Challenge Series Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Sahara Trek Postponed

East Cheshire Hospice has been forced to postpone its Saharan trek again because of Covid-19. On-going uncertainty over international travel restrictions left organisers with no option but to delay the adventure until November 2022.

It was initially put back until this coming winter but a decision has been made to delay until Nov 12-19 next year. Places are still available for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which involves scaling Moroccan sand dunes and camping under the stars. A four-day 50 kilometre trek ends with a two-day stop in Marrakech to assist with a community project.

The trip costs £1,320, including a £325 registration fee payable at the time of booking to secure a place. Participants will then be required to fundraise a minimum of £1,990 for the Hospice. Support and fundraising ideas will be provided by staff to help meet the target. Contact Bethan Wade on 01625 665691 or email to find out more.

Challenge Co-ordinator Bethan said: “We’re sorry to have to delay the trek again, but I’m sure it’ll be a fabulous experience when it does finally take place. “The travel team will ensure all safety measures are put in place and we can offer ideas and inspiration on fundraising.”

Contact Bethan Wade on 01625 665691 or email to find out more.

Trekkers include accounts assistant Rob Gorton who has been undertaking a series of fundraising challenges in aid of the charity this year.

Rob Gorton who is taking part in a Saharan trek in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.



Heather Broadbent Update

Sailor Heather Broadbent is refusing to give up on her round-the-world voyage despite a two-year gap at home.

She was midway through the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race before it was suspended early last year because of Covid-19.

The event is due to resume in the Philippines next February, although Heather admits she had serious misgivings about completing the race and thought long and hard about going back.

She hopes to raise £40,000 for East Cheshire Hospice where her late husband Adam (45) was a patient.

Heather said: “After a difficult year of low and lonely times,  I’ve really struggled with my mental health and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to continue with my round-the-world challenge for the Hospice.

“Only in the last few weeks with the support and encouragement of my family have I realised that I’m still strong and capable and I can finish what I started over three years ago when I first signed up for the 40,000 mile race and a £40,000 challenge.”

Heather, a landscape gardener, will possibly enter the record books for competing in the longest round-the-world race in history.

An event that should have taken 11 months saw some competitors drop out because of the lengthy delay. It is now due to finish almost three years after its start date in September 2019.

Heather, from Disley, said: “It was a difficult decision to consider going back.  During the first lockdown, I only thought I’d be home for two or three months and that was my mind set.

“I was still in the zone then but being stuck at home has been tough mentally and it’s been hard getting my head back into gear thinking about resuming.

“However, I’d kick myself if I didn’t try to finish it. It’s not in my nature not to complete something.”

Heather is meeting other crew members in London this month before attending a refresher course. Her team yacht GoToBermuda has been stuck in Asia since she left.

Heather said: “The plan was to circumnavigate the globe in one go and the long break in the middle is a huge disappointment. I’m nervous I’ve forgotten what to do.”

Heather has already raised more than £29,000 for the Hospice’s Hospice @Home service. “I’ve been stuck around that mark for a while but I’m determined to meet my target.”

* To sponsor Heather visit

Heather Broadbent on her voyage.


Gritstone Trail Challenge is Especially Poignant for Mike and Sam

Relief at ending a gruelling charity walk turned to sadness for fitness enthusiasts Mike Mason and Sam Maguire.

The day after the pair had completed the 35-mile Gritstone Trail they learned that Faith Mitchell, wife of their close friend Ash, had died of cancer sarcoma, aged 33.

Faith was a patient at East Cheshire Hospice and was the inspiration behind their challenge which has already raised more than £2,500 for the Hospice.

Mike is head coach at Silk Fitness Therapy which is part of the Hospice’s 500 Club in which members pledge to raise £500 a year for three years.

Mike said: “We heard the tragic news about Faith on the afternoon following our walk which became quite poignant in the end.

“Faith’s illness was diagnosed three years ago and she fought until the end. She’ll be missed terribly and was well looked after by the Hospice.”

Silk gym owners Fabio and Kate Mazzieri and nutritionist Bex Ward joined the pair for the second half of the walk.

The hilly journey from Disley to Kidsgrove took more than 14 hours and is usually spread over three days.

Fellow gym member Carole Barough accompanied Mike and Sam for the first leg of the trip.

Mike said: “It was tough, especially as it was a hot day, but good fun. I realised early on my bag was too heavy and luckily gym members Fran Wilkie and Jo Prescott met us and took some things to lighten the load.

