Uncategorised Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

A huge success of this last year’s Santa Dash

Christmas may be a distant memory but fundraisers at East Cheshire Hospice are already gearing up for the next festive season.

The Hospice hopes thousands of youngsters will take part in Reindeer Rush, emulating the success of last year’s Santa Dash.

That raised a whopping £59,209, one of the biggest amounts in the event’s history.

Mark Whitwood (third from left) from Active Sport with Hospice staff.

Some 39 schools and other organisations took part in what has become the Hospice’s biggest mass participation event of the calendar.

Community and Events fundraiser Sarah Elvin said: “We can’t quite believe how much we’ve raised – it’s a crazy amount.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response from schools and groups who responded to the challenge of raising funds for patients, carers and their families.

“We had participants from across Cheshire and we’re so grateful for such amazing support. It is a giant community effort showing enormous love for the Hospice and what we do.”

Groups carried out various activities, including walking, running, swimming, dancing and a nature trail in one case. The event was sponsored by Active Sport for the second year running.

Sarah said: “We leave it up to the groups. It’s whatever works best for them. They can make it as flexible and inclusive as possible.

“There’s a different theme each year and next time it’s a Reindeer Rush. We’ll be inviting everyone to get involved again. We had an Elf Run a couple of years ago.”

A Huge Success at this Year’s Christmas Tree Collection!

What have a Bishop, a Mayor and Chaplain all got in common? The answer is they all took part in this year’s East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection.

They were among some 230 volunteers from all walks of life who helped gather more than 6,400 trees.

The 24th edition of the scheme went like clockwork once again, thanks to a well-drilled routine which raised another £150,000 for the Hospice.

Volunteers ready to start the Christmas tree collection.

A staggering £1.9m has been generated overall for the Hospice, leaving organisers on course to smash the £2m mark when the scheme celebrates its silver jubilee next year.

Macclesfield Mayor Cllr Chris Wilcock was on a mission, signing up as a volunteer after his late mum Lesley was a Hospice outpatient in 2015.

Cllr Wilcock said: “The Hospice is one of my chosen charities during my year of office and my mum is another reason I wanted to help. She was only 59 when she died of cancer.

Macclesfield Mayor Cllr Chris Wilcock and wife Katie, the Mayoress.

“She was treated at the Sunflower Centre and on the day she died was on her way here to become an inpatient.”

The Bishop of Stockport, Reverend Sam Corley, was also out and about collecting trees for delivery to the Ansa recycling plant in West Park and Swift Tree Services in Adlington.

Rev Corley said: “I’m one of several bellringers involved in this brilliant event. I couldn’t make it last year and am delighted I can be here this time.

Air Cadets (from left) Cpl Arthur Brough, Sgt Bill Martin, Sgt Millie Carlisle and Andrew Storer.   

“It’s a win-win – people get their trees collected and it raises money for a wonderful cause.

“The collection helps promote the work of the Hospice in the local community and there’s a real buzz among volunteers.”

Co-founder Richard Raymond said: “Yet again we’ve had an overwhelming response, both in terms of donations and volunteers whose amazing dedication makes this all possible.

Volunteer bellringers (from left) Nick and Graham Jenkins, Richard Raymond, Marcela Hall, David White and Rev Sam Corley.

 Workers at the Ansa recycling plant prepare to mulch the first tree delivery.

“The support of sponsors, led by AstraZenaca, covers costs meaning funds donated go directly to patient care.”

Richard and co-founder Pete Chapman will hold a debrief in the coming weeks as thoughts turn to how to mark the 25th year. One idea is to get everyone who has volunteered involved.

Volunteers collected trees over two days.  

Volunteers helping with refreshments included Hospice Chaplain Marion Tugwood and Air Cadets from 201 (Macclesfield) Squadron, whose Flt Lt Spike Elliott is a long-standing volunteer.

Organisers have advised other hospices on running their own collections and on the eve of this event provided route planning help for charities in Essex and Yorkshire.

It’s a wrap … volunteers enjoy a well-earned drink after the collection.

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 www.echtrees.org.uk.

Festive cards on sale at East Cheshire Hospice

To purchase Christmas cards please visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/support/christmas-cards.

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 furniture@echospice.org.uk.

Our new Community and Events team member

Two phone calls the same afternoon brought good news for Sarah Elvin.

First, she was told her application to adopt a puppy Rottweiler had been successful.

Then she found out she had landed a job as a community and events fundraiser with East Cheshire Hospice.

Now she is settled into her new role and 16-week-old Moose is growing quickly.

Sarah Elvin with partner Steven Cox and Moose.

Sarah said: “The Hospice is such a lovely place to work and everyone’s so nice. It’s a lot different to what I thought.

“You think of a Hospice and imagine a dark and sad place, but when I walked in for my interview it was bright and airy with flowers everywhere and pictures and everyone was so smiley and friendly.”

