Community – East Cheshire Hospice

John Jones

Musician John Jones has spent more than 30 years cheering up patients playing songs on his accordion.

Lockdown has limited his fundraising appearances lately and allowed him to reflect on personal sadness after losing his wife June (76) in March.

She took great pride in her husband raising more than £300,000 for charity from his performances, including £89,000 for East Cheshire Hospice.

John, from Macclesfield, said: “I’ve had a lot of touching comments since June died and although she was quite shy she always supported me.

“It’s been frustrating during Covid because I can’t play at the Hospice, in the hospital corridor or in nursing homes where I entertained residents with their favourite songs.

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to support the Hospice and Macclesfield District General Hospital and in particular their staff in ICU where June sadly passed away after receiving such wonderful and dedicated care.”

John (78) still has the antique accordion his father Edgar played, providing many happy childhood memories and inspiring him to learn to play the instrument.

John, with his charity donation box, plays his blue accordion sporting the badge of his beloved Manchester City for public appearances.

He received the MBE from Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace in 2012 for charitable work and three days later was sat behind the goal where Sergio Aguero scored to clinch the club’s long-awaited title triumph in 2012.

John and his wife June at Buckingham Palace when he received the MBE in 2012.

John, a retired structural engineer, worked in the bridges section for Manchester City Council.

He said: “I’m grateful to all my colleagues in Stockport Accordion Club who’ve supported the Hospice by performing an annual concert at Broken Cross Club. We were due to play our 20th anniversary concert in December.

“The event has wonderful support from the local community who look forward to it with great enthusiasm.

“I’ve made lots of friends with people who’ve enjoyed my music. I performed outside the Hospice a few weeks ago with singer Helen England, a performance which is on the Hospice Facebook page.”

John Jones and his beloved accordion.  

Firgus’ Summer Holiday

Firgus, the East Cheshire Hospice virtual Christmas tree, has enjoyed a summer holiday – unlike the rest of us!


His travels took him far and wide, raising an impressive £4,750 for the Hospice.


He started his month-long journey camping in Macclesfield Forest and also sent postcards from an Algarve beach, surfing in Australia, celeb spotting in LA and a catch up with Santa at the North Pole.


Hospice supporters denied their own travels by Covid-19 entered into the spirit of things with generous donations.


Firgus’ foreign adventure was the idea of Pete Chapman and wife Heather. Pete and friend Richard Raymond are co-founders of the  Christmas tree collection which has been running for 20 years in aid of the Hospice.

Pete Chapman (left) and Richard Raymond post Firgus’ holiday progress on the notice board in Prestbury.    


Richard said: “It was a little bit of fun and a way for our loyal Christmas tree supporters to help the Hospice at a time when its fundraising activities have been badly affected.


“We’d like to thank everyone who contributed and it won’t be long before we turn our attentions towards our usual Christmas collection.”


A picture competition themed on ‘What Your Christmas Tree Does in Summer?’ was won by the Ashworth family from Prestbury with their tree sporting sunglasses in a paddling pool.

The Ashworth family winning picture

Macc Virtual Open Art Exhibition

The Macclesfield Open Art Exhibition is back – in an online format showcasing work from all ages and abilities.

The virtual display, featuring hundreds of works by mostly local artists, runs from Friday, June 12, until Sunday, August 16.

The exhibition, which ran for five years until 2018 at the Silk Museum, has been revived by organiser Geoff Archer to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

Instead of paying an entry fee, artists have made donations to the Hospice and with most works for sale they are requested to make a donation in lieu of the commission on sales.

Geoff said: “The exhibition was extremely popular but eventually there was nowhere in town to hold it and in the current situation I thought it’d be interesting to do it online.

“The exhibition is open to all artists, amateur or professional and there’s no age limit. Most artists are from this area but we’ve had one entry from Australia, from an artist who used to live in Macclesfield.

“Artists were allowed to submit a maximum of three works. Usually there’s a selection process at galleries because of lack of space to hang items, but in this case everything submitted will be shown.”

The public can view exhibits at

Geoff, from Macclesfield, is a painter and was head of art at Henbury High School for around 30 years.

Geoff Archer with one of his paintings Pick Up which will be in the exhibition.

Four Year Old Andrew is on His Bike

Raising money for East Cheshire Hospice has been as easy as riding a bike for Andrew Lloyd.

At the age of four, cycling already comes so naturally to Andrew that he has averaged five kilometres a day for the last month.

After setting a target of riding 100 kilometres in May, he covered the distance in just over two weeks accompanied by dad Pete or mum Emma.

Andrew with mum Emma, sister Robyn (2) and dad Pete.

Their daily 45-minute outings have raised £2,500 for the Hospice where Emma works.

She is manager of the Hospice’s new Poynton shop which has had to delay its opening because of Covid-19.

