February 2024 - East Cheshire Hospice

A special night in Macclesfield Mayor Cllr Chris Wilcock’s honour

Two charities close to the heart of Macclesfield Mayor Cllr Chris Wilcock will benefit from a special night in his honour.

The last few tickets are still available for a charity dinner and auction at Macclesfield Town Hall on Saturday, March 16.

A drinks reception at 7 pm is followed by a three-course meal (7.3o pm) before entertainment by live band Outer Limits.

Tickets priced £30 are available by emailing civic@macclesfield-tc.gov.uk

Proceeds will be donated to East Cheshire Hospice, where Cllr Wilcock’s late mum Lesley was an outpatient, and East Cheshire Eye Society, his other chosen charity.

The group helps people with sight loss, including Lesley who was partially sighted and died of cancer in 2015, aged 59.

Macclesfield Mayor Cllr Chris Wilcock.

Auctioneer and TV personality Adam Partridge will conduct the auction with guests promised a surprise on the night.

Cllr Wilcock said: “It should be a fantastic night of dining and entertainment for two great causes.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my year of office. It’s everything I expected and more and it’s been wonderful to see different community groups and what they do.

“It’s given me an insight into how Macclesfield ticks basically. Wearing the chain of office and being recognised as mayor has been quite humbling.”

Cllr Wilcock joined volunteers for last month’s Hospice Christmas tree collection which raised more than £152,000.

He said: “It was an exhausting but highly rewarding day and next year we’re hoping to expand councillors’ involvement in this terrific long-standing fundraising scheme.”

Grace Williams and her family grateful of East Cheshire Hospice’s support

East Cheshire Hospice came to the rescue not once but twice for Grace Williams and her family.

Her late husband Jon was supported in 2015 when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

Then four years later her uncle Paul Waddell (62) died in the Hospice from the same illness.

Grace is raising funds for the charity through a Born Survivor event at Capesthorne Hall on Saturday, April 27.

Grace and her late husband Jon both received support from East Cheshire Hospice.

Grace said: “We thought we had our whole lives ahead of us, with a one-year-old daughter Alana. But Jon was gone three months after diagnosis, aged 30. I was 27.

“When we first walked into the Hospice it was like getting a big hug. Everything from emotional support to physical equipment Jon so desperately needed was given to us once we arrived.

“I was stressed and not eating or sleeping. The Hospice provided respite and a safe place for us, including having meals together. I didn’t want to leave Jon as I knew I didn’t have long left with him.

“They introduced us to patients, carers and nurses who made him feel he wasn’t alone. That shared experience was so powerful.

“Rooms were like home from home. It didn’t smell clinical and wasn’t formal.

Grace’s uncle and auntie, Paul and Lindsay Wadde

“Jon felt comfortable there and received complementary therapies. I had counselling with Fay Mitchell and don’t think I’d be here without her.

“Fay helped me process the trauma of what had been going on.”

Grace was still receiving counselling when her uncle was admitted.

Grace, a graphic designer, said: “Incredibly, our family, including my auntie Lindsay, found ourselves back in the world of the Hospice. Paul passed away surrounded by the same amazing people who’d looked after Jon.

“I was there a lot with my uncle and everyone still remembered me. I could even see Paul’s room from Fay’s window.

“Staff kept us well informed and gave us plenty of hugs. They did everything. It sounds stupid but they would appear next to you with a brew.

“It was like they had a sixth sense of what will help. Working at the Hospice is definitely a calling in life.

“If I could afford to quit my job, I’d be there like a shot to volunteer. I feel I’ve got so much to give back to them which is why I’m doing this challenge.”

*To sponsor Grace visit https://shorturl.at/depqN

To enter Born Survivor visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/born-survivor/

Gary Henshaw’s Tombola stall in Macclesfield makes over £10,000 for Hospice

He’s known as the Tombola Man and is a familiar face among stallholders and shoppers at Macclesfield market.

Gary Henshaw has been raising funds for East Cheshire Hospice for almost two years with his game of lucky dip.

Unfortunately, the retired businessman was forced to shelve his tombola stall due to health issues.

But he plans to return in the spring, adding to the £10,045 he has already raised for the Hospice.

Gary Henshaw who has raised more than £10,000 for East Cheshire Hospice from his tombola stall.

It costs £1 to enter the draw with a prize won on every spin of his tombola drum.

Winners take home prizes including jewellery, watches, make-up, pens, wine and ornaments.

Gary said: “It’s a bit of fun for a wonderful cause and every penny taken goes to the Hospice.

“We have 40 balls, half with numbers on and a star prize. Even the blank balls win a prize worth more than the £1 entry.