“Sam has done a lot of cycling and has lots of stamina, but neither of us has walked that far before and it was quite surreal near the end.

“We didn’t have much more to give, but knowing Fabio had a cool box full of cold beers in his car at the finish got us through it.

“Faith was our main motivation for the challenge, but Silk is also a proud member of the 500 Club so that was another reason to raise funds.”

* To sponsor them visit

Journey’s end….from left, Katie and Fabio Mazzieri, Sam Maguire, Mike Mason and Bex Ward after completing the Gritstone Trail.  

Wing Walk Takeoff Delayed

A Wing Walk has had to be delayed five weeks in the latest blow to East Cheshire Hospice’s fundraising plans.

Bad weather was one of the reasons the challenge was put back until Monday, July 26.

A rise in Covid infections leading to Cheshire East being made an ‘enhanced response area’  was another factor.

The event, which sees wing walkers harnessed on top of a 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane, is fully subscribed.

The postponement adds to the tension for participants, including five grandmothers, the eldest of whom Barbara Spivey (74) runs a fancy dress shop on Chestergate.


Wing Walk grannies …from left,  Pam Webster, Gill Black, Jacky Macleod and Barbara Spivey.


The effects of Covid-19 have badly affected plans by the Hospice fundraising team whose last mass participation event was a Tough Woofer dog walk in October, 2019.

That means there will be a two-year gap until the next event, a Drive-in Cinema at Capesthorne Hall, on Sunday, October 17.

A Memory Miles walk due in August has now been shelved until March 25 next year.

Events Manager Beth Candy said: “We’re pretty confident the cinema event will go ahead. It’s been such a frustrating time for our supporters and losing so many events has wrecked our fundraising plans.

“We’d appeal to anyone who can raise funds for the Hospice to please support us in whatever way they can. The last 18 months have been so tough and the sooner we’re back to normal the better.

“Any donations, large or small, will much such a huge difference to the care of our patients.”


The wing walk facing Hospice fundraisers.  

Memory Walk Postponed Again

East Cheshire Hospice has been forced to postpone its Memory Miles walk yet again because of the Covid crisis.

The new date is Friday, March 25, 2022, at Adlington Hall – almost three years after the Hospice last staged its flagship memory walk.

The August 27 event has been postponed reluctantly, amid on-going uncertainty over the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The absence of mass participation events is a major financial blow to the Hospice.

The next event is a Drive-in Cinema on Sunday, October 17, at Capesthorne Hall, where the charity’s last fundraising event, a Tough Woofer dog walk, took place two years ago.

Organisers are hoping it will be a case of fifth time lucky for the Memory Walk which was cancelled twice in 2020 (April and September) and twice in 2021 (May and August).

Events Manager Beth Candy said:  “We’re very sad to keep having to cancel these events, but when we do eventually stage our next one and all get back together again it’s going to be bigger and better and more amazing than ever before.

“The memory walk is extra special to us because it’s a celebration of lost loved ones. It’s an event we get most sponsorship from because of its very nature.”


Walkers enjoying the memory walk two years ago.


The Hospice had delayed accepting registrations until the government made its most recent announcement to put back the final easing of lockdown restrictions.

Beth said: “People would have had mixed emotions about us launching an event in the current circumstances with restrictions in place, even though we’d probably have been out of those restrictions by the time the walk came round.

“But we want to make sure there aren’t going to be any restrictions and don’t have to cap the numbers taking part. Unfortunately, there was the potential for that to be the case.

“We want to be confident we can do it and want everyone to be confident they can attend.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everyone coming together again in March and want to thank everyone for their loyalty, patience and understanding.”

The Memory Walk, formerly Light Up The Night, was to have been the climax to a Memory Miles event in which fundraisers undertake their own challenge by whatever means they wish.


The last memory walk in 2019.

Katie and Sophie Step Up

Sisters Katie and Sophie Richards used their new Fitbits to spur them on in a fundraising challenge.

The girls reached their daily target of steps to raise £290 sponsorship for East Cheshire Hospice.

Their grandad Stephen Jones died of bowel cancer at the Hospice in 1998, aged 47, while late great grandad Gordon Oldfield, also from Macclesfield, was treated there as well.

Katie (9) and Sophie (8) warmed up for their month-long challenge by walking or running 5,000 steps a day for the first week.

Their target increased to 6,000 steps a day the following week and the last two weeks they covered 7,000 steps, raising the total to 10,000 for the last day.

