Fundraising Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Musical Director Kath Ibbotson retires from Claritas Choir

Claritas, The East Cheshire Hospice Choir, hopes to give Musical Director Kath Ibbotson a rousing farewell at their Christmas concert.

Kath retires at Easter to spend more time with her family after leading the choir for almost 12 years.

Kath Ibbotson, who is retiring as Musical Director of Claritas Choir. 

As the search begins for her replacement, the choir will perform at the United Reformed Church, Park Green, on Thursday, December 14, from 7.30 pm.

The programme features carols and Christmas songs old and new.  Tickets (£8 adults, £5 under 18s) are available from the Tourist Information Centre, choir members, or on the door with refreshments available.

Claritas Choir which is preparing for its Christmas concert.

Committee member Marian Mackay said: “Kath is a hard act to follow, but we’re hoping there’s someone out there who’d like to lead Claritas forward in 2024.

“Claritas would like to record our thanks to Kath for her hard work and unstinting dedication to the choir. She has built the choir up from a small group singing a cappella, to a membership of around 50 singing in three/four-part harmony, accompanied by pianist Hilary Balsdon.

“Our repertoire has increased significantly during Kath’s musical directorship, allowing us to perform more challenging music and increase the number of fundraising concerts. In recent years the choir has donated more than £45,000 to the Hospice.”

“Although Claritas will never be the same without Kath, our loyalty to the Hospice means we’re determined to continue singing.” New members are welcome with rehearsals weekly during term time. Visit for more details.

Anyone interested in replacing Kath should email

Christmas Tree Collection 2024 countdown is on!

The countdown is under way to the trail-blazing East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection scheme which is proving an inspiration to other charities.

Registrations are open for the 24th edition of the event over the weekend of January 13/14.

Around 130 other hospices now run similar fundraising schemes inspired by the East Cheshire Hospice model which is believed to be the largest volunteer-led Christmas tree collection in the world.

Volunteers ready to start the Christmas tree collection last January.

The scheme, sp0nsored by AstraZeneca, has raised more than £1.75m after another £150,000 was generated for patient care last winter.

Co-founders Pete Chapman and Richard Raymond have been out and about again advising other hospices since the last of nearly 7000 trees were recycled on their scheme in January.

Richard said: “It’s all systems go for us again in 2024 and hopefully the collection is just as popular.

“The other schemes started from our original idea and the inspiration we’ve given to them is the icing on the cake for us.

“Many have been in touch with us. This year for example, Pete and I have been to Leeds and Chesterfield and we had a Zoom call with a hospice in Scotland. I also went down to Harrow and Wealdstone and talked to them.

“Our message is that it’s an innovative piece of fundraising at a really important time of the year for hospices and you can build it to what you want.

Christmas tree scheme co-founders Richard Raymond (left) and Pete Chapman.

“The scheme has many spin-offs. It brings new volunteers to the hospice movement and obviously raises funds which is the crucial thing.

“There’s also the recycling element with the eco-friendly benefits, while it reaches out into the community and forms partnerships with commercial concerns.

“The other hospices think it’s a great idea and in many cases they’ve just needed the impetus and confidence. If they hit a snag, we’re on the end of a phone or email to answer any questions and point them in the right direction.”

Post codes covered by East Cheshire Hospice volunteers are once again CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16. Collection vans will leave the Hospice in staggered starts.

Sponsorship by local business means all donations go straight to the Hospice. Organisers are already considering how to celebrate the 25th anniversary in 2025.

*To register visit

A host of happy memories on Trek Camino

Walker Lorna Barratt was left with wet boots and blisters and a host of happy memories from her Spanish pilgrimage.

She was part of an 18-strong party from East Cheshire Hospice which raised more than £70,000 from a five-day trek along the famous Camino Trail.

Every step was made in heavy rain with flooding near the finish in Santiago de Compostela, but it did not deter the plucky fundraisers.