“Virtually all the prizes are new and have been donated. Companies give me end of line products for charity. One firm has just given me half a warehouse of stuff, including bags and pens.

“I love being out there with the public. I want to thank everyone for their support, including the market, and those who’ve donated items – I couldn’t do it without them.

“I’m always looking for more unwanted gifts to include in the tombola. I give my time for free, it’s purely voluntary.”

Gary, now 71, has been in hospital with high blood pressure after two heart attacks.

He said: “I had a stall at the last treacle market and people remembered me which is nice. It was good to be back and I’ll start a regular stall outside once the weather improves.”

Gary toured pubs and clubs with his Forge the Link trivia quiz, a game he said he dreamt up in his sleep.

He said: “That was going well until Covid hit and people stopped going to pubs. It was a way to donating money to various charities.

“The Hospice struck me as a charity that affects everyone in some way. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from; they look after everyone.

“I thought this is a worthwhile charity and decided it was the one I wanted to concentrate the tombola on.

“A friend of mine passed away last year and spent his last two weeks there.”

* To donate contact Gary on 07776 181028 or gazhenshaw@hotmail.com

Claritas Choir looking for new Musical Director

Could you take over as musical director of Claritas, the East Cheshire Hospice choir?

The search is on to find a replacement for Kath Ibbotson, who hangs up her baton after a musical coffee morning at United Reformed Church on Saturday, March 23 (10-12).

Anyone interested should email claritassecretary@gmail.com with the deadline for applications at the end of this month.

Committee member Marian Mackay said: “We’re looking for an enthusiastic and imaginative MD able to balance fun and professionalism to take the choir forward and continue Kath’s good work.

Kath Ibbotson who is preparing for her final concert.

“If you have a love of music, time to devote to the choir and a wish to support the work of Hospice we’d love to hear from you.

“It’s a specialist role. Not only does the MD have to be a musician, but they also need leadership skills, personality and a well-developed sense of humour.

“Claritas welcomes singers of mixed abilities with the aim of having fun and raising money. The choir has an accompanist and the new MD will need to conduct rehearsals and performances without the accompanist occasionally.”

A fee can be paid for weekly rehearsals and concerts.  The post starts in April.

Claritas choir which is looking for a new musical director.

Rehearsals are at the Silklife Centre on Monday evenings during term time, though this is flexible.

The choir (www.claritaschoir.com) has around 45 members and organises three big fundraising concerts a year, with two at Christmas. The group also sing at other community events. New members should contact the same email address.

Luke Hughes, the newest addition to the Hospice’s fundraising team

March through March is the latest fundraising challenge announced by East Cheshire Hospice.

One of the organisers is Luke Hughes, the newest addition to the Hospice’s fundraising team.

The new initiative dares supporters to cover 300,000 steps next month while raising a minimum of £50 in the process.

Luke, a community and events assistant for three months, said: “March through March is for everyone, whether you’re a regular walker or just starting out.

“It’s your challenge and you can walk or run on your own, or team up with family and friends.

“Supporters can do it in their own time at their own pace and every step counts towards raising funds to care for patients with life-limiting illnesses.”

Luke Hughes who has joined the fundraising team at East Cheshire Hospice.

It is one of several campaigns Luke and colleagues in the fundraising team have lined up for the year.

He said: “We’ve a jam-packed programme of events. I’ve been at the Hospice for three months and love the fact it’s such a busy and varied role.

“That’s what I was looking for after completing my degree at the University of Leeds last year. I’m really happy here and have already seen that we serve such a close community.

“I helped with the Christmas tree collection and couldn’t believe the numbers of volunteers who came together to support the Hospice cause.”

Luke is co-ordinating a group of Hospice fundraisers taking part in a Born Survivor event at Capesthorne Hall on Saturday, April 27.

The Open Gardens event, in which supporters invite the public to their home, is another project he is closely involved in. A bungee jump and a 5k run with inflatables are also planned with details announced soon.

Luke Hughes who has joined the fundraising team at East Cheshire Hospice.

Luke is studying an events management diploma to increase his knowledge of the industry.

He said: “I worked in retail while I figured out what I wanted to do and discovered I had a passion for events and fundraising. The community side of it is new to me, but I love it and the job ticks all the boxes.

“I love the variety of the events industry and am excited by all the activities planned we’re planning at the Hospice.”

* To sign up for March through March visit the Hospice website.

The Hospice lottery approaches 30th anniversary

The East Cheshire Hospice lottery is still going as strong as ever as it approaches its 30th anniversary.

More than 6,500 tickets are sold each week for scheme which has raised around £5m since it began in 1995.

Tickets still cost just £1 a week with a random lucky winner receiving a surprise phone call every Tuesday morning to break the news they have won the £1,000 jackpot.

