Donations Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

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

Business owner Ben Simpkin saw how he could help East Cheshire Hospice

Business owner Ben Simpkin saw how he could help East Cheshire Hospice during visits to see his late father.

He donated two sophisticated medical trolleys, products his company supplies to hospitals and health centres.

Hospice nursing staff liked the essential equipment so much they asked for a quote to buy another one.

Ben happily agreed to their request but would not take any payment. The extra trolley is for use in the Sunflower Living Well Centre.

Ben Simpkin with healthcare assistant Anita Hoskins and one of the trolleys.

It was the least he could do for the way they looked after his father, Howard, who died of pancreatic cancer in September, aged 79.

Ben is MD of MS Group, a holding company trading also as Zarges Medical UK. It supplies the medical industry with furniture and storage equipment.

He is following in the footsteps of his dad who set up the company in 1978 and lived in Adlington.

Ben said: “The company was dad’s life work and we’re carrying on that tradition. During hospital stays in his last two years, we’d discuss the furniture in there and laugh about how he could sell them something.

“He spent his last three days in the Hospice and while I was wandering through the corridors one night I saw their existing trolleys.

“I asked them if they’d like two new ones. They were most grateful and more than happy to accept my offer. They rang to ask for a price for another trolley, but it’s hard to charge a place like that for anything so we’ve donated three altogether.

“The trolleys are top of the range, flexible and can store everything from bandages to syringes.

“The way the Hospice cared for my dad was unbelievable. They couldn’t have done any more or been any nicer. I can’t repay them for what they did, but it made sense to help them with any little contribution we can.”

Helen Henshaw, manager of the Hospice’s Sunflower Living Well Centre, said: “Ben’s generosity not only honours his father’s memory but also contributes significantly to our ability to offer compassionate, high-quality care.

“These trolleys are much more than just equipment. They’re a vital part of our daily efforts to provide gold standard care and our nurses love them.

“We’re deeply thankful for the ongoing support which helps us make a real difference to the lives of those we care for.”

Barry Oldfield sets a new personal goal for this years Starlight Walk

Completing next month’s Starlight Walk will be an achievement in itself for grandfather Barry Oldfield.

Ill health will force him to take things easy as he strolls round woodland at Capesthorne Hall on Thursday, April 18.

It will be an emotional journey for Barry as he honours the memory of wife June who died of cancer in January 2021, aged 58.

Barry and June Oldfield on their wedding day in 1980.

He won’t be lacking support, though. Sons Barry, Paul and Andrew are joining him for the popular walk organised by East Cheshire Hospice.

Hundreds of other walkers will take part, many also remembering lost loved ones.

Barry, from Macclesfield, said: “I’m not very well, but I thought I’d give it another go after doing the walk with Barry and Paul last year.

“Andrew is also coming along this time to help. My health is getting worse and I have difficulty breathing due to COPD, osteoarthritis in my knees and neuropathy in my hands and feet.

Happier times … June and Barry on holiday.

“Last year we managed two laps, though it took us a long time to get round. My aim this time to get round the 2.5k course once.

“In a way, it’d be an achievement to do that.

“The atmosphere at the event is superb and that helps me. I’ll be thinking of June and the nurses who did such a fantastic job caring for her.”

June died within months of diagnosis and overcame Covid during a hospital stay. Once home, she was looked after by the East Cheshire Hospice @ Home palliative care team.

June was a long-time care team leader at Ingersley Court, Bollington,

Barry said: “The nurses were brilliant as were all her carers. The Hospice nurses looked after me as well. After June died, they still came to see me to make sure I was alright.”

Barry was an army veteran for 34 years, retiring in 2012 to drive a refuse lorry for Cheshire East Council.

The Hospice is still inviting entries for the walk. Gates open at 6 pm with the walk from 7 pm.

Barry Oldfield with Hospice fundraiser Amy Williams.

Participants can walk the route as often as they wish. Lighting, lanterns, fire pits, points of reflection and other features to enjoy along the way.

Entry is £22.50 and £17.50 for under 16s. To enter visit the Hospice website.

Walkers are encouraged to raise funds for the Hospice to help fund the care of patients.

There will be live entertainment with food and drink stalls.

The Hospice lottery approaches 30th anniversary

The East Cheshire Hospice lottery is still going as strong as ever as it approaches its 30th anniversary.

More than 6,500 tickets are sold each week for scheme which has raised around £5m since it began in 1995.

Tickets still cost just £1 a week with a random lucky winner receiving a surprise phone call every Tuesday morning to break the news they have won the £1,000 jackpot.

There are also 22 other cash prizes, including a second prize of £200 which is currently rolled over at £1,400.

Lottery income covers the cost of running the Sunflower Centre one day a week.

Hospice staff (from left) Celia Stanley, Louise Ball and Amy Williams with scratch cards.

Lottery manager Carol Frain said: “Our lottery gets amazing support and has done ever since it started. We get some really nice reactions from winners.

“The scheme is such an important fundraiser for the Hospice and we’d like to thank everyone for their wonderful support.

