Challenge Series Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Update on Heather Broadbent’s Around the World Challenge

Round-the-world sailor Heather Broadbent is preparing to embark on her epic voyage on Sunday (Sept 1).

Heather will spend 11 months at sea competing in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race which starts at St Katherine Docks in London.

The landscape gardener, from Disley, will be on board the 70-foot ocean racing yacht GoToBermuda for her trip-of-a-lifetime.

Heather is hoping to raise £40,000 for East Cheshire Hospice where her late husband Adam (45) was a patient.  Adam died of cancer in 2013.

Heather has already raised £22,750, a total boosted by £6,500 after her adventure was featured on the regional BBC 1 programme North West Tonight.

The funds will go towards supporting the charity’s Hospice @ Home service which has treated 626 patients since it began in October 2017.

Heather, who has two grown up daughters, said: “I’m so excited and can’t wait for the race to start.  I’ve completed all my training and if anyone can sponsor me, they’ll be supporting a marvellous cause. My aim is to raise a pound for every mile of the 40,000-mile journey.

“I’ve already met half our crew, and everyone has been absolutely wonderful. We’ve all got the same mindset but we realise that spending so long together at sea in a confined space will be a challenge.

“I’m looking forward to visiting every port, especially Bermuda which sounds like a fabulous island.”

Heather has been appointed team co-ordinator, supervising a rota so that no-one is on duty for more than 12 hours during a 24-hour period.

Heather said: “It’s a huge honour and quite a task making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time with the correct kit.”

To help her, she will test a new Dell Latitude Rugged laptop supplied by the computer company so she can also send back pictures, vlogs and blogs.

Heather Broadbent will be travelling light at sea.

Each crew member has a 15-kilogram weight allowance, set by their team, for individual cubby holes.

Heather said: “We’re allowed to carry less weight than someone would probably take for a weekend away, but as you can imagine there’s little room on board.

“I’m taking three changes of clothing but no luxuries, so I’ll leave behind my face cream.

“I’ll have my own sleeping bag but won’t have my own bunk bed. There could be 22 people on board at any one time and due to the watch system we ‘hot-bunk.'”

Racing on board the 70 ft racing yacht GoToBermuda, Heather is one of only two women among her eight-strong amateur crew undertaking a full circumnavigation of the globe under the guidance of a professional skipper and mate.

Other crew members will join the GoToBermuda team for different legs of the journey as they compete against 10 other crews.

The fleet will call at ports in Portugal, Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, China, the Philippines, Panama, the USA (Seattle and New York), Bermuda and Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, before crossing the finishing line in London 11 months later.

* To sponsor Heather and read her blogs visit

Training for Nepal!

Tackling Tegg’s Nose on a summer’s evening is one thing, but navigating Nepal in November is a completely different prospect.

But that is the challenge facing Sarah Dale and Louise Delany who must combine preparations for a Himalayan trek with jobs at East Cheshire Hospice as well as running families.

Both volunteered for the once-in-a-lifetime adventure which involves two days working on a hospice project in Kathmandu followed by an arduous five-day trek along the Ghorepani Poon Hill trail.

There they will enjoy stunning views of the Annapurna mountain range staying in tea-houses and lodges. Temperatures will range from 25C to -5 at night.

Sarah and Louise are part of a nine-strong group from East Cheshire Hospice, each pledging to raise at least £3,500 for the charity which undertook a Grand Canyon trek last year.

Sarah, who is Clinical Director at the Hospice, said: “I’m petrified and the more I think about it the worse it gets, but it’ll be an amazing challenge.

“I don’t really like flying, I’ll miss my kids and husband and I’m not good with bugs or getting cold. The chance to see how palliative care works in a different country motivated me initially and I’d happily spend all the time at the hospice out there, but that’s not the idea.

“I thought we’d be meandering through villages but each day there are tough walks with a 3,500 metre climb.”

Sarah and Louise are walking through Macclesfield Forest, or climbing Tegg’s Nose, four times a week as preparation.

Louise, the Hospice’s Commercial Manager, said: ” I don’t think I’ve done any challenge before so we’re both out of our comfort zone. We want to be fit enough so our experience is a good one and we don’t suffer.

“Working full time five days a week, plus family commitments and the practice walks is time-consuming and at the same time we’re trying to fundraise.

