December 2023 - East Cheshire Hospice

A memorable year comes to an end for supporters of East Cheshire Hospice.

A memorable year comes to an end for supporters of East Cheshire Hospice.

All kinds of activities and acts of kindness raised funds for the charity with plenty to look forward to in 2024.

Entries are already open for the next Starlight Walk at Capesthorne Hall on Thursday, April 18.

The Starlight Walk is back at Capesthorne Hall in April.

More than 400 walkers took part last April – the biggest turnout for a Hospice event since before Covid.

A Memory Tree was unveiled in the Hospice gardens.

Leaves are dedicated to the memory of someone special, even if they have no link to the Hospice.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by families who have joined the scheme.

AstraZeneca employee representative Katie Morelli cuts the ribbon to open the Memory Tree watched by colleague Guy Camm (left), Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston and Chair of the Trustee Board Will Spinks.

Representatives from AstraZeneca, whose employees gifted the new memorial, attended the unveiling.

Macclesfield dad Carl Lamptey received deserved accolades for his prolific fundraising for various causes.

Caring Carl won Cheshire’s Silk 106.9 Pride of Cheshire prize at the Local Hero 2023 Awards, days after receiving a civic award from Macclesfield mayor Cllr Fiona Wilson.

Carl Lamptey with his Silk 106.9 award. 

His Team Rainbow has raised more than £70,000 for the Hospice where wife Sarah died of breast cancer in 2014, aged 36.

The next foreign trip for Hospice supporters is a trek to Iceland in November.

On the plane will be Louise Troyano whose late husband Luis, a Hospice patient in 2020, starred in The Great British Bake Off.

The graphic designer was runner-up in the hit BBC show.

Luis Troyano on The Great British Bake Off.

Louise said: “Luis left me a note and one of the things he told me was to travel. We went on lots of holidays and Iceland is on my bucket list.

“When the Hospice trip popped up, I thought it’s ticking that box and helping the Hospice.”

Rick Pulvertaft swam the Channel raising more than £6,700, though he nearly did not make it.

Rick Pulvertaft ready for his Channel swim.

Bad weather twice left him stranded on shore before he got the go ahead and completed the 21-mile crossing in just under 13 hours.

Rick, from Macclesfield, said: “It was a roller-coaster ride emotionally as I was at the mercy of the weather. I felt so lucky to swim the Channel and was almost in a trance.”

Nursery owner Monika Pollard climbed to Everest base camp in memory of her mother-in-law Theresa Connolly.

Monika Pollard climbing Everest.

It was tough going, though, as she suffered altitude sickness.

Monika said: “The hike was much harder than anticipated. I’m physically fit, but I struggled breathing as the air was so thin.”

Generous philanthropists have donated £300,000 to East Cheshire Hospice

Two of the country’s most generous philanthropists have donated £300,000 to East Cheshire Hospice.

Billionaires Julia and Hans Rausing have already given an initial £100,000 grant, with the same amount due in each of the next two years.

It is part of an £8.7m grant from the couple to 27 hospices nationwide to help them meet the significant increase in day-to-day running costs, caused by inflation and high energy prices.

The Hospice has benefitted because of its Cheshire post code, as has St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford.

Hans and Julia Rausing who have made a large donation to East Cheshire Hospice.

Julia’s roots are in the county and she is a keen supporter of charities in the area.

She was brought up at Doddington Hall, her family’s 35,000-acre estate near Nantwich, by her father Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton and mother Helen Mary Shore, a barrister.

Her husband Hans is the grandson of the founder of the food packaging giant Tetra Pak.

The Rausings donate around £50m a year to organisations working in health and wellbeing, welfare and education and arts and culture.

Julia and Hans said: “The rising cost of living has left hospices in a perilous financial position. We know many are receiving fewer or smaller donations than in previous years, so we hope that these grants can be a lifeline, enabling these wonderful hospices to continue providing care and support in their communities across the UK.”

Rachel Allcock, Income Generation Director at East Cheshire Hospice, said: “We extend our heartfelt thanks to Julia and Hans Rausing for their extraordinary generosity and for championing the cause of hospice care.

“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude and this significant contribution will help us enhance our services and make a meaningful difference to the lives of patients and families.

“Julia and Hans are beacons of kindness and their support will resonate for years to come, bringing comfort and solace to those facing challenging times.