Sarah’s alarm call is her dog. She said: “Moose wakes me at 5.30 am each morning. He’s more than a handful and biting and chewing through everything but easy to train.

“I always wanted a dog and when I worked in hospitality for 13 years the hours weren’t really dog friendly.

Sarah Elvin, who has joined East Cheshire Hospice.

“I saw on Instagram one day that my local RSPCA had six puppies. I thought it was fate, so filled out a form and learned I’d been accepted the same day I had my Hospice interview.

“The Hospice rang me an hour after the RSPCA.”

Sarah was a waitress and became a chef, working in ski resorts and travelled the world before Covid.

She said: “I thought I’d better get a proper ‘grown up’ job so worked in marketing, but realised I wasn’t getting the satisfaction I got in hospitality and that was meeting people.

“I like making a difference to someone’s day. I didn’t want to go back into hospitality as it was too unsociable and when I saw the Hospice job come up and thought this is for me.

“I’m loving my new role. It’s not easy asking people to give up money but when you really believe in the cause it’s not that difficult. People have a lot of emotion for the Hospice and know they’re giving to a good cause.”

Sarah invariably ends her day in her kitchen. “My No 1 hobby is cooking and I spend two or three hours in the kitchen every single night. It’s never just a frozen pizza.

“I make everything from scratch and it’s how I unwind – I love it. Asian food is my speciality. Ramen, dumplings and sushi.”

Former team-mates continue to honour the memory of football fanatic Col Smith.

Former team-mates continue to honour the memory of football fanatic Col Smith.

The Macclesfield Parish manager died of cancer in 2020, aged 52.

Col Smith

Ever since, two teams he played for – Parish and St Peter’s which are part of the same club – have staged an annual charity match as a tribute.

The latest encounter at St George’s Park, Windmill Street, raised £278 for East Cheshire Hospice where Col spent his final days.

A close game ended in a 2-1 victory for St Peter’s which meant they retained the Col Smith Memorial Trophy.

Players from Macclesfield Parish and St Peter’s at this year’s memorial game. 

Col, of Higher Hurdsfield, was ill for 10 years but stayed involved with club which plays in the South Manchester and Cheshire Christian Football League.

He combined a passion for football with his deep love of the Christian faith and was a member of Bollington Life Church.

Parish manager David Mayers said: “We continue to stage the match in honour of our friend and former player and manager. St Peter’s lead the series 2-1 after a draw the first year.

“We don’t have to push the players to take part. They want to be part of it because a lot of them have friends or relatives who’ve been cared for by the Hospice.

“It’s a big part of many people’s lives in Macclesfield and we’re delighted to raise funds for such a good cause.”

The Cinema Show performance is back for 2023

Revisit the 1980s during a night of nostalgia at MADS Theatre in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

The decade’s iconic moments feature in a unique live music and film show staged by The Cinema Show on Saturday, October 14, at 7.30 pm.

Stand by for tributes to Live Aid, MTV and the dawn of the mobile phone age during ‘Living in the 80s.’

Fashion, sport, video games and the end of the cold war also feature.

The electronic group blend sound and film archives – shown on an old-style cinema screen – with music to create an original twist on the decade.

The Cinema Show performing.

Founder Doug Skelton said: “The 80s were an eclectic mix of music and our aim is to appeal to all different tastes with something for everyone.

“We want to create a party atmosphere and acknowledge some of the more emotive songs from a fascinating decade.”

Doug plays guitar and keyboard, with uncle Dave Skelton on drums and Beth Moss on piano and synths. Doug’s older sister Jacqui handles live sound arrangements for the show.

The group will release an album of their latest work, entitled ‘Superpower Games’, to coincide with the performance.

A blast from the past … 80s style.

The event is sponsored by Intersafety, a local family-run business, to mark the company’s 21st anniversary.

The Macclesfield-based company distributes personal protective equipment, clothing and workplace safety products.

Doug, head of digital marketing, said: “We’re aiming to raise £5,000 for the Hospice which is a superb cause. Everyone knows about the charity and its wonderful work in the community.

“It’s an ambitious target, but with the support of the public and our customers and suppliers we’re hoping to turn it into one of Macclesfield’s biggest music events this year.

“We performed at MADS last year and this show has since been refreshed and updated with energy and colour.

Dave Skelton and Doug Skelton.

“It’ll be a nostalgic audio-visual trip down memory lane for many and will hopefully have widespread appeal to a certain generation.

“We mix historical samples and commentary with modern music to create our songs. Related film archives and footage form the stage backdrop.

“Our family have connections to the Hospice with two family members patients there.”

The Cinema Show raised more than £1,700 for the Hospice from last year’s show.

* To buy tickets priced £9 (£5 for under-15s)  visit ticketsource.co.uk/the-cinema-show

Will you take on Fire and Ice walk this November?

Are you brave enough to walk over fire and broken glass?