“Sarah is from the clinical side and I’m from admin and we’re glad we’re supporting each other. Our aim is to raise £7,500 which is how much it costs to run the Hospice for a day.”

The pair are grateful for the support of the Broken Cross Club which is hosting a bingo afternoon on Sunday, Sept 15, and a race night on Friday, Oct 4.

* To sponsor them go to and

Richard Raymond is Nightrider

Teamwork is usually the key to Richard Raymond’s fundraising for East Cheshire Hospice.

As co-founder of the charity’s Christmas Tree Collection, he plays a pivotal role in a large-scale operation which has so far raised more than £1m.

But his latest fundraising challenge was very much a single-handed effort as he undertook a 50 kilometre night ride through Merseyside.

Richard, from Macclesfield, raised more than £400 from Nightrider 2019 which began at Pier Head and took him through the Mersey Tunnel which was closed to traffic for the event.

Richard said: “I come from Chester originally and had wanted to follow a cycle trail around the Wirral so as an occasional social cyclist couldn’t resist the opportunity.

“My wave of cyclists set off at 11.10 pm when the city centre streets were packed with people partying. When I returned at around 2.30 pm they were still out there enjoying themselves!

“I noticed the Hospice had got spare places in the event and this was my chance to do a bit of personal fundraising for this fantastic local charity.”

Believe it or not but even during the height of summer, collecting Christmas trees is never far from the thoughts of Richard and the scheme’s co-founder Pete Chapman.

The 2019 collection raised £136,000 net which meant it broke the £1m mark overall for fundraising for the Hospice.

The next collection on the weekend of January 11 and 12 will bring another special milestone.

Richard said: “It’s our 20th anniversary in 2020 so we’re already thinking about marketing and promotion around that theme. We’re also looking at routing so there’s a lot to consider even now.

“It’s a major challenge but one we enjoy immensely, especially as we have such a dedicated team of volunteers and generous donors. Once again we’ll be relying on the spirit and enthusiasm of our supporters next year.”

Who is Sunny??

Just who is Sunny, the East Cheshire Hospice mascot who features in a new comical online video?

Sunny the dog is featured promoting the Challenge Series of events which inspire hundreds of people to push themselves every year to raise funds for the Hospice.

Sunny is seen in the gym, at an aerobics class, weightlifting, swimming, trekking through the snow and even doing some pole-dancing in the three-minute video which is featured on the Hospice Facebook site.

“My cover is blown,” says 26-year-old Jack Layden who can be revealed as (one of) the faces behind Sunny, the Hospice mascot.

Jack, a digital marketing assistant at the Hospice, said the three days of filming certainly took him away from his usual desk job as he worked with the videographer, Richard Weston, at a series of locations around the town.

“It was pretty exhausting work,” he says. “It’s incredibly hot in that costume and pretty difficult to move around. The pole-dancing wasn’t my finest moment – I kept falling over,” says Jack admitting that the out-takes make for some hilarious viewing.

“I don’t think Hollywood will be knocking on my door anytime soon,” he laughs.

The Hospice Challenge Series 2019 features a host of London to Paris bike ride, a week-long trek in  Nepal in November and a host of other races and runs.

If you’d like to do a Hospice challenge you can find out how to “ Be More Like Sunny” on the Hospice website

Three Peaks Challenge

A group of work colleagues have raised a magnificent £20,000 for East Cheshire Hospice by tackling one of Britain’s toughest walking feats – the Three Peaks Challenge.

The group of 22 said they experienced nearly every emotion under the sun – from exhilaration to fear – as they embarked on the three tough mountain walks at Ben Nevis in Scotland; Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Mount Snowdon in Wales.

Organiser Natalie Hodgson, 27, said that although many of the group were experienced walkers, they still found the trek tough going.

“We were all in fine form as we started the first walk around midday in glorious sunshine of around 23 degrees at the foot of Ben Nevis,” says Natalie. “We certainly didn’t expect to be crawling over massive snow glaciers at the top of the mountain and we literally had to slide back down to the pathway.”

By teatime the group were ready to confront their second challenge, Scafell Pike, but conditions had deteriorated, and the four-hour hike took place in driving rain.

“That was our toughest climb,” says Natalie. “By the end we just all put our heads down and focussed on getting through the darkness and back to the minivans to head on to our next challenge.”

Five hours later the party arrived at the foot of Mount Snowdon only to be thwarted in their 24-hour challenge by traffic jams at a triathlon in Llanberis.

