St Catherine’s Hospice is urging people to take on a new challenge and raise vital cash for the charity which cares for terminally ill people.
A charity spokesman said: “Whether you’re a star baker, have a creative talent, want to test your knowledge with a virtual quiz, or have an upcoming celebration where you could ask family and friends to donate instead of sending you a gift, your support will make a difference to terminally ill people in your community when it matters most.”
Two people who are already doing their own fundraising to support St Catherine’s are Laura Sykes and Wendy Buckingham.
Laura Sykes, from Horsham, is nearing the end of a fundraising challenge to swim 21 miles, the distance from Dover and Calais, in 21 days.
She said: “I’m a swimmer. I always have been, always will be! The water is my happy place. When I’m in the water troubles seem to melt away.
“Over the last year I’ve begun to explore open water swimming in lakes and in the sea. With lockdown restrictions in place for a third time, to continue swimming I had to be creative, so I bought a heated garden pool in January.”
Laura has been swimming the distance from Dover to Calais attached to a tether, an elastic cord attached to the pool ladder. She added: “I thought it would be fun to do something special involving two things very close and personal to my heart – swimming and St Catherine’s but I didn’t expect the sub-zero, snowy conditions at the start of my challenge!”
Wendy, from Surrey is busy fundraising ahead of a sponsored head shave in March to mark five years since her husband Ken passed away under St Catherine’s care. In only two days, Wendy smashed her fundraising target, and donations continue to roll in.
Wendy said: “I’m braving the shave on Saturday March 20 in memory of my lovely husband, Ken, who received end of life care at St Catherine’s.
“I wanted to mark five years since Ken passed away, and remember how lucky we were to have such a wonderful human being in our lives. I also want to give back to the hospice who treated me, my daughters and Ken’s family with so much respect and kindness.
“Originally, I was hoping to raise £250 to split between the hospice and Jigsaw South East. Both charities helped us through such a heart breaking time. I’ve already surpassed my target and my donation total is already over £500 – I’m thrilled.”
Tom Abbott, Head of Fundraising at St Catherine’s added: “We’re so grateful to people like Laura and Wendy for choosing to support our hospice and raise funds especially during lockdown. We’re only able to provide care and support to local people and their families because of wonderful people who raise money in so many amazing ways.
“Coronavirus has been difficult, and we know that the continuing lockdown is tough even though we all hope the end is now in sight. We’re so humbled that people are still thinking of St Catherine’s, and all the families we care for.”
Community support has never been more vital, said Tom. The pandemic has hit the hospice hard and last year, it had a drop of around £1.5 million in income.
He added: “The easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming months will help but we are still reliant on your support and fundraising efforts to make sure we can be there for people who need us through the remainder of the pandemic and for years to come.
“There are lots of different ways that you can support St Catherine’s, and I hope you’ll feel inspired by Laura and Wendy to take on your own fundraising. On behalf of everyone at the hospice, thank you. Your efforts make an incredible difference.”