May 2024 - East Cheshire Hospice

The Shoemaker of Havana at MADS theatre this July

An award-winning Australian theatre company is returning to Macclesfield after a successful appearance a year ago.

Nuworks will be performing The Shoemaker of Havana at MADS Theatre on Tuesday, July 2 (7.30 pm).

The one-off date is in aid of East Cheshire Hospice which received a donation of £800 from their last performance.

The Pirate Code at MADS Theatre last summer.

The group is hosted by Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society which rolled out the welcome mat last summer when the Australian actors performed The Pirate Code.

It was one of several trips to the UK undertaken by the cast of Nuworks who pay their own way on overseas trips.

The next production tells the story of elderly Alvaro Garcia, shoemaker for Cuban revolutionaries Fidel Castro, his brother Raul and Che Guevara.

The Shoemaker of Havana which is coming to Macclesfield.

Other characters are John and Robert Kennedy, Barbara Walters and Nikita Khrushchev.

Nuworks are a not-for-profit group who write, devise and compose their own music.

Their next UK tour includes a performance at the Buxton Fringe.

MADS management member John Chandler said: “We’re delighted to welcome back our Australian friends. They were a big hit last year and this year’s production will be just as popular and entertaining.

John Chandler from MADS Theatre. 

“I met them during a family trip to Melbourne and that led to them visiting Macclesfield. They must have enjoyed themselves because they’re keen to come back.

“MADS offers an authentic theatre experience and we’re thrilled that proceeds will once again be donated to East Cheshire Hospice, a charity we’ve supported many times.”

David Dunn, founder and artistic director of Nuworks, said: “We had a great time in Macclesfield. We establish relations with like-minded people, such as MADS, on the basis of having an adventure, meeting new friends and fundraising for charity.

“The audience in Macclesfield gave us a typically warm northern welcome and I’m sure they’ll enjoy our latest production which has been well received, including the Adelaide Fringe, the second largest in the world.”

* The show is suitable for aged 12 and over. Tickets priced £15 are available from

Craft-Collective Market

Kind-hearted Jennie Jones has spent her life helping others.

So when illness forced her to give up her job as a carer, she turned to her creative skills to support the community.

She now has a stall inside her market at Townley Hall which she runs jointly with business partner David Barnett.

Jennie Jones (centre) with hamper winners Charles and Patricia.

Almost 20 traders have stalls at Craft-Collective Market, held from 10.30 am until 3.30 pm on the first Saturday of each month.

Its chosen charity East Cheshire Hospice receives proceeds from a monthly raffle for a luxury hamper made up of goodies donated by traders.

Jennie worked in mental health and autism for many years until five major abdominal operations led to a change of career.

She said: “Once I realised I could no longer be a carer, I decided to do something else to benefit the community.

“While recovering from surgery, I started using my craft skills to give something back.

“The market has gone extremely well since we opened in April and I’m sure there’ll be more Hospice donations when customers come through the door on Saturday (June 1).

“The Hospice is a lifeline when people are going through such a dark time. The charity is an important cause for traders and it’s nice that our craft family has such a diversity of talent.

“We’re combining creativity, community and craftsmanship.”

Could you be the new Chair of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice?

The Board of Trustees who oversee the running of East Cheshire Hospice are looking for a new Chair.

The successful candidate will replace Will Spinks who must step down in September 2025 after reaching the maximum of nine years as a Trustee.

The Hospice wants to identify Will’s successor by this September, giving the chair elect a year to shadow him before formally taking over.

Will Spinks, Chair of the Board of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice.

Will, from Bollington, said: “The Hospice is a fantastic organisation. It’s been an absolute privilege working with an excellent executive team and a strong trustee board.

“My successor must have an interest in what the Hospice does though doesn’t necessarily need personal experience of it. They need to have a sense of the Hospice’s purpose and mission.

“The Hospice is in an interesting position. We not only run existing services but we also need to innovate, bringing forward new services. That’s really been the feature of my time as Chair.

“In 2020, we made Hospice @Home a 365 days a year 24/7 service, right at the beginning of the pandemic. Hospice @Home has since been expanded substantially as has our Dementia Carers Wellbeing programme.

