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In conversation with Susie MacMurray

See for yourself one of Cheshire’s newest and most amazing pieces of artwork – and meet the artist who created it.

Susie MacMurray will be in conversation during her spectacular Gathering exhibition in the Staircase Hall in the Mansion at Tatton Park.

Her opening talk is Thurs 25th July and further conversations are on Thurs 15th Aug, and Fri 29 Sept (all times 12.30 pm to 1 pm).

Susie will be explaining about the piece, inspired by East Cheshire Hospice, and her influences and practise.

Talks are free though usual mansion entry applies. Spaces are limited and groups are welcome. To register go to

The installation, featuring thousands of hand-stitched elements, is suspended from the  Mansion’s grand rotunda. It is on display until Oct 6 as part of Art Fair Cheshire 2019.

During the exhibition elements can be bought in unique editions, with all profits supporting Hospice care.

Individual elements  are £30; small sculpture £500 (limited edition of 75); large sculpture £1,500 (limited to 15) and a painted watercolour of Gathering is £225 (75 only). Each is signed and numbered by the artist.

For more details go to

Pieces will be available for collection from mid October 2019. Postage charges will apply for purchases sent.










Art Fair Cheshire celebrates its 20th year with an exhibition at Macclesfield Town Hall (Thurs, Sept 26 – Thurs, Oct 3). For more details go to

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

Gathering for ‘Gathering’

After months of enjoying the camaraderie of teamwork, international artist Susie MacMurray is now embarking on the last stages of her newest art creation.

After six months of painstaking sewing supported by 10 volunteers, Susie’s art installation, Gathering, is now in its final stages and will be set to move to Tatton Park in just over 10 days’ time.

Inspired by East Cheshire Hospice, the installation features 3,750 elements of red velvet and barbed wire which Susie is now threading onto the wires that will suspend the installation from the Mansion’s grand rotunda. It will be on display from June 27 to October 6 as part of Art Fair Cheshire 2019.

Susie said: “This final stage is an intricate process and is a solo effort.

“I’ve got a very clear vision of what I want it to look like and pulling it together is like handwriting – my individual interpretation.

“But it’s still a very collaborative piece and it’s been a very meaningful experience to work with the volunteer helpers who’ve all brought their own individual traits to the artwork.”

Susie’s helpers were all volunteers from the Hospice and the group spent many hours at her studio sharing memories of lost loved ones.

Susie, whose husband John died 12 years ago, said the work reflected the whole idea of the piece which is a gathering of people to support each other and share memories.

“We have had so many meaningful, intimate, hilarious and sad conversations whilst working on this piece,” she says.

“The Hospice is such a catalyst for extraordinary acts of kindness, generosity and care and the people who worked with me over the last six months illustrated that.”

The volunteers haven’t yet said goodbye to the artwork. They will once again spring into action to help Susie gently move the installation to Tatton Park where it will take up to a week to secure into place.

Using scaffolding to hang from the Mansion’s rotunda, it will eventually drop down two floors through the staircase atrium .

Afterwards, individual elements will be sold for a £30 donation to the hospice, with small wall pieces also on sale.

Susie has also painted a water colour of Gathering. A limited edition of 75 signed and numbered prints costs £225 each. All proceeds to the Hospice.

For more information visit  The project is supported by Arts Council England and The Arts Society.

Co-Op Local Community Fund

Your weekly shopping trip could be helping to support a unique service for young people in East Cheshire.

The Childhood Bereavement Service, run by East Cheshire Hospice, supports young people coping with loss and now it’s been chosen to benefit from the Co-Op Local Community Fund with 1% of every Co-Op own brand product bought by shoppers potentially going to support the service.

Shoppers will need to be Co-Op members and should sign up to support the Hospice here Once the card is scanned after a shop, 1% will be donated to the Hospice.

The Bereavement Service delivers counselling, peer support groups and awareness raising activity such as training courses for teachers, youth workers and relatives. During 2017/18 it supported 226 children and young people and over 1000 family members.

Initially developed with funding from the Big Lottery Fund in 2013, the service now has no external funding so support from Co-Op shoppers will be hugely beneficial.

Corporate Fundraiser for the Hospice, Kate Bowmar, says research shows that support through bereavement is important for children and young people.

“The best way to safeguard a bereaved child’s emotional and physical well-being is to involve and inform them in an age appropriate way throughout the dying process and beyond,” she says.

“We’ve already received a mid-year payment of £830 donated by the local community and would love to continue this for the rest of the year,” adds Kate.

Shoppers have until the end of October to donate to the Hospice.

Gathering – Susie MacMurray

Teamwork is the key for international artist Susie MacMurray who unveils her newest  creation at Tatton Park next month.

Six months of painstaking work by Susie, her assistant Helen Newman and 10 volunteers has created Gathering, an art installation of 3,750 elements of red velvet and barbed wire.

The sewing will be over in the next few days before the assembled installation is suspended from the Mansion’s grand rotunda.

There her creation, inspired by East Cheshire Hospice, will be on display from June 27 to October 6 as part of Art Fair Cheshire 2019.

Susie’s helpers are volunteers from the charity, the group spending many hours at her studio sharing memories of lost loved ones.

Susie, whose husband John died 12 years ago, said: “We’ve had some very profound conversations mixed with a lot of hilarity.