“East Cheshire Hospice faces severe economic challenges like the rest of the hospice sector and we rely on the goodwill of donors whether their support is large or small.

“It has been a particularly tough few years for us financially with the pandemic, soaring energy costs and a rise in the general cost of living.

“Yet despite these setbacks, we continue to serve our community with the highest possible standards of palliative care.”

The North Cheshire Business Awards 2023

The North Cheshire Business Awards 2023 turned into a major triumph for East Cheshire Hospice which scooped three prizes.

Trainee HR adviser Hannah Bentham was named the Apprentice of the Year, while the Hospice also won Charity of the Year and the Customer Service Award.

Hannah Bentham proudly shows off her award.

The gala ceremony at De Vere Cranage Estate featured 12 categories, so winning three awards made it a night to remember for the Hospice.

Hannah completes a two-year apprenticeship in April and is staying on at the Hospice after earning a permanent contract.

Hospice staff at the Business Awards. From left, Luke Oldham, Lindsey Rial, Rachel Allcock and Hannah Bentham.

She said: “I was surprised and delighted to win the award and I’d like to thank everyone at the Hospice for their warm welcome since I decided on a career change last year.

“I wasn’t expecting the award, especially as I’m a slightly older apprentice at 29 and there were three other excellent candidates on the short list.

“I worked as a wedding co-ordinator for seven years and when the opportunity came up to enrol on a course at Macclesfield College, I thought I’d give it a go.

“I love being at the Hospice. It’s such a nice place to work.”

Award winners at the North Cheshire Business Awards 2023.

Husband Tom has fundraised for the Hospice, notably by canoeing across England with his brother George.

The Charity of the Year prize will mean that funds raised at next year’s awards will be donated to East Cheshire Hospice.

The Customer Service award reflected the quality of the Hospice’s work in the community caring for patients, families and carers.

The daring endeavours of the Bentham brothers

The daring endeavours of the Bentham brothers show no sign of ending despite reaching their fundraising target.

George and Tom have raised £7,548 for East Cheshire Hospice where their late father Mark (58) was a patient four years ago.

More than two thirds came from a gruelling 195-mile coast-to-coast canoe challenge lasting nine days, taking the brothers from the Irish Sea to the North Sea.

They met their goal of raising the cost of a day’s care at the Hospice by completing a Born Survivor, while Tom also completed a triathlon even though he dislikes cycling.

Back on dry land … Tom Bentham (left) and brother George.

Tom said: “I’m petrified of cycling after a motorbike crash when I was young, and the roads are just too dangerous. I’ll stick to the water from now on.”

The swim element in north Wales was cancelled due to fog but Tom, joined by friends Martin Thomson and Tom Bickersteth, still insisted on doing the water discipline once the race ended, honouring a promise to donors to complete a triathlon.

The brothers have their sights set on running a marathon in 2025.

Tom and George tackling their canoeing challenge.

Tom said: “We’re delighted we’ve done what we set out to do in our dad’s memory. It’s fantastic to raise so much for such a vitally important cause in his name and fund those who need hospice services next.

“We still have our canoe and will probably take to water again at some point. We’ve wanted to do a marathon and what better place than Athens, the birthplace of the event!”

Lee Wadsworth to make a charity single

Losing his mum and pet cat has persuaded songwriter Lee Wadsworth to make a charity single.

His haunting melody The Price of Love is now raising funds for East Cheshire Hospice, a cause close to his heart.

Lee, a nurse practitioner, suffered grief late last year when his 90-year-old mum Mary died, followed shortly afterwards by his oldest cat Redster.

Lee, whose singing name is Mister Lee, said: “I wrote the song while going through two grief reactions. It made me think about grief and how we and other people attempt to measure it.

“People try to quantify others’ grief saying it’s only a dog, or a cat, or an old lady but the message of the song is to let people have their own grief and simply try to help them.

Songwriter Lee Wadsworth and artist Ginny McDermott with the charity single artwork.

“I dedicate this song to both them and what they meant to me. It doesn’t matter what or who you have lost, it’s what they meant to you.”

Lee, from Macclesfield, has performed before to raise money for the Hospice. He also wrote a song called Sunshine in memory of a friend tragically killed in an accident.

He said: “I’m a hobby musician and have co-written three albums, though I haven’t composed any songs for a while and tend to need something in my mind to write about.

