Our turn to show we care for St Clare’s

DO YOU CARE? ... St Clare's fundraiser Marie Watson has launched a �50,000 appeal through the Gazette.
DO YOU CARE? ... St Clare's fundraiser Marie Watson has launched a �50,000 appeal through the Gazette.

ST Clare’s Hospice needs your help. After 25 years of caring for South Tynesiders, it is calling on Gazette readers to help raise funds.

Every year the registered charity must raise £1.4m towards its £2m annual running costs.

But this year it is £50,000 short.

So today, the Gazette launches its “c/o St Clare’s” campaign to help the hospice make up that cash.

St Clare’s has become a vital part of the community, providing free palliative care to adults with life-limiting illnesses.

The hospice deals with both in-patients and day-care patients, and has been highly praised by those it has cared for, and their families, since it opened in 1987.

But with the recession hitting hard, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the hospice to bring in the funds it so desperately needs.

Without the money, the hospice – in Primrose Terrace, Jarrow – will be unable to care for as many patients.

Fundraising manager Marie Watson said: “Thankfully, we’ve been heavily supported over the years, but now that we’re £50,000 below our target, it could mean that we won’t be able to treat as many patients.

“We do still have people who organise events and take part in them and raise a lot of money, and we’re so grateful for that.

“The first year we organised a midnight walk, 100 ladies took part – then last year we had 150, so we were excited this year to break the 200 barrier, but we only got 90.

“It was disappointing because we were hoping for more people, but we’re so thankful to everyone who gets involved with fundraising for us.”

She added: “We know that times are hard and that Christmas is approaching, so we’re trying to sell Christmas merchandise in our stores, so that people are getting something back for their donation.

“If we don’t get the rest of the funding we need, it would be devastating and we may have to cut back on the number of patients we deal with.

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions about St Clare’s, and people think we only deal with older people, but we get a lot of younger people in here too, and it’s not all about giving people somewhere to live out the last weeks of their lives.

“It’s about providing physiotherapy, day care and many other services.”

Gazette editor John Szymanski said: “St Clare’s is a fantastic facility which has and continues to do so much for South Tynesiders struck down with cancer, as well as their families and friends too.

“It is imperative that all their good work goes on in the community.

“We should never take the hospice for granted, or else it will be lost.

“To find themselves with a £50,000 shortfall is a sad sign of the times, and I know many are struggling financially, but I would urge everyone to spare what they can and contribute to such a vital cause, which has helped thousands of South Tynesiders – and now needs our help.”