Emma said: “Pete’s a keen cyclist and that’s how Andrew’s love of bikes started. We thought it was a great way to do some daily exercise and get a break from home schooling.

“Donations have come from family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers. Around £1,000 was donated in the first 48 hours and we’d like to thank everyone for their generosity.”

Andrew has owned his beloved orange bike since he was three, having learned to ride on a balance bike from 18 months.

Emma said: “Andrew cycled in parks and on pavements until lockdown, but when the roads on our estate became so quiet it was the ideal opportunity for him to learn about road safety.

“All Andrew’s rides were tracked by an app which showed he cycled 11 kilometres in one day. We’re very proud of him.”

Andrew on his cycling exploits with dad Pete.

Sunflowers of Support

First it was the rainbows – now sunflowers are appearing in front windows to support East Cheshire Hospice.

Eight-year-old Daisy Wilkinson drew a sunflower – the charity’s well known symbol – for her grandma Sandra Heapy, from Macclesfield.

Daisy came up with the idea when mum Amy saw on social media that the Hospice wants supporters to create sunflower images for Hospice nursing staff coping with Covid-19.

Daisy Wilkinson with her grandma Sandra Heapy and her sunflower picture.

The Hospice is close to the hearts of Amy and husband James after their late close friend Liam Ward was treated there. Liam (34) died in January 2018 from sarcoma, a rare cancer.

Amy said: “Liam was an inpatient for quite some time and the care he received was unbelievable. His wife Michaela and the rest of the family were so grateful for what the Hospice did for him.”

Michaela’s mum Joan Edwards has raised £400 this year from selling sunflowers. She grows them each year in her greenhouse in memory of her son-in-law.

Joan Edwards with her sunflowers.

Daisy’s great grandfather is Tommy Docherty, the former Manchester United manager who last month celebrated his 92nd birthday.

Amy Chatwood, Marketing Manager at the Hospice, said: “Rainbows have been extremely popular showing support for care workers and we thought it’d be nice if homes around Macclesfield also had sunflowers as a sign of support for our hard-working nursing staff at this difficult time.”

Virtual Christmas Tree Collection Campaign

It may be the wrong time of year for Christmas trees, but it is still the season of goodwill towards East Cheshire Hospice.

The latest to help the Hospice during the Covid-19 crisis are organisers of its Christmas tree collection.

Their fundraising campaign needs your involvement – through donations and creativity!

The organisers are sending their Christmas tree collection logo – newly-named as Firgus after a Facebook vote – on a virtual holiday.

His month-long journey is just starting, with Firgus sending postcards back each week, starting this Friday.

Luke Brightmore, Digital Marketing Assistant at the Hospice, said: “The more donations the further Firgus travels, though it’s a fun trip so his destinations won’t reflect the real cost of such a holiday.

“We’ll put a postcard on our website each Friday showing where he’s reached before moving on.”

Alongside the virtual journey, there is a competition for the best interpretation of ‘What Your Christmas Tree Does in Summer?’

The theme is based on Olaf from Frozen, a snowman who dreams of a summer holiday.

Drawings, paintings or pictures – any format is accepted – can be emailed to The top three will receive Christmas-themed prizes.

Richard Raymond, co-organiser of the Christmas tree collection with Pete Chapman, said: “There’s been some fantastic fundraising for NHS charities but that money won’t go to the Hospice.

“Our message is really ‘Don’t forget our Hospice’  which keeps its door open and maintains services  for our community during this pandemic.

“The Hospice has its Now More than Ever appeal and we wondered how we can help. We thought  the tree holiday is something we could do to tap into all our Christmas tree customers.

“It’s a bit of fun and will hopefully capture the imagination, including on social media, and in some ways it’s our take on a virtual Christmas tree collection.

“The competition may be a photograph of dad in his trunks and shades sitting in a deckchair alongside a Christmas tree with a beer in hand.

“Or, it could be a child dressing up as a Christmas tree with a star on their head and a few baubles dotted across the body.

“Basically, anything goes and there are no rules. One of our supporters said it’d give them something to do in these strange times and fundamentally we’re helping the Hospice. ”

Pete Chapman (left) and Richard Raymond, co-organisers of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection, with their own slant on a Christmas tree summer trip and their tree logo.

Macc Town Ladies’ Virtual Challenge

Football may have been kicked into touch during Covid-19 but Macclesfield Town Ladies are still very much in action.

The squad are well on their way to completing a virtual challenge of walking, cycling or running from Lands End to John O’Groats – and back again!

Initially the team had planned to travel the length of the country during May but reached half way within the first few days so doubled the distance to 2,814 kilometres.

Macc Town Ladies are raising £750 for East Cheshire Hospice since the usual fundraising events have been called off.

Vice captain Becky Rowbotham said: “Like most football clubs our season was cut short in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hope to start playing again in September, depending on the current situation, and wanted to put our pre-season training to good use.

