A regional daily’s fundraising campaign to support a local hospice with a cash shortfall has been hailed a success after its £50,000 target was reached.
The Shields Gazette launched its cash crusade last November when St Clare’s Hospice realised it needed to raise funds to enable it to continue providing palliative care to the people of South Tyneside.
The hospice, which has been open for 25 years, has annual fundraising costs of £2m – £1.4m of which it must raise itself.
Gazette editor John Szymanski has praised readers for digging deep to support the hospice, with donations of up to £5,000 being received for the paper’s campaign.
He said: “This is a phenomenal achievement and something that we wouldn’t have been able to do without the generous help of our readers.
“Even in tough economic times such as these, the people of South Tyneside continue to put their hands in their pockets and support great local causes like St Clare’s.
“This cash has helped the hospice get through a challenging period and carry on the vital work they do in caring for South Tynesiders who are suffering from cancer, as well as support their families.”
Readers contacted the paper during its seven-month campaign to tell their stories of how St Clare’s had touched their lives, as well as holding fundraising events including coffee mornings, charity nights and darts marathons.
Funnyman Frank Carson, who lost his own battle with cancer in February, had a strong relationship with the hospice and pledged £1,000 to the Gazette’s campaign, while Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn also made a donation.
Tyne Tunnel bosses celebrated the opening of their second tunnel by donating 5p for every car that used it in one day.
St Clare’s chief executive David Hall said: “The support St Clare’s Hospice has received from the community we serve has been fantastic. It’s great to know that when you are struggling to balance the books in times of economic hardship that the people of South Tyneside will step up and help in the most practical of ways, digging deep in their purses and wallets.
I treat the successful completion of the campaign as vindication the people we strive to serve, genuinely appreciate the caring services we offer.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the amazing support that we have received from the Shields Gazette and its very professional staff, who got the right message across to its readers in a clear and effective manner.
“We look forward to a continued partnership, and the great job it does in letting people know about the work that the staff and volunteers at St Clare’s Hospice do.”