November 2021 - East Cheshire Hospice

Coast to Coast Walk for East Cheshire Hospice

Keen walker Jen Johnson wore her late mum’s wedding ring for inspiration during a coast-to-coast hike. The treasured possession is a poignant reminder of Madeline who organised walks for fellow day care patients in the Sunflower Centre at East Cheshire Hospice.

There at last!  Jen Johnson and Andrew Gregory at the end of their walk with a Hospice bag they took with them.  

Madeline, from Tytherington, died in the hospice in 2018, six years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 68 and a retired medical secretary at Macclesfield and District General Hospital. Madeline’s courage motivated Jen and fiancé Andrew Gregory during their 12-day hike from St Bees Head to Robin Hood’s Bay.

The pair raised £2,100 for the Hospice from their 200-mile walk. Jen also added a £200 long-service award from the Environment Agency where she works.

Jen Johnson and Andrew Gregory at Kidsty Pike, the highest point of their coast-to-coast walk.

Jen said: “The walk was a tribute to my mum because she just loved walking. She co-ordinated hikes for the group at the Sunflower Centre and I know she’d have loved the route we took.

“I gave mum’s ring a little rub if we had a tough day walking up hills and it was nice to do something in her memory.

“The walk was exhilarating and was on our challenges-to-do list. We led a very simple and free life for 12 days.

“All I had to do was get up, eat a good breakfast, make sure I’d got everything in my bag and walk.

“The views were phenomenal, particularly in the Lake District and at the start where we could see the Isle of Man and Scotland.

Jen Johnson and Andrew Gregory in the Lake District.

“Then we headed inland for the hills. The hikes were beautiful and every single day you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

“We loved the challenge and never was it not worth it. All the stress of work and everyday life just fell away as we went back to basics.”

Dad Richard sings with the Hospice choir and the family will always be grateful to the charity for the care given to Madeline.

Jen said: “The staff were brilliant and we wanted to give something back.  The Hospice is such a special place and while mum was ill there was a strong support network for her and dad. We felt like a family in a home, everyone was so good.”

Madeline’s granddaughter Matilda Johnson, who is Jen’s niece,  also did a sponsored swim in aid of the Hospice in 2018.

* To sponsor Jen and Andrew visit

Light Up A Life Service – A Special Broadcast 2021

East Cheshire Hospice is inviting the public to join its Light Up A Life service from the comfort of their own homes again. The special Christmas broadcast will be streamed live on the Hospice website and  Facebook page on Saturday, December 4, at 3 pm.

The annual service is by tradition an opportunity to remember lost loved ones, though everyone is welcome. The remembrance event was held at St Michael and All Angels Church, Macclesfield, until two years ago.

A Tree of Memories will be on display in the Hospice Chapel. The symbolic tree is decorated with personalised baubles dedicated by supporters to someone special.

Bethan Wade, Challenge Events Co-ordinator, said: “The broadcast will be a little different than our usual Light Up A Life service, but will feature music, readings and staff from around the Hospice and will be suitable for people of all faiths and none.

Bethan Wade from East Cheshire Hospice with one of the Light Up A Life packs. 

“In another year of uncertainty, let’s join together to remember those who mean the most.

“While nothing compares to gathering in person, this year we felt it would be responsible to celebrate virtually once again.”

A recording of the service will also be available. A Light Up a Life pack can also be ordered via the website for a donation.

The pack includes a candle, LUAL bauble, two festive tea bags, a mince pie recipe and a vegan and gluten-free mince pie recipe.

* For more details visit

Woburn Court Lottery Winners

It was a case of lucky 13 for a lottery syndicate from Woburn Court retirement apartments in Poynton. The 26-strong syndicate scooped a £3,000 rollover prize in the East Cheshire Hospice lottery.

Each member received £115 and it is not the first time they have struck lucky. Several years ago they also shared the weekly £1,000 jackpot. Syndicate organiser Carole Clarke said:  “We have 13 numbers in the draw and we’re very fortunate to win again. It was a lovely surprise.

Some members of the winning syndicate from Woburn Court receive their cheque from lottery organisers Carol Frain  and Celia Stanley.  

“The Hospice organisers came in to present our cheque and that also gave us the chance to buy Christmas cards and diaries from them.”

The syndicate was set up by the late Betty Flanagan. Carole, a grandmother of four, said: “Betty was a great supporter of the Hospice and I was happy to take over running the syndicate for a very good cause.

