop in two – one half for the pharmacy and the other a waiting area, fielding calls and giving jabs.

“We’ve vaccinated seven days a week on occasions and may carry on giving the Covid vaccine until March after we’ve also handed out flu jabs. ”

Andrews donated surgical masks to the Hospice early in the pandemic and held a live Zoom concert which raised £2,000 for the charity. A bake sale is also planned.

The independent pharmacy also vaccinated Hospice staff unable to attend NHS slots. The business was founded by Andrew Hodgson more than 30 years ago and also has shops on London Road and in Tytherington.

Andrews offered a free delivery service to those shielding at the start of the pandemic, with scout leaders among its many volunteers.

Lindsey said: “We want to thank everyone for their amazing help. It’s a great team effort and we’re delighted to have supported the Hospice and worked so closely with them.”

Lindsey Rial, HR and Business Manager at Andrews Pharmacy, with medicines counter assistant Sally Shaw behind the dispensary.