Lorna, from Macclesfield, has close links with the Hospice, having spent more than four years there as a palliative care social worker.

After retiring last year, she now volunteers at the monthly MND Wellbeing Days.

Lorna said: “I loved the social work role and only stopped because my own mum Elizabeth was poorly and needed end-of-life care herself. I worked with the multi-disciplinary team identifying families who needed support.”

She volunteered for the trip after seeing an advert in the Hospice reception.

* Lorna Barrett on the Camino Trail.

She said: “Everyone was walking in memory of someone the Hospice had cared for and our group formed a supportive and close bond.

“It was very wet with torrential rain on the last day and the flooding was all over the news.

“We all had to dig deep walking an average of 15 miles a day, but it was a special trip and quite spiritual for many of us.

“We picked up donations along the way, including airport check-in staff and the lady exchanging currency. The outpouring of support for the Hospice is incredible and so heartening.”

Lorna’s walk was in memory of fireman Barry Axon, a close friend who was cared for in the Hospice.

She said: “Barry was well cared for, as were his family. The Hospice put its arms around the family as it does for all families in their care.

Walkers on their trek through northern Spain.

“Barry was a big walker and this was something he’d have done. He also had great faith, a pilgrimage in memory of Barry was a privilege.

“The MND group which meets on the fourth Friday of the month were also in my thoughts and indeed many contributed to my fundraising. Despite the sadness of a diagnosis of MND, there’s a lot of joy within that day.

“It’s like a one-stop shop of support and information with outside speakers offering advice. Patients and carers also get a lot of support from each other.”

* To donate to the Camino fund visit

Remember someone special and get into the Christmas spirit at a Light Up A Life service

Remember someone special and get into the Christmas spirit at a Light Up A Life service on Saturday, December 2, starting at 4 pm.

The half-hour service organised by East Cheshire Hospice is held at the United Reformed Church, Macclesfield.

Tickets are not required and afterwards attendees can browse stalls selling festive items and handmade goods while enjoying a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine.

Hospice supporter Georgia Leah and daughter Ruby beside the Tree of Memories.

The service, which includes a short address from Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston, is conducted by Chaplain Marion Tugwood who joined the Hospice a year ago.

A traditional Tree of Memories will shine brightly in the Hospice Chapel again this year.

Supporters are invited to dedicate a bauble to remember someone special and donate to the Hospice.

Amy Williams, the Hospice’s Family and Friends Fundraising Co-ordinator said: “The service of remembrance is a beautiful way to join together to remember those who mean the most.

“We’re hoping people will stay with us afterwards to get into the spirit of Christmas with the opportunity to buy goods to support the Hospice.

“The personalised baubles are also a way of remembering. Donations help us to continue to care and support patients, not just at Christmas but whenever they need it most.”

* To dedicate a bauble email or call 01625 665688 or visit

The BIG Quiz Night success

Where is the latest venue to host a quiz in aid of East Cheshire Hospice?

Full marks if the answer is AstraZeneca on Charter Way, Macclesfield, where 34 teams tackled brain teasers set by the charity’s quiz support group.

Quiz experts Waters Green Weavers came out on top, finishing three points clear of their nearest challengers.

Entrants included hosts AZ and other businesses, plus Marlborough Primary School the regular quiz venue.

Quiz 2 – The triumphant Waters Green Weavers team.

Twice as many teams took part due to a bigger capacity at AZ, which has the Hospice as one of its chosen charities.

Co-host Paul Morrissey, an ex-AZ employee and Hospice Vice President, said : “Initially we wondered whether we’d get enough teams to fill the space at AZ, but the fact we got so many teams was amazing and we even had to turn teams away on the morning of the quiz.

“We wanted a bigger venue so we could attract more teams and we succeeded in that.

Quiz teams ready to do battle at AstraZeneca.

“It’s no reflection whatsoever on Marlborough who’re also fantastic hosts. We have around three quizzes a year and our summer event which tends to be less well attended due to holidays makes Marlborough the perfect location.”