“We see our lottery membership as way of making a donation, so winning was a bonus. One of our residents volunteers there and others have associations with the charity. We like to support them when we can.”

The lottery generates £324,000 a year which funds one day of care each week in the Sunflower Centre. Tickets are £1 with a weekly jackpot of £1,000, plus 22 other cash prizes, including a second prize of £200, which can rollover.  Entry at £4.34 a month can be via direct debit, debit card or cheque.

* To join visit or call 01625 433477 (Ext 2).

Helm family take on Trek Sahara

Escape those winter blues and trek across the Sahara desert camping under the stars. A year from now that is exactly what a group of East Cheshire Hospice supporters will be doing.

There is still a chance to join them, with the end of December the deadline for signing up. Among the party will be Jo Helm, a health care assistant with the Hospice’s Hospice @Home service, husband David and son Jack.

The family have each paid the £325 registration fee and all pledged to raise a minimum of £1,990 in sponsorship for the Hospice.  Jack (19) even dipped into his savings for a Ford Capri he dreams of owning to pay his share.

Jack, Jo and David Helm who are trekking across the Sahara.

The Moroccan adventure, from November 12-19, involves a 50 km trek over sand dunes in scorching temperatures. The four-day trek is followed by two days helping on a community project in Marrakech.

Contact Bethan Wade on 01625 789102 or email for more details.

Jo said: “I always enjoy a challenge and know it won’t be a walk in the park. I don’t mind the heat, unlike David who prefers it cooler.

“I’ve worked at the Hospice for a year and know how valuable it is to the community. It’s such a privilege to work there and Hospice @Home is an amazing service.”

David, a mental health recovery worker, said: “I wanted to do a trip like this when I came out of the Forces but never managed it. The Hospice is a fantastic cause and I know what Jo goes through at work and what it’s like to work there.”

The couple did a wing walk in June, conquering Jo’s fear of heights. She said: “I was scared getting on the plane and was shaking like mad. It was petrifying, but a lot of adrenaline and support from colleagues helped.

Jo and David are set for another challenge after their wing walk.

“I relaxed once I was up there and the reasons we’re doing it, and the patients we care for, made it all worthwhile.”

The Helms ran a competition to guess the weight of a pumpkin, raising £150 towards their Sahara target. Berghaus have supplied them with coats and rucksacks and Regatta have donated sleeping bags.

The Hospice offers fundraising ideas for the trip and a self-funded option is available. To register, or for more details, visit

* To sponsor the Helms visit one of the following links, or david-helm7, or jack-helm1.

East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Cards 2021

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping for another merry Christmas with sales of its festive cards. East Cheshire Hospice raises between £15,000 to £20,000 each year from supporters buying Christmas cards.  The Hospice reluctantly halved its stock a year ago, with fewer locations open to sell cards during the pandemic.

But this year Christmas cards – costing £4 for packs of 10 – are available again at all usual outlets, along with pocket diaries at £2.

The items can be bought at the Hospice shops in Thornton Square, Macclesfield, Handforth and Poynton. Macclesfield Library and Wilmslow Library, along with Knutsford Cinema, are also now selling them until Saturday, December 4.

Cards can also be bought from the Hospice reception, although East Cheshire Hospice is requesting that customers only go there if necessary to keep visitor numbers to a minimum.

Cards can also be ordered via the Hospice’s website, or leaflets which have been distributed to supporters. Delivery charges will apply to cover admin costs for postal sales.

Commercial Manager Louise Delany said: “Our Christmas cards are always big sellers and are a great way to support the Hospice.  “They’re excellent quality with nice designs and we’d urge customers to hurry up and buy them because certain designs do sell out quickly.

“We sold out quickly last year when we had to halve our order because of Covid. “We’re asking people to try to visit our shops, or libraries, if they want to buy cards in person.

“Of course, they’re still welcome to come into the Hospice on Millbank Drive, but we’re encouraging people only to come in if they can’t get to other locations.”

That message is echoed by Clair Close, a Hospice volunteer for 15 years. Clair, from Macclesfield, started off in the Hospice’s choir. For the last seven years she has helped on reception and is also an admin volunteer for the medical team.

Hospice volunteer Clair Close shows off  the range of Christmas cards.

Clair said: “Our Christmas cards are always popular and we’ve already had a lot of interest this year. I enjoy volunteering here – it’s such a wonderful place and the money raised from the cards goes directly towards caring for our patients.”