Mum Emma Jones said: “We got them a Fit bit each as an incentive and they wanted to do something for charity since the Hospice is part of our family.

“The care it provided when my dad and grandad passed away was amazing and we wanted the girls to take the money to the Hospice so they could see what it does.”

“They’re proud of their achievement and want to thank everyone for their sponsorship.”


Sophie (left) and Katie Richards during their step challenge.

Rachel Wild’s Mountain Marathon

Rachel Wild after completing her Lake District marathon.


The memory of her grandad inspired Rachel Wild on a gruelling marathon run across Lake District mountains.

The trainee advanced clinical practitioner has already raised £1,000 for East Cheshire Hospice where Michael Palmer, from Macclesfield, was a patient.

Michael (81) died of cancer last September after a career in television engineering which included a spell living in Vietnam.


Michael Palmer


Rachel climbed more than 6,000 feet –  equivalent to scaling Ben Nevis – as she ran almost 28 miles over nine and a half hours on the Trail Pursuit course near Lake Windermere.

She said: “I was scrambling up summits where there were obviously no paths and on a hot day it was brutal. The descents were just as horrendous and you needed to be resilient. I’m tough minded but found it very hard.

“My grandad was my best friend and we were lucky to get a place for him at the Hospice. The care and attention he received was incredible and the staff were amazing.

“It meant I could be his granddaughter and spend those last few days with him. I sat and read one of his favourite books Alice in Wonderland to him and we listened to classical music.

“He was peaceful, comfortable and pain free. I wish everyone could have that experience and know that’s not always the case.

“Grandad was the most amazing, intelligent kind and funny man who had high morals. He always believed in doing the right thing to help someone if he could and loved magical fairy stories and childhood wonder.”


Michael Palmer with his dog Archie.


Rachel, an Army reservist, found the Trail Pursuit challenge harder than a marathon she completed in stifling heat and humidity in Sierra Leone in 2015.

“The first and last few miles along the Cumbrian Way were fairly flat but the mountains, including Bowfell, the ninth highest summit in England, required a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

Rachel has already reached double her initial fundraising target of £500. She said: “I think my grandad would have been so proud of me and anyone who sponsors me is making a difference to someone’s end-of-life care.”

* To donate visit

Wing Walking Grannies

Fictional fighter pilot Biggles is back in the skies for his next heroic adventure – this time as fearless flying grannies.

Age is no barrier for the five fundraisers who will climb on top of a classic 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane for a wing walk next month.

Health and safety requirements prevent them from wearing helmets, goggles, sheepskin jackets and scarves for their aerial stunt in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

The outfits belong to Hospice volunteer Barbara Spivey who, at 74, is the oldest of the granny squadron.

She has run Spivey’s Web, a fancy dress shop on Chestergate which also sells unusual gifts, for 30 years with daughter Donna.

Donna has declined the challenge, unlike her brave mum who sported the outfits with fellow wing walkers to promote the flights.

Barbara said: “I’m an avid traveller and always fancied a wing walk. I went close to Everest base camp aged 64 and have visited places like Iran, Kazakhstan and South America. Travelling is the be all and end all for me and I’ve a friend who runs wildlife tours.”

Barbara has been a ward volunteer at the Hospice for 15 years but has been unable to help here for more than a year because of Covid restrictions.

Her late sister-in-law was cared for in a local hospice, persuading Barbara to become a volunteer.

Friend Jacky Macleod is also taking part in the wing walk at an airfield in Gloucestershire on Monday, June 21.

Jacky said: “I was a trolley dolly a long time ago and am trying not to think about being strapped to the top of a plane.”

Between them, the women have 18 grandchildren, eight of them for Hospice health care assistant Pam Webster.

Pam said: “I did a sky dive 15 years ago and it was brilliant. A wing walk has been on my ‘to do’ list and one of my grandchildren is convinced I’m going to fall. Another has said I’m mad, while my mum wonders what on earth I’m doing.”

Colleague Caroline Allen and complementary therapist Gill Black are the other grandmothers  sponsored for the challenge.

Gill said: “I like to do a challenge every year and have done a Firewalk before. I’m nervous, don’t like heights and am not too keen on flying. However, I’ll probably feel better on the outside of a plane rather than the inside.”

Four of the granny squadron. From left, Pam Webster, Gill Black, Jacky Macleod and Barbara Spivey.

Hospice Staff Prepare for Wing Walk

It did not take long to find enough brave volunteers for a wacky wing walk in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Places were soon filled by supporters looking to escape lockdown blues by enjoying the thrill of a lifetime on top of a classic 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane.