“But we overcame our exhaustion at this point and pushed hard to complete the challenge in just under 25 hours,” says Natalie.

Natalie was inspired to organise the challenge after her fiancé’s grandmother, Mary Bason from Siddington, was cared for at the Hospice two years ago.

“I will never forget the fabulous support the staff gave to both Mary and her family and whilst it’s never nice to be in these situations, everyone at the Hospice was amazing.”

Members of the group were welcomed back to the Hospice recently as a thank-you for all their support.

Corporate fundraiser, Kate Bowmar, is delighted with the walkers contributions especially as the challenge is so tough.

“The Hospice’s services are free and so we have to fundraise over £7,500 every single day of the year to make ends meet,” she says. “The walker’s efforts are amazing – well done to them all”.

The hikers fundraising sites are still open at

Great Manchester Run Participants

One of the country’s most popular races included runners who put their best foot forward to raise funds for the East Cheshire Hospice.

The sponsorship pennies are still rolling in, but East Cheshire Hospice runners are expected to raise around £4500 by taking part in this year’s Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run through the streets of central Manchester.

Runners included 16-year-old Joseph Sankey from Ullswater in Macclesfield who has raised well over £1000 on his own. Joseph wanted to support the hospice for taking care of his godfather, Neil Robinson, who passed away at the Hospice in March aged 53.

Joseph, who’s currently sitting his GCSE’s at All Hallows Catholic College, finished in just over 50 minutes, coming 117th in his age group from around 30,000 runners.

“I had much more energy than I thought I would have,” says Joseph. “The atmosphere was amazing – music everywhere and crowds chanting your name.”

Joseph trained for the run in between his exam revision and says that the running may even have helped with his studies.

“I got into a routine where I studied for a bit and then cleared my mind with a run, then back to studies again,” he said.

Joseph crossed the finish line almost four minutes ahead of his father, Ian, who he persuaded to do the run with him. Mum, Lynsey, was also there to cheer him on at the finish line alongside Neil’s wife, Sarah, and daughter Rebecca.

Also a few minutes behind was 38-year-old Saxon Whittle who was part of the six-strong team from McCann Complete Medical.

Completing in a time of 54’ 55, Saxon believes the crowds played a major part in helping him get to the finish line.

“I really wanted to challenge myself and get fit enough to run a 10K but I wasn’t sure I could do it,” he says. “But the crowds just spurred us all on.”

Also running from McCann Medical were Phillip Hall, Joe Shields, Marko Benes, Jack Adams and Brian Jepson.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who pounded the streets to raise money for us,” says events assistant at the Hospice, Beth Candy, “All the services we provide at the Hospice are free, and to continue to do this we need to raise £345 per night per patient so every penny raised will go towards supporting our work.”

Damien Lacey – Marathon Man!

A Macclesfield man driven by both a professional and a personal cause, says he’s now got the “marathon bug” after completing his first 26-mile run in London.


Damian Lacey, 45, began running four years ago doing to “Coach to 5k” with Macclesfield Harriers and decided to tackle his first marathon to raise funds for the East Cheshire Hospice following the death of his mother-in-law, Linda Tute, last September.


“Linda was cared for by the Hospice @ Home team which is a truly wonderful service and had previously spent six weeks there as an in-patient in 2017 so I knew from personal experience the important work of the Hospice,” says Damian.


And Damian’s support for the Hospice also has a professional foundation as he encounters it regularly in his job as a specialist Macmillan nurse working in the Macclesfield area.


“I have seen the phenomenal palliative care they provide from both sides and really wanted to give something back,” says Damian, “although I knew a marathon was going to really stretch me.


But Damian, from Tytherington, knew he had made the right choice when he found out he had been successful in securing a place in the London Marathon on the day of Linda’s funeral.


“We were getting ready to leave when a letter dropped through the postbox telling me I had a place – I knew there was no backing out,” laughs Damian.


“I had a problem with my knee from mile 16 which really hampered me, and I had to stop at the medical bay and get some massage from one of the physios,” says Damian. “But I got back out. and I think Linda must have been watching me because I got to mile 24 and the pain disappeared and I was able to pick up my pace and make up a lot of time. “

The London Marathon 2019

On 28th April 2019 Catherine Mather and Damien Lacey took on the ultimate running challenge in aid of the Hospice, The London Marathon.