Macc Parish Memorial Match

The memory of Macclesfield Parish FC stalwart Col Smith lives on through an annual football match. Two teams he managed and played for – Parish FC and St Peter’s which are part of the same club – met in a friendly match at the Moss Rose. Parish FC came out on top 3-2, with a £320 donation made to East Cheshire Hospice from a collection.

Col, of Higher Hurdsfield, died of cancer in March last year, aged 52.

Col Smith, who was a patient at East Cheshire Hospice.

He fought illness for 10 years but still remained involved in the club, part of the South Manchester and Cheshire Christian Football League. Col was a team leader at McDonald’s and a member of Bollington Life Church.

Parish FC manager David Mayers said: “We want to contribute towards society and not just play football. “The Hospice is a wonderful charity and they did a great job of looking after Col who was a real Christian man and passionate about his football.

“He inspired so many through his friendship, love for the game and deep Christian faith and is missed terribly.”

David Mayers (left) and Ryan Cawley from Macclesfield Parish FC with Hospice Community Fundraiser Carley Macey.

Fundraising Latest

The long-awaited return of fundraising events has come as a welcome relief for East Cheshire Hospice. The charity held a Drive-In Cinema and a Firewalk last month after a two-year break from events due to the pandemic. The previous formal event staged by the Hospice was a Tough Woofer dog walk back in October 2019.

The Drive-In Cinema at Capesthorne Hall.

Thankfully, since then generous individuals and local groups have rallied to support the Hospice with donations and with their own fundraising initiatives. The Hospice stresses that it still requires that much-needed public support to continue during difficult financial times.

Meanwhile, it is making plans for more official community events in 2022, on top of those already announced.

Challenge Events Coordinator Bethan Wade said: “We’re glad to be back – it was such a huge relief to be holding events again.

“It’s been such a frustrating time, but October 2021 was a big milestone for us with the Drive-In Cinema and Firewalk.

The East Cheshire Hospice fundraising team at the Drive-In Cinema


Supporter Finn O’Gara takes on the firewalk challenge, one of two fundraising events held by East Cheshire Hospice last month.

“Both were very successful and it felt good to be in touch with the community again. We made sure all necessary safety precautions were taken, including social distancing measures.

“Like everyone else, we’re keeping a close eye on the number of Covid infections locally and nationally. “We will adapt our plans accordingly if necessary, but hopefully the worst is over and 2022 will be a much better year for us all in so many ways.”

The quiz group who regularly support the Hospice held another of their competitions last Friday. The annual Christmas tree collection will be held on the weekend of January 15-16, although registrations are not yet open. This year’s collection was delayed for three months until lockdown restrictions were eased, but still raised a staggering £150,000.

Around 1,000 trees were collected in April – a seventh of the total that would have been recycled had the collection been on time in January.

Supporters who had not even registered their trees for collection made donations to help out the Hospice.

The Memory Miles walk will be on Friday, March 25, at Adlington Hall. By then it will be three years since the charity last staged this popular mass participation event which has been postponed four times.

James Doyle Opticians take on Firewalk

Optician Graham Doyle and his colleagues kept their eyes firmly focussed on the job when they bravely tackled a Firewalk. The fearless four took stepping over hot coals in their stride as they aim to raise an impressive £1,000 for East Cheshire Hospice.

Graham was joined by son Edward, Kate Brocklehurst and Emma Titchen, all of whom work at James Doyle Opticians in Wilmslow. There to watch them was Graham’s wife Raffaella.

Fire walkers from James Doyle Opticians (from left) Kate Brocklehurst, Edward Doyle, Graham Doyle and Emma Titchen

The team were among a host of daring volunteers who faced the challenge at the Hospice’s headquarters on Millbank Drive.

Graham said: “The motivation was that we work in the health care sector and very sadly my mother died of cancer at the Hospice. A close neighbour and long-term customer was also a patient there.

“We’re all very proud to have completed the challenge. Everyone’s worked so hard during these difficult times and it was a great team building exercise.

“The organiser got us all revved up, and as more wood was chopped up for the fire, you had to keep telling yourself  ‘I think I can, I think I can – I can!'”

Mission accomplished – firewalkers cool down after their challenge. 

  The Hospice is hoping to raise at least £9,400 from the event which had to be postponed last year.

Graham said: “The Hospice are so imaginative with their events and it was a pleasure to support their fundraising activities.”