Dedicated fund-raisers across the Fylde coast have been congratulated for raising £1m for Trinity Hospice.
Seven friends groups, from Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, hit the landmark milestone in the hospice’s 30th year of operation.
Volunteers and civic dignitaries gathered this week to mark the volunteers’ achievement.
The hospice provides end of life care for up to 20 adults at a time, alongside 15 day care patients, as well as care for children in Brian House.
Out of 350 active friends members, 120 were at the hospice to accept a certificate and commemorative trophy on behalf of their groups; a token of thanks from everyone at Trinity. Every Friends group member is also receiving a badge in honour of the £1m achievement.
The friends groups – Blackpool, Poulton, Over Wyre, Fleetwood, Lytham St Annes, Thornton Cleveleys and Freckleton – comprise people of all ages who turn out in all sorts of weather to raise money for patient care at the hospice. Many volunteers have full time jobs and family commitments, but manage to arrange on average one event per group per month.
They are a remarkable group of people, working hard on our behalfLisa Martin
The money raised has helped fund equipment, refurbishments and the expansion of the hospice over the past three decades.
Lisa Martin, community fund-raiser at Trinity said: “The friends groups actually pre-date the hospice buildings, and were instrumental in fund-raising in the very first days, when the hospice was still on the drawing board.
“They are a remarkable group of people, working hard on our behalf, willing to try new things and always supportive as the hospice inevitably goes through changes as demand for its care increases year on year.
“I don’t think anything deters them.
“They have had events in torrential rain or where their marquee has blown away in the wind, but they carry on regardless.
“They hold events in their own homes, they bake cakes, hold fashion shows and quiz nights – and they have probably sold a million tombola tickets over the three decades.
“Their generosity is second to none.
“You sometimes hear people saying that the ‘sense of community spirit’ has largely disappeared in recent years.
“We can honestly say that it’s alive and well here, thanks to the tireless work of the Trinity Friends groups.”
Money raised by the Friends supports both Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice.
Building relationships with businesses and community groups in towns and villages across the Fylde, the volunteers also help raise the profile of the hospice, and have proved valuable ambassadors in spreading Trinity’s message of compassionate care.
Lisa added: “ We have been looking back in the archives, and what comes across really strongly is how the collective efforts of so many people over the years really adds up to something special. An awful lot of work can go into an event which raises perhaps £150: but add up all those £150 and what do you get? A magic million.”
Thirty years ago, the first Friends group was formed with a fund-raiser in Poulton – raising cash towards the building of Trinity.
Judy Murphy, chairman of the Thornton Cleveleys friends group, said: “We all enjoy the fund-raising and it amazes us how much we raise.
“We hold quiz nights, coffee mornings and four lunches a year, as well as summer and Christmas fairs.
“We hand a cheque over top them for general funds – we never ask what it goes towards, we’re just happy to hand it over.”
Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde’s mayors were on hand to congratulate the volunteers for their achievement.
Blackpool Mayor Coun Peter Callow said: “This is a great achievement; a lot of hard work has gone into raising this money.
“It also shows Blackpool people are very generous when it comes to making donations.
“But that money doesn’t just appear, it takes a lot of hard work by these volunteers and the people at Trinity.
“It is a fantastic achievement.”
Wyre Mayor Coun Tom Balmain said: “I think it is a marvellous achievement. Well done to all of the volunteers who have helped over the years.
“I was delighted to present the awards to all those from the Wyre area.
“They have helped create a real homely feeling at the hospice for all those there. It is marvellous what they have done.”
Fylde Mayor Coun Peter Hardy added: “When you think in this day and age about how many people are asking for money, it’s a real achievement.
“I was telling a matron there’s 166,000 registered charities now, so it can be a question of who you help out.
“What they’ve done – £1m in 30 years – is a great, great achievement.
“There’s just so many volunteers, and they are all so keen.
“I didn’t realise how big the hospice was; I visited when it first opened and to see it now is amazing.
“What those volunteers have achieved is amazing.”