“The process of writing this song has certainly helped me to heal from my grief. It’s been therapy, helping me express my emotions.

“I want to support the Hospice as my mum would have benefitted from hospice care during her illness. Unfortunately, where she lived in Hyde she wasn’t able to access such services soon enough.

“The hospice movement provides great care and expertise helping people and their loved ones to have more dignified and comfortable passing.

“I know hospices rely heavily on charitable donations and East Cheshire Hospice needs £7,500 a day to survive. Hopefully, my single will raise awareness of the care they provide.”

The front cover of the single is a beautiful drawing by local landscape artist Ginny McDermott, a Hospice shop volunteer and supporter. It depicts Lee walking with his mum and cat, with his guitar on his back.

Lee said: “Ginny’s wonderful image can be interpreted as walking on life’s journey together, or perhaps to the gates of heaven.”

* To download Lee’s song and donate to his fundraising visit

Musical Director Kath Ibbotson retires from Claritas Choir

Claritas, The East Cheshire Hospice Choir, hopes to give Musical Director Kath Ibbotson a rousing farewell at their Christmas concert.

Kath retires at Easter to spend more time with her family after leading the choir for almost 12 years.

Kath Ibbotson, who is retiring as Musical Director of Claritas Choir. 

As the search begins for her replacement, the choir will perform at the United Reformed Church, Park Green, on Thursday, December 14, from 7.30 pm.

The programme features carols and Christmas songs old and new.  Tickets (£8 adults, £5 under 18s) are available from the Tourist Information Centre, choir members, or on the door with refreshments available.

Claritas Choir which is preparing for its Christmas concert.

Committee member Marian Mackay said: “Kath is a hard act to follow, but we’re hoping there’s someone out there who’d like to lead Claritas forward in 2024.

“Claritas would like to record our thanks to Kath for her hard work and unstinting dedication to the choir. She has built the choir up from a small group singing a cappella, to a membership of around 50 singing in three/four-part harmony, accompanied by pianist Hilary Balsdon.

“Our repertoire has increased significantly during Kath’s musical directorship, allowing us to perform more challenging music and increase the number of fundraising concerts. In recent years the choir has donated more than £45,000 to the Hospice.”

“Although Claritas will never be the same without Kath, our loyalty to the Hospice means we’re determined to continue singing.” New members are welcome with rehearsals weekly during term time. Visit for more details.

Anyone interested in replacing Kath should email

Christmas Tree Collection 2024 countdown is on!

The countdown is under way to the trail-blazing East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection scheme which is proving an inspiration to other charities.

Registrations are open for the 24th edition of the event over the weekend of January 13/14.

Around 130 other hospices now run similar fundraising schemes inspired by the East Cheshire Hospice model which is believed to be the largest volunteer-led Christmas tree collection in the world.

Volunteers ready to start the Christmas tree collection last January.

The scheme, sp0nsored by AstraZeneca, has raised more than £1.75m after another £150,000 was generated for patient care last winter.

Co-founders Pete Chapman and Richard Raymond have been out and about again advising other hospices since the last of nearly 7000 trees were recycled on their scheme in January.

Richard said: “It’s all systems go for us again in 2024 and hopefully the collection is just as popular.

“The other schemes started from our original idea and the inspiration we’ve given to them is the icing on the cake for us.

“Many have been in touch with us. This year for example, Pete and I have been to Leeds and Chesterfield and we had a Zoom call with a hospice in Scotland. I also went down to Harrow and Wealdstone and talked to them.

“Our message is that it’s an innovative piece of fundraising at a really important time of the year for hospices and you can build it to what you want.

Christmas tree scheme co-founders Richard Raymond (left) and Pete Chapman.

“The scheme has many spin-offs. It brings new volunteers to the hospice movement and obviously raises funds which is the crucial thing.

“There’s also the recycling element with the eco-friendly benefits, while it reaches out into the community and forms partnerships with commercial concerns.

“The other hospices think it’s a great idea and in many cases they’ve just needed the impetus and confidence. If they hit a snag, we’re on the end of a phone or email to answer any questions and point them in the right direction.”

Post codes covered by East Cheshire Hospice volunteers are once again CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16. Collection vans will leave the Hospice in staggered starts.

Sponsorship by local business means all donations go straight to the Hospice. Organisers are already considering how to celebrate the 25th anniversary in 2025.

*To register visit