“During Covid, we built an extra wing to house Hospice @Home and we’ve just reopened the refurbished Sunflower Living Well Centre.

“The challenge for anyone coming into the Hospice is not only maintaining the services we already have but also identifying where there’s still unmet need and bringing forward new services to fill the gaps.”

The Hospice has 11 Trustee Directors. The Chair’s role includes ensuring the Board is working effectively, acting as manager and mentor to the CEO and as an ambassador for the Hospice.

Will said: “The appointment is an open process. If an existing trustee wishes to come forward, they’re free to do so but it’s open to externals as well and we’ll pick the best candidate.”

The new Chair must understand the legal duties and responsibilities of chairing a significant local charity. They also require significant experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level within an organisation, experience of charity governance and working with a Board of Trustees.

The closing date for applications is June 7. To apply visit

For more details contact Claire Duncan, email

Will took over as Chair in 2018 after retiring as Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester. He was with AstraZeneca for 28 years.

Have you got any spare room to store items used to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice?

Have you got any spare room to store items used to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice?

Fundraiser Gary Henshaw is looking for somewhere to accommodate goods he either sells at his market stall or uses for his tombola stall.

All proceeds go to the Hospice which has received donations of around £12,000 since Gary started his fundraising two years ago.

The retired businessman said: “I’m desperate for an empty garage or a room with easy access once a week to store gifts in.

“I’m also looking for more unwanted gifts I can use for my tombola stall or sell on my stall. Every penny goes to the Hospice which is such a fantastic cause.”

Every entry in the tombola wins a prize. Entry is £1, the same price as any item sold on his stall located outside St Michael’s Church at the next Treacle Market on Sunday (May 26).

Market owners Becky and husband Andy Thompson have another bumper line up of stalls, plus music at the popular market.

Stallholder Gary Henshaw (left) with Treacle Market owners Becky and Andy Thompson and Alex Williams (right). 

The couple teamed up with former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams to raise £200 for the Hospice from sales of his autobiography at the last event.

Gary said: “There’s a wonderful community spirit at the market. Football fans of all ages supporting many different teams came along to say hello to Alex.”

* If you can help Gary call him on 07776 181028 or email

Van Volunteers help on furniture rounds

More volunteers are wanted to help on the furniture rounds run by East Cheshire Hospice.

The scheme is thriving with the charity van out and about collecting and delivering items six days a week.

Furniture sales generate around £13,000 a month, a vital source of revenue for the Hospice which needs £9,362 every day to operate.

Items are collected from donors to take to Hospice shops or delivered to buyers’ homes.

Furniture van volunteers Richard Raymond (left) and John Wilkinson. 

Commercial manager Louise Delany said: “Shifts are flexible and are usually one day a week, starting at 9 am and finishing at 3 pm.

“Volunteers start with one day a week because it’s quite a hard job and physically demanding. There’s often room on the rota if people want to do more.

“Volunteers are usually retired or semi-retired and are matched with people sharing the same interests.

“No experience is required. We need drivers and a mate, who doesn’t necessarily have to drive. The pairs often swap roles.

“The schedule is organised and typically the volunteers will do six trips a day. A dolly is used for furniture.”

The Hospice is looking for good quality furniture to sell in its shops at Chestergate, Thornton Square, Poynton and Handforth.

Louise said: “The shops are doing really well and our furniture range is hugely popular.

“Our donors are extremely generous, providing us with good quality furniture to sell on to our loyal customers.”

* To find out more email or call 01625 665682

A million metres in May challenge

Cyclist Darren Smith is involved in a race against time to complete a million metres in May.

At the halfway stage he is well on course to ride 1,000 kilometres in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

His journey is dedicated to the memory of his father-in-law Brian Barker who died in March, aged 77.

Brian was a long-standing volunteer for the Hospice’s Christmas tree collection scheme, forging a close connection with the Hospice.

Brian Barker who was a volunteer for East Cheshire Hospice.

Darren, from Macclesfield, had intended cycling to Belgium as a fundraising challenge but the trip was cancelled due to Brian’s sudden death.

Darren said: “I wanted to keep my promise to raise funds and would have travelled about 1,000 kilometres by going to Belgium.

