Visitor readers help to wipe out St John’s Hospice’s £500k deficit

Ian Vandesande with his wife Aleksandra and mum Jean.
Ian Vandesande with his wife Aleksandra and mum Jean.

One of the district’s most important charities has started off 2016 having cleared its deficit – and it’s all thanks to our generous readers.

Two years ago, St John’s Hospice was in deficit by £500,000, but with the help of our Save Our Hospice campaign, it can now carry out its vital work in the community with a clean slate.

Our campaign can now draw to a close in the knowledge that the support it received has helped to secure the immediate future of the Slyne Road facility. The news is particularly poignant as the hospice is celebrating 30 years since it first opened its doors.

A year of special activities and fundraising is in the pipeline to mark the anniversary – which could be topped off with a royal visit.

The Visitor teamed up with sister paper the Lancaster Guardian in 2013 to fundraise for the hospice in a bid to help it continue to provide a vital community service that helps people and their families deal with life-limiting conditions.

And this week one of the hospice’s current patients said a big thank you to the team for the help and support he and his family has been given.

Ian Vandesande is recovering from heart failure and his family says they are indebted to the tireless work of the hospice staff.

“They have been brilliant,” the dad-of-three’s mum Jean said. “The care you get here is outstanding. It’s so important that we have places like this.”

Chief executive Sue McGraw thanked Visitor readers – many of whom have their own personal connection to the charity – for the tremendous support they have given the hospice over the past two years. She said: “The campaign has made a massive contribution to the huge upturn in hospice fundraising.”

The hospice has raised £500,000 to cover the deficit, of which £100,000 came directly as a result of the appeal, with the publicity the hospice received an important factor in securing the rest.

Sue highlighted events such as the gruelling Born Survivor challenge, which around 300 people took part in on behalf of the hospice. The team raised a massive £70,000, and another team will take part again this year.