The quiz raised £5,000 with the next edition planned for early next year.

Hospice fundraiser Carley Macey said: “The quiz group have been running these fun nights for several years and once again there was a terrific response from supporters. We’d especially like to thank AstraZeneca for their help.”

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.”

Memory Tree official opening

The first names have been engraved on leaves on a Memory Tree in the gardens of East Cheshire Hospice.

Each leaf is dedicated to the memory of someone special, even if they have no link to the charity.

The metal sculpture was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by families who have joined the scheme.

It was held beside the Memory Tree which is located in a discreet peaceful setting and easily accessible without entering the building.

The Hospice is hoping others will follow suit by dedicating leaves to lost loved ones. The subscription cost is £10 a month, or £120 a year.

A total of 400 leaves are available with the name of a loved one engraved along with a message if desired.

Representatives from AstraZeneca, whose employees gifted the new memorial, attended the unveiling.

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “The Memory Tree is a personal triumph for me. I’ve been with the Hospice for 10 years and when I first came I thought it was something we should have.

AstraZeneca employee representative Katie Morelli cuts the ribbon to open the Memory Tree watched by colleague Guy Camm (left) and Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston and Chair of the Trustee Board Will Spinks.

“I want to thank those who’ve bought inaugural leaves and hopefully their kind gesture will encourage others to do the same to raise vital funds for the Hospice.

“I want to thank the gardeners who’ve created such a special place. We found during Covid that people needed a space to come and enjoy the quiet.

“We couldn’t have a more supportive partner than AstraZeneca who’ve been synonymous with the Hospice since before we existed when we were just a plot of land.”

Guy Camm, AZ’s Macclesfield Campus FM Development Manager, said: “The Memory Tree represents a fantastic long-lasting way to remember those no longer here and we’re privileged to be involved in this project.

“Our relationship with the Hospice goes back many years and there’s a special bond between AZ employees and the charity.

“As charity partners, the Hospice work with integrity and they innovate – the level of care they provide to the local community is unbelievable and we thank you for everything that you do.”

Hospice Chaplain Marion Tugwood said: “Today we dedicate this tree to the memory of those we have loved and lost and we give thanks for those who have facilitated its place here. We rejoice in the memory that our loved ones are still with us.”

* To sign up to the Memory Tree visit

For queries, contact or call 01625 665688.

Hospice Chaplain takes on Fire and Ice Walk

East Cheshire Hospice Chaplain Marion Tugwood is the latest to accept the brave challenge of a Fire and Ice Walk.

There are still a few spaces left if you can pluck up the courage to tread on hot coals and broken glass.

There is a choice of one or both challenges on Thursday, November 9, at Macclesfield Rugby Club.

Hospice Chaplain Marion Tugwood who is tackling a Fire and Ice Walk.

Funeral director Richard Morrey persuaded Marion to take part. He said: “I know Marion very well and encouraged her to get out of her high heels and walk on hot coals.”

Marion said: “I’m happy to take up the challenge, especially as the event is about raising funds for the Hospice. In for a penny in for a pound, so I’ll be doing both the Fire and Ice walks.”

Richard did the fire challenge in 2018. He said: “It was wonderful. The coaching instructor was amazing and we felt so invigorated by the end of his talk.

“They explained everything during the safety briefing and said that it won’t hurt and doesn’t burn. The advice is just to follow their simple rules.

Last year’s Fire Walk at East Cheshire Hospice.   


“I’ve watched a couple of You Tube videos of glass walks and trust the staff organising it. I’ll believe everything they tell me.

“It’s a question of mind over matter basically and putting one foot in front of the other and being careful.”

* To enter the Fire and Ice walks visit

Rick Pulvertaft’s channel swim success!

Heroic Rick Pulvertaft felt as though he was swimming against the tide for much of his life.