Damian is a Macmillan nurse and works closely with the Hospice. He also has a very personal connection with us after his mother-in-law was cared for here.

“I am  raising money for the East Cheshire Hospice. Linda stayed here for 6 weeks when she was first diagnosed and was critically ill. When it became apparent that we would be able to take her home she continued to visit the Hospice Sunflower Centre when she was well enough too, and enjoyed the support from staff and fellow patients.”

Damian started running about 4 years ago with a ‘couch to 5k’ challenge. He has come an incredibly long way and despite having a problem with his know at mile 16 which required physio, has now successfully completed the grueling 26 mile London Marathon!

In 2016 Catherine Mather suffered a badly dislocated ankle and had almost a years absence from running. But she came back with a bang by successfully finishing the marathon in aid of the Hospice!

“I felt that it was really important to support a local charity and I chose East Cheshire Hospice because of the wonderful care and support they provide. I have friends who have had family members use the Hospice and I know how important it has been for them to have such valuable and crucial support.”

Damian Lacey’s Marathon

Runner Damian Lacey has both professional and personal experience of the care offered by East Cheshire Hospice.

As a Macmillan nurse he is part of the support network which provides end-of-life palliative care for Hospice patients.

Damian’s mother-in-law Linda Tute was a recipient of that care before her death from oesophageal cancer last September, aged 75.

The family were so grateful for the way Linda was looked after that Damian is raising funds for the Hospice by competing in the London Marathon on Sunday, April 28.

It is Damian’s first marathon and when Sir Andy Murray fires the starting gun for the field of 42,000 it will complete a remarkable journey.

The Macclesfield Harrier said: “I only started running just over four years ago and it was a case of couch to 5k for me. Then I couldn’t run 10 feet never mind 10 miles.

“Linda used to joke about my figure and now she’s having the last laugh because I’m running the marathon.

“Perhaps it was fate that my application was accepted after missing out twice in the ballot, because the letter telling me I was successful arrived on the day of Linda’s funeral in October.”

Linda and husband Martin ran a grocery business in Bollington before retiring. Martin is a member of Macclesfield Male Voice Choir and a former Pott Shrigley Cricket Club player and both organisations have rallied round to support Damian, along with wife Sheona and sister-in-laws Kerry Tute and Meryl Goodwin.

Damian, from Tytherington, is part of the Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care team at Macclesfield Hospital.

He added: “We work in close collaboration with the Hospice even though we’re separate organisations. I know about the Hospice services professionally but when Linda was on the receiving end it gave me a different perspective.

“She was an inpatient and was also one of the first to access the Hospice@ Home service set up 18 months ago.”

* To sponsor Damian go to

Heather Broadbent, Update

It is a good job Heather Broadbent likes meeting new friends.

She will soon be introduced to a group of strangers with whom she will spend almost a year sailing around the world.

For the moment the identity of her fellow crew members in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race remains a closely-guarded secret.

Heather, a landscape gardener from Disley, is raring to go on her daring adventure aboard a 70-foot ocean racing yacht.

Incredibly, she has already raised £10,000 for East Cheshire Hospice which cared for her late husband Adam (45) who died of cancer in 2013.

It is a quarter of the way towards her fundraising target, aiming to raise one pound for each of the 40,000 nautical miles travelled on her epic voyage, starting in August.

Mum-of-two Heather said: “I can’t wait to get going and am excited about going to sea, especially after undergoing a lot of training.

“A major challenge will be spending 11 months in the same confined area with complete strangers.

“Living in tight conditions will be as much of a test as the actual sailing and the next milestone in the countdown is when the crews are allocated on May 11.”

The UK departure port has also be to announced, along with several stops on a route via South America, South Africa, Australia, China and the USA.

Heather is sure life on the ocean wave will have more far more ups than downs. The 11-strong  fleet each has a professional skipper and mate supervising amateur crews of up to 20 per boat.

Heather is one of several sailors tackling all eight legs.

She added: “I’ve had extra training, including a week on a sailing course in Gibraltar, to gain more experience and background knowledge. I wanted to be as prepared as I can be for this extreme adventure.”

Proceeds will go to the charity’s Hospice @ Home service. Supporters are invited to a preview of Heather’s trip at Pinches Medical Centre in Macclesfield on May 16.

* To support Heather and read her blogs go to