The challenge is issued by East Cheshire Hospice which has organised Fire and Ice Walk 2023.

The tea time event is on Thursday, November 9 at a location to be decided. Participants can do both challenges or just one.

The hot coals walk has been a fixture on the fundraising calendar, but now the glass element has been introduced.

Hot work … Jean Ham (left) and sister Denise Fraser-King at last year’s Firewalk.

Daredevils aged 16 and over can take part and experts will hold a full indoor safety briefing beforehand.

Hospice fundraiser Claire Gorton said: “Walking on burning embers has been a popular activity for Hospice fundraisers and now we’ve added the thrilling option to walk on glass.

“It’s the ultimate mind over matter challenge and for those scared by the prospect, this is the perfect chance to overcome nerves and defeat your fears.”

Participants will receive a t-shirt and certificate. The two walks are £50,  with a single entry £30.

Claire said: “The registration fee only covers the cost of the event so we urge supporters to raise additional sponsorship which will go directly towards caring for patients.

“It costs more than £7,500 to keep the Hospice running for one day, so every penny raised is important.

“You can be assured that the impact your support will have on local families who can benefit from Hospice services at one of the most difficult and emotional times will be huge and greatly appreciated.”

To sign up visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/fire-and-ice-walk/

East Cheshire Hospice nurse becomes a video star

One of the newest nurses at East Cheshire Hospice has become a video star.

Lucy Roberts features in a ‘Day in the Life’ film explaining what it’s like to work on the ward.

The five-minute story is being sent to businesses to promote the charity’s 500 Club in which members pledge to raise £500 a year.

The camera started rolling within weeks of Lucy starting her job in January, shortly after she qualified.

Nurse Lucy Roberts during filming for an East Cheshire Hospice video.

Lucy studied a two-year masters degree at Chester University after working in care homes and getting a degree in health care.

Lucy said: “I did a 12-week placement here and fell in love with the Hospice. I quickly realised I wanted to work here and nurses and health care assistants encouraged me to apply when a vacancy came up.

“I seemed to fit in, they knew me and I felt supported. Ward clerk Julia Wild then put my name forward when the video idea came up.

“I wasn’t sure I could do it at first but knew it’d be good experience and really enjoyed making the film away from my shifts.”

Lucy narrates the film, giving an insight into her job. She said: “If you ask a nurse what a typical working day is like they’d probably just laugh at you.

“No day is typical in the health care world. Every day is different.

Morning briefing… Lucy with one of the student nurses.

“Most people enter the nursing profession to help heal patients, but for me it’s an honour to care for patients with terminal illnesses so they can pass away comfortably surrounded by their family.

“My shift starts early at 7.30 am and can finish 14 hours later. Our building is light, airy, full of smiles with a feeling of being at home.

“It can be a really stressful time for families so when we welcome a new patient and their family to the hospice our aim is to take as much anxiety away as possible.

“A big part of my day is talking to patients and family members about the care we provide.”

* For more details on joining the 500 Club and to watch the video visit  eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/500-club

Email queries to lisa.ball@echospice.org.uk.

Dementia Companion John Gray shares his story

Volunteer John Gray is hoping others follow in his footsteps by becoming a dementia companion for East Cheshire Hospice.

The retired engineer spends two hours a week going for a walk and a coffee with a dementia patient.

The Hospice needs more volunteers and John has a simple message for anyone tempted to help.

East Cheshire Hospice volunteer John Gray.

He said: “Give it a go. I find it extremely rewarding and it’s nice to give something back.”

John only started six months ago once renovations on his new home in Macclesfield were finished. He and wife Susan moved from St Helens to Macclesfield to be closer to their daughter.

He said: “When we were finally settled in the house I thought it was time I did some volunteering and contacted the Hospice.

“The man I go out with has become a friend. His short-term memory isn’t good but we manage fine and he brings his dog along. We always fit a coffee stop into our route.

“The break gives his wife who cares for him valuable respite and an opportunity to do something else for a couple of hours.

“I’d recommend getting involved and I know the Hospice are keen to recruit more dementia companions.

“The support from the Hospice is fantastic. They help you every step of the way.” John is also a ward volunteer for the charity.

Angela O’Mahony, from the Hospice volunteering team, said: “We’re looking for friendly, caring people willing to give a few hours every week to offer companionship to someone experiencing dementia. Volunteers are given full training and support.

“Caring for someone can be a tough job and wearing no matter how much we love them. Both the carer and the person experiencing dementia will benefit from a change of scene once a week.

“Every case varies with different circumstances, but it’s about connecting with that person. Our volunteers love working with people, it’s interesting and rewarding.

“We rely heavily on our volunteers and without them the Hospice wouldn’t be here.”

* Contact Angela on 01625 610364, or email angela.omahony@echospice.org.uk

National Volunteers Week has been running in the first week of June. The Hospice has a team of 375 volunteers who do a range of roles working at the charity’s headquarters and in the community.