“Instead, I decided to ride the same distance – a million metres – throughout May. That means I’m cycling between 30 to 40 kilometres most days, with longer rides at weekends.”

Work commitments have complicated the challenge for Darren, a director of Manuka Money, a Gawsworth-based mortgage broker.

He said: “I set up the brokerage two years ago. Having worked for big corporates, I was acutely aware of how people can get lost in the process so we provide a more personalised concierge service.

“Our company is getting behind my bike ride to let everyone know about the Hospice’s wonderful work. I’m trying to turn a negative into a positive and make it a fitting tribute to Brian and all those who receive care there.”

Darren is visiting as many of the communities served by the Hospice, supported by wife Sammy, son Sebastian (14) and daughter Abigail (10).

An issue is a family holiday in the Lake District in the last week of May. He said: I may be sweating over the hills there if I don’t get enough metres covered by then.

Darren Smith (far right) with (from left) business partner Carl Atkinson, Hospice fundraiser Luke Oldham and Manuka Money’s head of marketing Alison Barber. 

“At 6ft 2in, I’m built more for rugby than cycling. I only got into the sport by going on a friend’s 50th birthday weekend and we ended up cycling in the Alps between Italy and Slovenia. I just enjoy the outdoors”.

“Brian was always amazed by how little revenue the Hospice gets from the government. The charity relies heavily on donations and charity events like mine.”

* To sponsor Darren visit

Harry Newton takes on Great Manchester Run 2024

Running machine Harry Newton is raring to go for his next big challenge later this month.

The 86-year-old grandad has entered the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run on Sunday, May 26.

Harry Newton who has raised more than £50,000 for charity from running.

Harry will skip the 10k event, preferring to tackle an alternative half marathon which might seem like a stroll after another stirring performance in last month’s London marathon.

The Macclesfield Harrier raised £1,700 for East Cheshire Hospice from his endeavours, bringing his total raised for various charities over the years to well over £50,000.

Harry said: “Running keeps me fit and I’ll keep going as long as my body allows me. The Hospice does wonderful work for the community and the prospect of raising money is a big motivator when the going gets tough near the end of a race.”

Harry was thought to be the fastest over 85 in the London marathon, his time of six hours 19 minutes earning him seventh place in the over 80 category.

The retired grocer is already eyeing up next year’s London race, though tempting wife Phyllis to run is a non-starter.

Harry said: “Phyllis is my No 1 fan and is always there cheering me on from the sidelines with family and friends. She’s not a runner, though, and prefers to be among the crowd.”

Harry has now completed 29 marathons, an incredible achievement considering his first was at the age of 57. His favourite has been the London marathon which he has completed 21 times.

A summer concert dedicated to the memory of music lover David West

A summer concert dedicated to the memory of music lover David West will have special significance.

The lunchtime performance will be held at St Michael’s Church in Macclesfield where David and wife Linda often attended recitals.

The event – themed ‘Notes of Joy and Memories’ – is on Friday, June 28, at 1.15 pm with free admission.

David, from Bollington, died from cancer in November, aged 76.

Linda said: “David was looked after with tremendous love and care by the Hospice’s Hospice @Home team in his last days.

“He would have liked to have shown his thanks to them in a practical way.

Music lover David West whose memory will be honoured at St Michael’s Church.

“We enjoyed attending the recitals at St Mike’s and appreciated the lovely music and tremendous talent of the various performers.”

One of those groups was a musical family whose amazing talents David greatly admired.

Pianist Martyn Parkes, wife Hrafnhildur Björnsdótttir who is a soprano, and son Oliver, who plays saxophone, are returning to a familiar venue.

The family live in Macclesfield and Martyn, a teacher at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, has performed at the church several times.

His Icelandic wife ‘Habba’ was a member of the English National Opera singing all over the world with leading opera companies. Oliver (17) was a pupil at Tytherington School before gaining a place at Chetham’s in 2021.

Visitors will be invited to make a donation following the performance. Linda said: “I thought it was a nice idea to hold a concert in David’s memory with donations going exclusively to East Cheshire Hospice.

“We look forward to a special performance from this amazingly gifted family group. It’s so kind of Martyn, Habba and Oliver to help raise funds for the Hospice and there’ll be a mix of songs with something for everyone.