“Many of our supporters have been playing our lottery since the beginning and I suppose it’s an easy and inexpensive way to support the Hospice on a regular basis.

“We’re always on the lookout for new players who can enter via our website.”

Visit Most players pay by direct debit at £4.34 monthly.

Scratch cards are also a steady source of income for the charity. Cards are £1 and can win up to £200.

Carol said: “The scratch cards have been a welcome addition to our portfolio and are popular at Christmas and as wedding favours.”

Will Month in October raised £11,373 for East Cheshire Hospice

Allowing a month to get a will written rather than a week provided a major fundraising boost for East Cheshire Hospice.

The Hospice’s Will Month in October raised £11,373, excluding Gift Aid which is expected to take the total to more than £13,000.

It is the highest total raised by the campaign in five years, beating the £9,424 generated in the Covid year of 2020.

Beth England, from East Cheshire Hospice, with Joe Etherington, from Moneybox Wills and Trusts.

Beth England, Individual Giving Manager at the Hospice, said: “The campaign running for a full month, instead of a week, was the main reason for the increase, and the average donation was higher than before.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part and kindly donated, and the participating organisations who made it a success through their generous dedication of time and ongoing support of the Hospice.”

Stratford Solicitors, GPW Tax and Law and Moneybox Wills and Trusts completed 55 appointments. Moneybox, based in Tytherington, raised £5,896, excluding Gift Aid, from 24 clients.

Joe Etherington, the firm’s Head of Wills and Trusts, said: “Many of those who saw us had personal links with the Hospice one way or another. It was a fantastic result all-round and we’re delighted to have played a part in the campaign’s success.

“The fact it was Will Month made a massive difference – you can see a lot more people in four weeks than one.” *

* For more details on legacies email, or call 01625 433477.

Celebration of Life Dinner huge success in memory of family members

A celebration party thrown by Jason and Linda Walker turned into a major fundraiser for East Cheshire Hospice.

A dinner at Hilltop Country House in Prestbury raised £15,500 thanks to the generosity of friends and business pals.

More than 150 guests toasted the wonderful work of hospices, including around 20 staff from East Cheshire invited as a thank you for their work.

Jason, who runs a digital marketing company, got the idea when he saw a sign at the Hospice while visiting his late mum Pauline.

It highlighted that the charity needs to raise £7,500 a day to keep its doors open and Jason and wife Linda could not resist helping.

Supporters at the celebration dinner. Jason Walker is far right and wife Linda is sixth from the right.  

He said: “Mum was in there more than eight weeks early last year and I saw the sign while having a coffee in the visiting room. Mum said she wanted to pass away in a Hospice.

“They’re the most amazing places – you expect them to be sad and morbid but they’re jolly and wonderful.”

The owners of Hilltop provided the venue and staff without charge and threw in drinks and bar profits.

Food costs were covered by business sponsors Jleaf, MKP Developments, Platinum Independent Financial Services and Higgins Miller Solicitors.

Hospice guests (back, from left) Julie Whalley, Tanya Harrington, Joan Marie Williams, Margaret Black, Tracey Pearce, Helen Henshaw, Angela Dooley and Loretta Eason. Front, Victoria Sayers and Sharon Hurley. 

That meant all proceeds from ticket sales went to the Hospice. Bands Living on iO and North Room, photographer David Murch, videographer Lana Johnson and florists Taylor Made Blooms all donated their services for free.

Jason, whose late father-in-law Roy was also a Hospice patient, said: “It was a case of beg, steal and borrow what we could to raise as much as possible for the Hospice.

“Most guests knew of someone close who has been in the Hospice and it was a way to celebrate their lives.

“We’d have been happy to have raised enough for one day’s care, but to cover the cost of two was amazing.”

Hilltop chefs (from left) Simon Osbourne, Paul Merrett and Iain Winnard who looked after guests at a Hospice fundraiser.  

“We’d like to thank Hilltop and our other sponsors for their magnificent generosity to make it such a huge success. Everyone was happy to get involved and we’re already being asked when the next event is taking place.”

Hilltop sales and marketing executive Olivia Heath said: “Our country house and marquee is a beautiful 17th century setting for weddings and events and it was a pleasure to host this party for such a wonderful cause.”

9,000 young participants took part in this years Santa Dash

Swimming, dancing and even a nature trail … children found all sorts of ways to support East Cheshire Hospice’s latest fundraising initiative.

Almost 9,000 youngsters took part in a Santa Dash, sponsored by Active Sport for the second year running.

Pupils from Beech Hall School took a cold dip to help East Cheshire Hospice.

Organisers are still receiving sponsorship with donations expected to match last year’s sum of almost £47,000.

Volunteers from Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP have been helping the Hospice process donations.

Fundraisers from King’s School join in the fun.  

Some 39 schools or other organisations took part, making it the biggest mass participation event run by the Hospice during the year.

Community and Events co-ordinator Claire Gorton said: “Once again we’ve had terrific support for this simple fun festive event.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response from schools and groups who’ve been inspired to raise funds for a great local cause.

“Participants come from all over east Cheshire and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s taken part or has helped with sponsorship.

Parkroyal Community School take part in the Santa Dash.