High flyers include seven female Hospice staff, all terrified by the prospect of soaring through the skies above Gloucestershire in June.

Health care assistants Joanne Helm, Jill Harding, Caroline Allen and Pam Webster will be joined by complementary therapist Gill Black, staff nurse Laura Parker and fundraiser Bethan Wade.


Top (from left): Laura Parker, Jill Harding and Joanna Helm. Bottom: Bethan Wade, Gill Black and Pam Webster. Middle:  Caroline Allen


Mum-of-three Joanne said: “I’m not very good with heights and can’t get past the third rung of a ladder when I’m decorating. But I love my job and the hospice desperately needs fund, so I’ve plucked up the courage to overcome my nerves.”

Caroline said: “I must be crackers, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to raise much-needed funds for the hospice after a really difficult year.

“I’ve worked at the Hospice for nearly four years now and every day I witness the wonderful work everyone does there.

“This last year has been especially tough with the lack of fundraising events happening,  so I thought it was time I stepped up and did my bit to help out. Plus, on a personal level, I needed something to make up for the lack of excitement in my life over lockdown!”

The Hospice has had a special place in Jill Harding’s heart since her late mum  Mary Barber was a patient there 18 years ago.

Jill held her wedding reception in the Sunflower Centre so Mary could attend before she passed away, aged 58.

Jill later became a volunteer and then joined the staff. She said: “Mum was only a patient for eight days but as a family we were blown away by the love and care she received.

“I adore my job and thank my mum every day for guiding me in this direction. I’m always looking for ways to repay the Hospice and what better way than to accept a challenge.”

Both Bethan and Laura must conquer a fear of heights for the 10-minute flight and like their colleagues will be spurred on by fundraising.

After giving inspiring talks about fundraising at memory walks, Pam is tackling her own special solo walk.


Wing Walk –  The challenge facing the wing walkers.


All their individual JustGiving pages are available via the links below:

Bethan Wade – Challenge Events Coordinator –

Joanne Helm – Health Care Assistant –

Gill Black – Complementary Therapist –

Jill Harding – Health Care Assistant IPU –

Caroline Allen – Health Care Assistant IPU –

Pam Webster – Health Care Assistant IPU –

Laura Parker – Staff Nurse –

Lucy’s Trig Point Challenge

The final footsteps taken by Lucy Coppack on her epic journey around the Peak District will be the most poignant.

The path to the top of Shutlingsloe above Macclesfield was designed by her late mum Lynne and partly built by her dad Ian.

The landmark will therefore provide a fitting climax to her record attempt to climb all 88 trig points in the Peak District as quickly as possible.


The Shutlingsloe path Lucy’s mum designed and her dad helped build.


The combined height of the coordinate trigs is around 35,000 metres.

Lucy is already well on the way towards raising £7,500 for East Cheshire Hospice where her mum was a patient 25 years ago.

That is how much it costs to provide a day’s care at the Hospice which provides some of Lucy’s earliest childhood memories.

She was just a toddler when her mum died of breast cancer, aged 38.


Lucy with her late mum Lynne.


Now 28, Lucy said: “I was too small to remember much about my mum, but I’ve got happy memories of the Hospice.

“That’s why I’m driven to do this challenge because those memories aren’t sad. They’d serve her sherry in the evenings and I’d play with the toys. Every year I still get a birthday card from the nurses.”

Lucy starts her adventure next month and aims to finish in September.

She said: “Not many have climbed all the trigs and they haven’t done it against the clock. I’m hoping to climb several each week.

“The shortest climb is six miles and the longest up to 20 miles and I’ve made it my mission to walk, run, and even crawl if necessary.”


Lucy Coppack by one of the trig points.


Lucy’s challenge will fit round her job with Royal London where she is a financial services coach, a role that includes promoting well-being and mental health.

Her parents, from Langley, met when Lynne was Ian’s boss. He worked on a project she had designed.

As a landscape architect, Lynne ran a joint project between the Peak park and Cheshire County Council to re-instate the footpath up to Shutlingsloe.

The stone was flown in by helicopter and Lucy’s father, a council ranger, ran the project on the ground.

Lucy said: “That’s why the path is sentimental to me and means a lot each time I climb it. It was the obvious place to end my challenge and family and friends will hopefully join me on that final leg.”

Lucy is on Instagram via @lucy.does.trigs and to donate visit


Lucy preparing for her fundraising adventure.