“David contributed to civic life in Bollington by working on the Neighbourhood plan and was a long-time supporter of Bollington Arts Centre, the Bridgend Centre and Bollington Chamber Group.”

The couple met Martyn at a recital about 10 years ago. Since then, Martyn has helped Linda’s godson Matthew Allen, himself a talented flautist, by providing encouragement and accompaniment.

Donations are normally shared between St Michael’s and the Hospice but the church has agreed that all donations for this event will go to the Hospice.

Steve Nixon enjoys going for a relaxing run

Steve Nixon enjoys going for a relaxing run – whether driving his veteran car or wearing running shoes.

He will need to go the extra mile when he attempts to run the length of Hadrian’s Wall in aid of East Cheshire Hospice in June.

The gruelling 70-mile adventure will be the toughest challenge yet for Steve who warmed up last weekend by competing in the Madrid marathon.

Steve after completing the London Marathon in 2013.

Steve and wife Beverley often enjoy driving through Macclesfield in their dark green 1913 Model T F0rd. The collector’s item also appears at Macclesfield parkrun and veteran car rallies.

As does their 1903 Darracq which has been used by the Tytherington couple for the London to Brighton Run.

However, the two motoring masterpieces will stay in the garage when Steve undertakes his epic run from Carlisle Castle to Newcastle.

Instead, Beverley will drive their Ford Fiesta as support vehicle, aiming to call at five pit stops along the way.

A classic look … Steve and Beverley in costume with their Model T Ford. 

Steve said: “I’ll need some moral support, plus new socks no doubt! The route is a mixture of roads, paths and cross-country.

“It starts at 7 am with a 26-hour limit and I aim to complete the course in under 18 hours, hopefully with a westerly wind to push me along.”

Steve, a semi-retired business executive, has run marathons in 10 different locations, including Paris and Athens. The Lisbon race is on his schedule for October, while his first was in London in 2013.

He said: “I’ve had a few relatives and friends pass through the Hospice which is why my Hadrian’s Wall run is for them.

“They’re a local charity and gave me my first entry to the London marathon so I’ve always felt a certain allegiance to the Hospice.

The Nixons at Hyde Park Corner in their 1903 Darracq for the London to Brighton run.

“A lot of those supporting me also have some connection to the Hospice.

“The furthest I’ve run before is 35 miles over the hilly Gritstone Trail. The Wall, as it is known, is twice as far with a total climb of almost 4,000 feet.

“I wanted to do something big for my next challenge. Like any marathon, it’ll be more mental than physical. Keeping moving and staying focused will be hard work.

“Unlike the city marathons the 1,500 runners will be spread out so I may run many miles on my own before reaching the next pit stop.”

* To sponsor Steve visit

Installing advanced technology at the new Sunflower Living Well Centre

Installing advanced technology at the new Sunflower Living Well Centre was a dream job for the IT team at East Cheshire Hospice.

Head of IT Conor Stubbs and technician Paul Jones were delighted to be asked to incorporate a smart system into designs.

Visitors to the £1.3m complex can see the results of their endeavours with the latest equipment making sessions a far better experience for patients and staff.

Everything is at the touch of a button with presentations beamed on to a giant wall.

IT experts Conor Stubbs (left) and Paul Jones in front of the one of projections at the Sunflower Living Well Centre.

A corridor leads to individual rooms meaning the central area is no longer a thoroughfare as before.

Conor said: “Patients and staff will hopefully enjoy the benefits of the smart technology. It’s been an exciting project to work on.

“The existing building was essentially reworked with the old framework of the main area taken out to raise the roof. Cabling was reset for IT requirements.

“Lights are smart controlled which means they can choose different pre-sets for relaxation scenes. Lights will dim, blinds close and the projectors and sound are controlled by iPad.”

The new centre opened to patients last month after healthcare professionals attended open days.

Paul said: “The colours are dementia friendly putting patients at ease. Staff love it and projectors, lights and sound create scenes to help patients relax.

“Every patient has different capacities and needs and this facility benefits them all.”

The aim is to widen access to community groups, including non-Hospice users, with evening and weekend sessions offering more flexibility.