“We mix it up each time with a different theme. It was an Elf Run last year and next Christmas it’ll be a Reindeer Rush. We leave it up to groups to make it as flexible and inclusive as they can.

“One school like to boogie. Some swim, walk, run and we’ve even had a nature trail. We’re happy with whatever works for them as a group.”

Active Sport led pupils at Parkroyal Community School in a warm-up after they won a competition as early bird entrants.

Generous philanthropists have donated £300,000 to East Cheshire Hospice

Two of the country’s most generous philanthropists have donated £300,000 to East Cheshire Hospice.

Billionaires Julia and Hans Rausing have already given an initial £100,000 grant, with the same amount due in each of the next two years.

It is part of an £8.7m grant from the couple to 27 hospices nationwide to help them meet the significant increase in day-to-day running costs, caused by inflation and high energy prices.

The Hospice has benefitted because of its Cheshire post code, as has St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford.

Hans and Julia Rausing who have made a large donation to East Cheshire Hospice.

Julia’s roots are in the county and she is a keen supporter of charities in the area.

She was brought up at Doddington Hall, her family’s 35,000-acre estate near Nantwich, by her father Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton and mother Helen Mary Shore, a barrister.

Her husband Hans is the grandson of the founder of the food packaging giant Tetra Pak.

The Rausings donate around £50m a year to organisations working in health and wellbeing, welfare and education and arts and culture.

Julia and Hans said: “The rising cost of living has left hospices in a perilous financial position. We know many are receiving fewer or smaller donations than in previous years, so we hope that these grants can be a lifeline, enabling these wonderful hospices to continue providing care and support in their communities across the UK.”

Rachel Allcock, Income Generation Director at East Cheshire Hospice, said: “We extend our heartfelt thanks to Julia and Hans Rausing for their extraordinary generosity and for championing the cause of hospice care.

“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude and this significant contribution will help us enhance our services and make a meaningful difference to the lives of patients and families.

“Julia and Hans are beacons of kindness and their support will resonate for years to come, bringing comfort and solace to those facing challenging times.

“East Cheshire Hospice faces severe economic challenges like the rest of the hospice sector and we rely on the goodwill of donors whether their support is large or small.

“It has been a particularly tough few years for us financially with the pandemic, soaring energy costs and a rise in the general cost of living.

“Yet despite these setbacks, we continue to serve our community with the highest possible standards of palliative care.”

Festive cards on sale at East Cheshire Hospice

To purchase Christmas cards please visit

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping for another merry Christmas selling festive cards.

The charity raises around £20,000 each year from supporters buying packs of 10 cards for £4 and pocket diaries for £2.

They are available at Hospice shops in Thornton Square and Chestergate in Macclesfield, plus its Handforth and Poynton outlets.

Libraries at Macclesfield and Wilmslow and Knutsford Cinema are also selling them until Saturday Dec 9.

Hospice volunteer Caroline Taylor (left) with commercial manager Louise Delany.

Cards are also available from the Hospice reception, the Hospice website and via leaflets sent to supporters. Postal sales incur an admin charge.

Commercial Manager Louise Delany said: “Our Christmas cards are always big sellers and a great way to support the Hospice.

“They’re excellent quality with nice designs and we’d urge customers to hurry up and buy them as certain designs sell out quickly.”

The Hospice is enjoying another healthy retail year with high demand for items donated by supporters.

Louise said: “The support from customers and donors is amazing. Long may that continue because every pound generated goes directly to the care of patients, their families and carers.

“Staff put in a tremendous amount of hard work, going above and beyond. Social media posts help and our shops are full of a variety of goods, from a £1 rail up to designer wear.

“Furniture is always a good seller and we’d like more if possible. We offer free collection and also carry out house clearances.”

* For further details call 07917 942273 or email

The first subscriber to the Memory Tree

The first subscriber to the Memory Tree scheme was Susan Washburn who was happy to support East Cheshire Hospice.

Susan will never forget how the charity helped her mum Mae Crandle who died in January, aged 89.

Susan said: “Mum was an inpatient for more than two weeks. She would have liked to have come home from hospital, but it would have been too difficult to look after her.

“Hospital was great, but the Hospice was a big change and staff could spend more time with mum.

“Mum loved looking out into the courtyard here and I think the Memory Tree is a brilliant idea. The gardens are so nice.”

Susan stayed in an adjoining room, supported by daughters Flora and Katie and family friend Nathan Azubuike.

Susan Washburn and daughter Katie by the Memory Tree.

Mae, from Glasgow, worked on the computer help desk at the National Nuclear Corporation in Knutsford.

Susan said: “I could hear nurses talking to her and it was just like she was their mum. It was just incredible and so perfect.

“But it wasn’t just the nursing staff. Everyone was so helpful, including volunteers and cleaners.

“You can take home your leaf after a year, but we’ll keep it on the tree forever.”

Daughter Katie said: “I wasn’t sure I’d want to come back here because it was where my gran died, but I’ve lots of good memories because of how kind the nurses were.

“They got to know her and us and really cared about her. It’s nice to be back.”