He lost his parents before he was 24 and both older sisters in the last few years.

So swimming the Channel was a personal triumph for Rick, who raised more than £6,700 for East Cheshire Hospice.

His swim from a beach near Dover to headland between Calais and Boulogne almost did not happen.

Full steam ahead … Rick on his 21-mile crossing.  

Bad weather twice left him stranded on shore before he got the go ahead and completed the 21-mile crossing in just under 13 hours.

Rick, from Macclesfield, said: “It was a roller-coaster ride emotionally as I was at the mercy of the weather.

“Twice I went to Kent to be told it was postponed. I was gutted when the organisers said they’d give me my money back.

“In a twist of fate, a window of good weather opened and it was amazing.

“I described it like a victory parade. The sea was like a piece of glass it was so calm.

“I felt so lucky to swim the Channel and was almost in a trance.

Pic 2 – Rick Pulvertaft ready for his Channel swim.

“I didn’t feel any pain despite swinging my arms around for so long. I’d done all the hard work with my training and nutrition over the last two years, so it wasn’t as difficult as I thought.”

The sense of satisfaction was even greater for Rick after his family’s struggle with alcoholism.

His father Dr Tom Pulvertaft (59) died of liver cirrhosis in 1996; he also lost sisters Kate (56) and Janthea (49) to alcoholism, while nephew Kavan died in 2019 after three years in a coma after he tried to take his own life.

Mum Dee (61) was due to enter the Hospice in 2009 but died of skin cancer before she got there.

Rick, a kitchen designer and salesman, said: “Alcohol has devastated my family and it has been hard watching members of my family slowly kill themselves. The feeling of helplessness is even harder.”

Rick turned to drink for many years but will celebrate two years alcohol-free in December.

He said: “I chose to raise money for the Hospice because they were there for us and ready to help. The work they do for the families of loved ones with life-limiting illnesses is a light in this world that needs our help to keep shining.”

To sponsor Rick visit


East Cheshire Hospice honoured team members at its long-service staff awards

East Cheshire Hospice honoured team members at its first long-service staff awards since Covid.

Lady Alexis Redmond MBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, presented certificates to staff at the celebration event at The Tytherington Club.

Hospice Trustee Board members, including Chair Will Spinks, attended the ceremony, along with Chief Executive Karyn Johnston.

Lady Redmond congratulated staff on their commitment to palliative care, while Will recognised that collectively they had amassed 175 years of service to patients and families.

Sarah Mills, a nurse for more than 20 years and now part of the Hospice @Home bank team, was among recipients.

Sarah Mills (centre) receives her long service award from Lady Redmond MBE, Lord- Lieutenant of Cheshire, and Will Spinks, Chair of the Hospice Trustee Board.

Staff celebrate at the long service awards at Tytherington.

Sunflower Centre nurse Joan-Marie Williams and Loretta Eason, an assistant there after starting as a nurse on the inpatient unit, were recognised for 15 years of service.

Awards for 10 years went to Clinical Co-ordinator Gill Tomlinson; Finance Director Shelley Seabourne and Supporter Care and Lottery Manager Carol Frain.

Reaching five years’ service were:

* Helen Singleton, from the Hospice @Home Rapid Response Service.

* Helena Smith, Voluntary Services and Community Befriending Lead.

* Susan Robinson, Healthcare Assistant.

* Amanda Stell, Finance Officer.

* Hannah George, Hospice @Home Sister.

* Helen Wilkinson, Adult Bereavement Services Lead.

* Jackie Harding, Supporter Care Assistant, Income Generation.

* Caroline Allen, Skills Support HCA.

* Conor Stubbs, Head of IT.

* Lisa Powell, Clinical Co-ordinator.

* April Green, Key Relationships Manager.

* Sharon Hurley, Sunflower Centre development.

* Louise Gorton, Handforth Shop Manager.

Accordionist John Jones was also recognised for fundraising over more than 30 years.