March 2024 - East Cheshire Hospice

Cloud to Ground support East Cheshire Hospice

Lightning protection specialists Cloud to Ground have always been struck by the care given by East Cheshire Hospice.

So it was an easy decision to donate their £1,000 profit from installation work on the Hospice’s refurbished Sunflower Living Well Centre.

Director Damien Bethell also has a personal reason for supporting the Hospice.

Damien Bethell, director of Cloud to Ground.

A family friend received end-of-life care from the Hospice after she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Damien said: “It was a pretty dark time, if I’m honest, for her family, but the Hospice were fantastic. They support so many families going through the worst time in their lives.

“It’s nice to be support the Hospice and we’ll continue that help, whether it’s through annual compliance testing, or any future work.

“We’re only a small business and rely on having that work to make donations like this.”

Damien has been involved in the lightning protection industry for more than 20 years.

He said: “I was born and raised in Macclesfield where our business, which is relatively new, is based.

“A lightning protection system is very much like a fire alarm – you don’t use it every day but you’re glad you’ve got it when you need it.

“Lightning protection has been around a long time, but until recently wasn’t taken very seriously. Since 2019, most commercial buildings have needed it as part of risk assessment within health and safety regulations.”

Cloud to Ground are co-sponsors of a bikeathon organised by the charity Just Drop-In on Saturday, May 11.

Barry Oldfield sets a new personal goal for this years Starlight Walk

Completing next month’s Starlight Walk will be an achievement in itself for grandfather Barry Oldfield.

Ill health will force him to take things easy as he strolls round woodland at Capesthorne Hall on Thursday, April 18.

It will be an emotional journey for Barry as he honours the memory of wife June who died of cancer in January 2021, aged 58.

Barry and June Oldfield on their wedding day in 1980.

He won’t be lacking support, though. Sons Barry, Paul and Andrew are joining him for the popular walk organised by East Cheshire Hospice.

Hundreds of other walkers will take part, many also remembering lost loved ones.

Barry, from Macclesfield, said: “I’m not very well, but I thought I’d give it another go after doing the walk with Barry and Paul last year.

“Andrew is also coming along this time to help. My health is getting worse and I have difficulty breathing due to COPD, osteoarthritis in my knees and neuropathy in my hands and feet.

Happier times … June and Barry on holiday.

“Last year we managed two laps, though it took us a long time to get round. My aim this time to get round the 2.5k course once.

“In a way, it’d be an achievement to do that.

“The atmosphere at the event is superb and that helps me. I’ll be thinking of June and the nurses who did such a fantastic job caring for her.”

June died within months of diagnosis and overcame Covid during a hospital stay. Once home, she was looked after by the East Cheshire Hospice @ Home palliative care team.

June was a long-time care team leader at Ingersley Court, Bollington,

Barry said: “The nurses were brilliant as were all her carers. The Hospice nurses looked after me as well. After June died, they still came to see me to make sure I was alright.”

Barry was an army veteran for 34 years, retiring in 2012 to drive a refuse lorry for Cheshire East Council.

The Hospice is still inviting entries for the walk. Gates open at 6 pm with the walk from 7 pm.

Barry Oldfield with Hospice fundraiser Amy Williams.

Participants can walk the route as often as they wish. Lighting, lanterns, fire pits, points of reflection and other features to enjoy along the way.

Entry is £22.50 and £17.50 for under 16s. To enter visit the Hospice website.

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

There will be live entertainment with food and drink stalls.

Hospice team take on Born Survivor!

Bereavement counsellor Helen Wilkinson will not take no for an answer recruiting volunteers for a Born Survivor challenge.

She has already persuaded several colleagues from East Cheshire Hospice to join her tackling a 10k assault course at Capesthorne Hall on Saturday, April 27.

Helen said: “I’m still trying to rope people in. A lot of people seem to be busy that weekend and everyone is welcome to join us.”

* To enter visit

Volunteers include Liam Lawton from accounts, wife Claire and his sister Hannah. They are taking part in memory of Liam’s grandmother Glenise who died in the Hospice last June.