There are also 22 other cash prizes, including a second prize of £200 which is currently rolled over at £1,400.

Lottery income covers the cost of running the Sunflower Centre one day a week.

Hospice staff (from left) Celia Stanley, Louise Ball and Amy Williams with scratch cards.

Lottery manager Carol Frain said: “Our lottery gets amazing support and has done ever since it started. We get some really nice reactions from winners.

“The scheme is such an important fundraiser for the Hospice and we’d like to thank everyone for their wonderful support.

“Many of our supporters have been playing our lottery since the beginning and I suppose it’s an easy and inexpensive way to support the Hospice on a regular basis.

“We’re always on the lookout for new players who can enter via our website.”

Visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/support/lottery/. Most players pay by direct debit at £4.34 monthly.

Scratch cards are also a steady source of income for the charity. Cards are £1 and can win up to £200.

Carol said: “The scratch cards have been a welcome addition to our portfolio and are popular at Christmas and as wedding favours.”

Get to know our Memory Tree Sculptor

Making trees is a growing business for talented sculptor Christopher Townsend.

His artwork is proudly on display in the gardens at East Cheshire Hospice and around the country.

The Hospice commissioned him to make a metal Memory Tree as a focal point for families and friends to remember lost loved ones.

It is proving popular, with dozens of supporters buying leaves dedicated to someone special since the tree was unveiled in October.

Another 25 subscribers are now having leaves installed.

Christopher said: “I’ve made all different kinds of sculptures over the years, but the tree appears to be the thing that has really taken off, in particular memorial trees.

Sculptor Christopher Townsend who made the East Cheshire Hospice tree.

“I’ve delivered and installed trees to charities, hospitals, crematoriums, schools and other organisations.

“I’m pleased that the East Cheshire Hospice memorial is attracting so much interest. The design is based on a theme, but it’s a one-off because of its large size.

“It took a long time to make and all the branches were hand-bent cold and then assembled and welded together.

“I’m not a blacksmith, I’m an artist using metal as a medium. The ends of each branch had to be beaten and then drilled. There are between 400 and 500 branch ends and each required physical effort, rather than using a machine or heat treatment.

“No wonder my limbs are almost falling off at the age of 50 as I’ve been doing it for 15 years!”

The Memory Tree is in a discreet peaceful setting and easily accessible without entering the Hospice building.

The Hospice is hoping more supporters will join the scheme. A subscription is £10 a month, or £120 a year.

Hospice Family and Friends Fundraising Co-ordinator Amy Williams with the Memory Tree.

A total of 400 leaves are available with the name of a loved one engraved along with a message if desired. The tree was gifted by AstraZeneca employees.

Christopher, based in Oxfordshire, said: “Whenever I deliver a tree, people usually send me pictures six months, or a year down the line, telling me how many leaves are on it and how it’s been received.

“Sculpting started as a hobby, but it’s now my work and with a family, mortgage and responsibilities it has to be commercially viable.”

* To sign up to the Memory Tree visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/memory-tree.

For queries, contact amy.williams@echospice.org.uk or call 01625 665688. To visit Christopher’s website go to www.lovethetree.com.

Sign up now to get the best discount for the popular Starlight Walk

Sign up now to get the best discount for the popular Starlight Walk at Capesthorne Hall on Thursday, April 18.

The cheapest ‘super early bird’ tickets priced £17.50 for adults and £12.50 for under 16s are available until February 18.

The price changes the following day to £20 and £15 respectively for the ‘early bird’ offer before the standard entry of £22.50 and £17.50 applies from March 19.

Almost 400 supporters took part last year and another bumper turn out is expected this time with walkers covering a 2.5k loop through beautiful woodland multiple times if they wish.

Starlight Walk Pic 1 – Walkers prepare to set off at last year’s Starlight Walk.

The walk, organised by East Cheshire Hospice, is an emotional journey for many, giving them a chance to remember lost loved ones.

The dusk walk will have lighting, lanterns, fire pits, points of reflection and other features to enjoy along the way.

Walkers are encouraged to raise funds for the Hospice to help fund the care of patients.

Starlight Walk Pic 2 – En route through the woods at Capesthorne Hall.

There will be live entertainment with food and drink stalls.

Community and Events Fundraiser Claire Gorton said: “The whole family is welcome to this moving and uplifting evening of remembrance.

Starlight Walk Pic 3 – A floodlit route awaits Starlight Walk entrants. 

“Our annual memory walk is an opportunity to come together and remember loved ones in a really special way.”

Well-behaved dogs are welcome and there will be no fireworks. The walking route is not accessible for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

* To register visit the Hospice website.