Hospice appeal: Power of the people

OVER the last 24 months The Comet and its readers have been working together to raise money for a wonderfully deserving cause. The Garden House Hospice, in Gillison Close, Letchworth GC, provides specialist, palliative care and support for patients suffer

OVER the last 24 months The Comet and its readers have been working together to raise money for a wonderfully deserving cause.

The Garden House Hospice, in Gillison Close, Letchworth GC, provides specialist, palliative care and support for patients suffering from incurable cancer or motor neurone disease.

As a charity the hospice relies on donations by fundraisers and well-wishers to help with running costs.

As our charity of the year for two consecutive years, the hospice needed donations more than ever to help fund the new Sir Nigel Hawthorne centre, which is being built to provide purpose built day hospice facilities for out-patients and therapy treatments.


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Our readers dug deep into their pockets and have helped to raise £80,000 towards this centre, which is now set to open in March 2007.

From pub race nights to cross-European car journeys, the number of fundraising events has been phenomenal.

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And although in 2007 we will have a new charity of the year, the hospice still needs your support.

Plans are afoot to extend and improve in-patient accommodation which will cost the centre around £500,000.

The aim of this new phase, in the words of hospice manager Jenny Lupton, is to "make sure that we are able to continue to provide hospice care for the local community in a building that will meet the needs of patients with a terminal illness in the future".

So although the last 24 months have been magnificent, please continue to give generously to a very worthwhile cause.

* Volunteers from the East and North Herts branch of the Federation of Small Businesses have added to the hospice's kitty by presenting a donation of £425 following a raffle at their annual business to business dinner at Knebworth.

* The manager of the Garden House Hospice, Jenny Lupton, has thanked The Comet and its readers in this message:

"We have been very grateful to the Comet for raising awareness of the work of the hospice and our need to extend and improve the building.

"We are looking forward to the Sir Nigel Hawthorne Centre opening in March of next year - this will give us a purpose built day hospice and facilities for out-patients and therapy treatments.

"Raising these funds alongside the £1m we need to keep the doors of the hospice open for those who need our care has been a real challenge. The Comet readers have been wonderful in their response to the appeal.

"It has been very encouraging to know how much our local community believes in the need for hospice care and how much they want our patients to have access to the support that we are able to provide at Garden House.

"We hope that the local community will continue to support us as we move into the next phase of fundraising to extend and improve the in-patient accommodation - currently there is £500,000 to raise.

"Our aim is to make sure that we are able to continue to provide hospice care for the local community in a building that will meet the needs of patients with a terminal illness in the future."

* Another £1,800 was raised at a charity ball by other fundraisers.

However, although Ashley's Ball, held at Letchworth Rugby Club, has raised more than £10,000 for the hospice over the past seven years, it has been decided that this year was the last time the ball would be held for the next few years.

Next year it will merge with the rugby club's annual ball and proceeds will go to a local charity yet to be designated.

* A charity gig has helped raise over £1,800 for the hospice.

Organised by Andrew Budge, Lee Strickland, Adam Bull and Stephen Lay, and with help from Club 85 in Hitchin, the gig on December 9 was a sell-out and broke the venue's fundraising records.

The gig was arranged as a friend of the organisers, Chris Wade, died at the hospice in August after a two year fight against cancer.

My Pet Junkie, My Passion, Fruition, Frog Stupid, The Vicious Cabaret and Look See Proof were the bands who gave up their time to play on the night.

* SHOPPERS are going crackers in their bid to help raise money for the hospice.

Customers at Hawkins, in Bucklersbury, Hitchin, have a one in four chance of winning a Hawkins voucher, worth £1 to £25, when they buy a Christmas cracker for £1 in the store this festive season.

Store director Peter Hawkins said: "Hawkins department store is delighted to be working with the Garden House Hospice on their fundraising.

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