The Hospice team in the Born Survivor event. From left, Luke Hughes, Hannah Bentham, Liam Lawton, Laura Lamptey, Helen Wilkinson, Debbie Kassas and Sue Milligan.

Glenise would have been 80 on the day of the event, making it an event more poignant occasion for the family.

Other members of the Hospice team are People and Development Lead Laura Lamptey and HR advisor Hannah Bentham.

Hospice @Home sister Sue Milligan and Dementia Lead/Specialist Nurse Debbie Kassas are also competing, along with fundraiser Luke Oldham and long-serving volunteer Janet Dean who helps out mainly on reception.

Helen said: “It’s a privilege to work at the Hospice as a therapist providing counselling to family and friends before and after their loved one has died.

“Working with people at their very core. This challenge is for you, your loved ones and our amazing team who I’m lucky to work with.”

* To sponsor Helen visit

Andrew Smith Funeral Services are the latest to sign up for the Starlight Walk

A team from Andrew Smith Funeral Services are the latest to sign up for the Starlight Walk at Capesthorne Hall on Thursday, April 18.

They could have one of the biggest representations at the East Cheshire Hospice event with around 16 walkers.

Funeral director Richard Morrey said: “Some members of our team, their partners, friends and even a few of our dogs are taking part.”

Richard raised funds for the charity at the Fire and Ice Walk last year in memory of his late father Eric, a patient of the Hospice in 2017.

Labradoodle Ted, aged eight, will join his owner Andrew Smith for the Starlight Walk.

Richard said: “Rather than running over broken glass and hot coals, it will be gentle exercise and a leisurely stroll this time.”

Owner Andrew Smith said: “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with East Cheshire Hospice and are pleased to help support them where we can.

“We’re all looking forward to taking part in the Starlight Walk this year. It’s the first time we’ve taken part and it should be a great team event.”

Starlight walkers from Andrew Smith Funeral Services. From left, Julie Kidd, Richard Morrey, Samantha Bridges, Andrew Smith, Julie Arrowsmith, Simon Goodwin and Angela Owen.

The company is part of the Hospice’s 500 Club.

Early bird entry to the Starlight Walk is £20 for adults and £15 for under 16s, with the standard entry of £22.50 and £17.50 applying from March 19.

Walkers cover a 2.5 Kilometre loop through the woodland as often as they wish.  For many it is a chance to remember lost loved ones.

Gates open at 6 pm with live entertainment and refreshments. The walk is from 7 pm.

* To enter visit

A focus on Kath Ibbotsons time as Musical Director of Claritas

It is time for Kath Ibbotson to finally hand over the baton after more than half a century teaching music.

She retires as Musical Director of Claritas, the East Cheshire Hospice Choir, with a musical coffee morning at the United Reformed Church on Saturday, March 23 (10-12).

Kath leaves after 12 memorable years volunteering with the choir which has raised more than £58,000 for the Hospice.

She said: “I’m ready to retire. In many ways I’m quite sad, but it was the right time for someone else to take over and continue the good work.”

The community choir are conducting interviews for her successor.

She said: “I’ve been teaching one way or another since I was 16. The choir raises money for a fantastic cause, but the role of Musical Director can be quite tying.

“I always need to be in Macclesfield on Mondays for rehearsals and there’s plenty of preparation.

“The choir can’t make progress unless the MD is available, so the buck stops with me. However, there is a full committee doing lots of other vital jobs.

“I want to thank Hilary Balsdon our accompanist, choir members and the public who’ve attended concerts for their support.

Kath Ibbotson, who has decided to retire as Musical Director of Claritas, the East Cheshire Hospice Choir.

“I’ll enjoy the freedom to travel, pursue other interests, and be more available for my family.”

Kath taught at Fallibroome Academy for 21 years before retiring in 2010, though she was involved for another six years.

After moving to Macclesfield in 1975, she taught music at Tytherington and Wilmslow High Schools.

Between 1983 and 2012, Kath became accompanist then a MD with Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group.