“We were inspired by the Hospice to raise funds for them after hearing how they’ve been affected by Covid-19. The players were all excited by supporting such a good cause.”

Becky is a key worker like some of her team-mates so they have had to juggle the challenge around work. A fitness monitor record the distance covered.

The open age team was reformed three years ago and were well placed in the Championship Division 1 of the Cheshire Women’s and Youth League until the season ended early.

The team play on Back Lane, Congleton, because they have been unable to find a suitable pitch in Macclesfield.

* To sponsor them visit

Macclesfield Town Ladies who are undertaking a virtual challenge.

Support & Advice During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Below are some useful links for information and advice to stay safe and healthy during the coronavirus epidemic.


The RCN has produced some general advice, helpful for members and non members about Corona Virus

The NHS has produced a helpful guidance note to support people struggling with Corona anxiety.

Many people find the apps Calm and Headspace, easy to download to your phone, very helpful for dealing with panic/ sleeplessness and anxiety.

If anyone has time, there are a number of podcasts available to listen to.  I like this one from Dr Rangan Chatterjee titled, “Coronavirus, how to manage anxiety” Link below:

The mental health charity, Mind has published a specific guide for coronavirus

10 mindful minutes – Andy Puddicombe

Wellbeing podcasts – from the Mental Health Foundation

Mind stress resource

The BodyCoach TV – Free online PE classes daily with Joe Wicks

Mental wellbeing audio guides from the NHS

Gym-free workouts from the NHS

East Cheshire Hospice Activity Pack

Pens, pencils and paintbrushes at the ready ….it’s time for young artists to show their creative talents.

At East Cheshire Hospice we have put together a fun activity pack for children of all ages.

It’s available to download now at

The pack encourages children to colour, draw, write stories or even bake with adult assistance.

We are also running a drawing competition – closing date May 31 – to win a fluffy unicorn teddy.

Hospice Finance Officer Michele Slack with the unicorn teddy.

We want people to share their creations with us via social media and tag the Hospice. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Community Fundraiser Carley Macey said: “Rainbows are all the rage at the moment but it’d be great to see sunflowers alongside them in windows.

“We’ve had plenty of interest already in the packs and the average donation has been £4 per pack. ”

Visit for details.

Young supporters are showing their craft skills in many ways.

Sophie Plant, aged 12, started a Facebook rainbow challenge and has led the way with a drawing on a rock outside her home which is close to the Hospice.

The Fallibroome Academy pupil, who has already raised £300 for the Hospice, said: “I love dancing and sport so am normally very busy and don’t like being idle. ”

Sophie wants others to post rainbow pictures via To donate go to

Her family is hoping to get a celebrity to choose a picture in September which will be transferred on to canvas for display at the Hospice.

Sophie Plant with her rainbow.

The Silk Road brings PPE from China

The Silk Road has provided an important link for East Cheshire Hospice during the coronavirus crisis.

Vital supplies of personal protective equipment sent from China are being used by Hospice nurses treating patients.

Face masks, safety goggles and coveralls, which were delivered via Macclesfield District General Hospital, have been a massive help to the Hospice as we continue to care for patients during the pandemic.

This latest goods transfer on the historic trading route between East and West was a collaboration between community interest company Make it Macclesfield and Silk Road Horizon Ltd.

The two organisations have established cultural, social and business links between Macclesfield and the city of Xi’an where a crowd-funding project led to the purchase of equipment in short supply in the UK.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston (left) and Assistant Nurse Practitioner Clare Preston welcome PPE from China. Driver Rick Sherry delivered the equipment on the last leg of the journey from Macclesfield District General Hospital.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “These supplies are vital in protecting our front-line nursing staff during Covid-19. I want to thank Silk Road Horizon and Make it Macclesfield for working so hard to arrange this special delivery.

“The masks are of a high safety standard, giving our nurses extra confidence and security.

“Macclesfield is proud of its silk heritage and this is another example of the long-standing links between the east and western ends of the Silk Road.”

Through contacts Silk Road Horizon’s Wen Xu, from Xi’an, arranged the delivery via air freight. Her partner Alastair Blackburn lived in Macclesfield as a child.

Mike Rance, Chair of Make it Macclesfield, said: “Wen pulled it all together and deserves our thanks for this kind act of friendship in difficult times.

“We’re proud that Macclesfield is at the western end of the Silk Road. No-one else can make such a claim, making Macclesfield unique in the north west.

“This collaborative international project illustrates the importance of our Silk Road links with China and this is something we want to build on further.”

The five Chinese companies involved in sending the aid were Shaanxi Qikang Medical Management Co, Jinzheng Group, Xi’an Hongfu Group, Shaanxi Henan Hebi Chamber of Commerce and Shaanxi Hantang Cultural and Creative Research Institute.

East Cheshire Hospice services are provided free of charge for patients with life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers. The Hospice receives only 17 per cent of its funding from government, the rest donated by the community.