“The making of this work reflects the whole idea of the piece which is a gathering of people to support each other and treasure memories.

“I want the volunteer makers to feel invested in Gathering. This is our work. It’s a collaboration, which is appropriate.

“We’ve had the shared impetus of the Hospice and have developed a great camaraderie within the group and I’d like to thank everyone for their generous support.”

Issy Cooke, from Mobberley, and Fiona Winderam, from Knutsford, are among volunteers who will then act as stewards during the display.

Fiona said: “We’ve created around 300 elements every week. Working on the project has been so rewarding and we can’t wait to be there at Tatton Park when the public gets a chance to view it.”

Susie added: “The rich red colour symbolises the body and its preciousness and the barbed wire isn’t about conflict but facing difficulty and struggle.”

Afterwards, individual elements will be sold for a £30 donation to the hospice, with small wall pieces also on sale.

Susie has also painted a water colour of Gathering. A limited edition of 75 signed and numbered prints costs £225 each. All proceeds to the Hospice.

For more information visit  The project is supported by Arts Council England and The Arts Society.

Art Fair Cheshire celebrates its 20th year with a week-long exhibition of more than 80 artists at Macclesfield Town Hall (Thurs, Sept 26 – Thurs, Oct 3) when a series of events take place. Art Fair Cheshire has a new website

What Women Want Fashion Show 2019

Fashion, fizz and fun turned the latest What Women Want extravaganza into a roaring success.
The glitzy fashion show at Tytherington High School drew an audience of 200 guests, raising £4,500 for East Cheshire Hospice. What Women Want is made up of Julie Barnes, Jo Millward, Elaine Burgess, Jayne Carter and Jill Harding who have spent the last decade fundraising tirelessly for the charity.
They have raised an amazing £270,000 during that time and the latest cheque for £40,000 was handed over to the Hospice during the evening.

Models strutted their stuff on the catwalk, displaying the latest High Street labels from Fuzzy Goose and Demand Attire.  All models have been affected by cancer, either themselves or a family member.Community choir Do Youth Thing provided top-class entertainment. There were also pop-up shops and a team of waiters ensured the drinks flowed and everything went smoothly.

Lisa Ball, Community Fundraiser at the Hospice, said: “Once again the What Women Want excelled themselves and they certainly know how to throw a party.

“Their dedication and commitment to the Hospice is quite staggering and they work so hard to support us. All the funds raised helps support patients in practical ways by purchasing much-needed equipment.
“We can’t thank them enough for their support and everyone who contributed towards making the fashion show such a success.”

A ball marking the What Women Want committee’s 10th anniversary raised £37,000 in November, taking the group’s total beyond the magical £250,000 target.

The group came together following a chat in the back of a taxi on the way to a charity event when the women realised that prizes at fundraising events were at the time too often aimed at men and not ‘what women want.’

The group has decided not to hold a ball this year while they take a Glastonbury-style break to recuperate.

Elaine Unthank’s Fundraising

Volunteer Elaine Unthank has a heart of gold after spending most of last year organising collections for East Cheshire Hospice.

She took up the challenge in memory of her brother Darren Harper (49) who died of sarcoma cancer in the Hospice in November 2016.

Darren worked at Spectus Windows in Macclesfield for more than 25 years.

Elaine, who helps at the charity’s shop on Chestergate, raised £4,191.79p from the collections which involved distributing cardboard boxes to countless businesses and households.

A further £559 was raised from a raffle as Elaine kept a promise to her brother that she would support the Hospice during its 30th anniversary celebrations as a thank you for helping him.

Elaine, from Macclesfield, said: “I was very close to my brother. He was a true gentleman and during his time as a Hospice inpatient, told me he wished he could have done something for them.

“I told him not to worry and promised to help the charity for their fantastic care. The nurses there loved him.

“The Hospice wouldn’t be here without such donations. It helps patients cope with their pain and supports the families.

“I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated through the raffle and collections. It wasn’t easy and a lot of hard work but well worth it.

“I’d like say a special thanks to the Co-op, B&M, and everyone at the Plough Inn.”

Art Fair 2019 – Volunteers

Art Fair Cheshire is on the lookout for volunteers to help at two special events to mark its 20th anniversary.

An exhibition at Macclesfield Town Hall (Thurs, Sept 26 to Thurs, Oct 3) will celebrate two decades of exhibiting and selling art for East Cheshire Hospice.

Highlights include artist-led tours, evening gallery events, plus guest speakers and workshops.

Volunteers have already come forward but more are needed to help as stewards, on reception and assist catering.

Stewards are also required for a major new artwork entitled Gathering which goes on display at the Mansion in Tatton Park from June 28 to Sept 29.

This spectacular installation will see red velvet and barbed wire suspended in the Mansion’s grand rotunda.

Artist Susie MacMurray has been collaborating with Hospice volunteers to create the thousands of individual elements, a project inspired partly by memories, mortality and loss.

Camilla Crockett, the Hospice’s Corporate and Community Relationships Manager, said: “Art Fair Cheshire is recognised as one of the region’s leading art events and has contributed more than £200,000 to the Hospice.

“Volunteers and potential sponsors are asked to come forward for both events. Helpers don’t necessarily need to know about art and all that matters is a desire to help the Hospice.”

Art Fair Cheshire, co-chaired by Steven Dalton and Georgie Johnson, has a new website

* Interested volunteers/sponsors can visit