Her Claritas highlights include the 2014 Fallibroome concert; the 2016 10th anniversary concert and two recent Christmas concerts at the United Reformed Church, all raising large sums.

Kath said: “Sponsorship and donations offset costs so everything we raise goes to the Hospice. Our members have been touched by the Hospice in some way and fundraising is a way of giving back.

“We have three big fundraising concerts each year and perform at clubs, societies, nursing and residential homes.

“I also introduced Singalongs because while people like to listen, they also love to join in.”

Kath will continue to play her piano. “After teaching music for so long, I do appreciate peace and quiet. I’m looking forward to attending concerts and in 12 months’ time might even visit Claritas to see how they’re doing.”

* Visit

Get your thinking caps on for the next quiz in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

(Please note that the quiz is now sold out).

Get your thinking caps on for the next quiz in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Test your general knowledge and enjoy a laugh at the same time at Marlborough Primary School from 6.45 pm on Friday, March 22.

Co-hosts Paul Morrissey and Mark Watson will again be setting the brain teasers to find the top masterminds in Macclesfield.

Quiz hosts Paul Morrissey (left) and Mark Watson.

Paul said: “Our target is always to try to get every team to get more than 50 per cent of the questions right. If we achieve that we think we’ve done pretty well.

“Mark and I are both intimately involved in the Macclesfield quiz league, so we have quite a back catalogue of questions.

“I’ve also got quite a few quiz books and obviously it’s easy to find questions online so we try to make them accessible for people.

“The aim is for teams to have a good time, enjoy themselves and raise money for the Hospice.

“The questions are mostly general knowledge and we don’t tend to go for specialists rounds.”

The quizzes are a long-standing tradition, raising more than £60,000 for the Hospice, including £10,500 from virtual quizzes during Covid.

Paul said: “I’ve been involved for more than 20 years. We used to hold them on a Friday night in a marquee set up in the field behind the Hospice for the summer fete.”

Past quiz host Dave Robinson helps with music rounds, with Alison Brammer another long-standing organiser.

Nik Kalka runs the bar and helps with technology, while community fundraiser Carley Macey co-ordinates for the Hospice. Neil Drummond runs the stand-up bingo.

Paul is a vice president of the Hospice where he was a trustee for seven years. He worked for AstraZeneca for more than 30 years before retiring.

He is a member of the Nags Head B quiz team with Mark who runs Macclesfield Quiz League. Mark, a retired Police Inspector, co-ordinates the Cheshire Crimebeat charity and was awarded the MBE for services to community policing.

Paul said: “We’d encourage people to sign up as soon as possible. Teams are usually a minimum of four, though we aim for eight. If two people want to form their own team that’s fine, though we give them the option of joining another team.”

The quiz support group host three quizzes each year.

* Entry is £10 per head and to sign up visit

A huge success of this last year’s Santa Dash

Christmas may be a distant memory but fundraisers at East Cheshire Hospice are already gearing up for the next festive season.

The Hospice hopes thousands of youngsters will take part in Reindeer Rush, emulating the success of last year’s Santa Dash.

That raised a whopping £59,209, one of the biggest amounts in the event’s history.

Mark Whitwood (third from left) from Active Sport with Hospice staff.

Some 39 schools and other organisations took part in what has become the Hospice’s biggest mass participation event of the calendar.

Community and Events fundraiser Sarah Elvin said: “We can’t quite believe how much we’ve raised – it’s a crazy amount.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response from schools and groups who responded to the challenge of raising funds for patients, carers and their families.

“We had participants from across Cheshire and we’re so grateful for such amazing support. It is a giant community effort showing enormous love for the Hospice and what we do.”

Groups carried out various activities, including walking, running, swimming, dancing and a nature trail in one case. The event was sponsored by Active Sport for the second year running.

Sarah said: “We leave it up to the groups. It’s whatever works best for them. They can make it as flexible and inclusive as possible.

“There’s a different theme each year and next time it’s a Reindeer Rush. We’ll be inviting everyone to get involved again. We had an Elf Run a couple of years ago.”