Students raise over £5,000 for Hospice

Students from Weston College have spent the past academic year raising awareness and funds for Weston Hospicecare in their annual fundraising scheme, the Charity Cup.


The college event is now in its third year and sees faculties going head to head to raise the most amount of money for their chosen charity.


Staff and students take part in a rich variety of fundraising activity including sponsored head shaves and leg waxing, sporting activities and hosting cinema nights.


In the past the college has chosen national charities, but this year the college wanted to focus their efforts on a local cause. Together the college have raised an impressive £5,600 for the hospice which cares for the 1 in 100 local people living with life-limiting illnesses.


Staff and students from the Business and Information Technology faculty raised the most amount of money at £1,700. The successful students paid a visit to Weston Hospicecare for a tour of the building and to present their cheque to the delighted Fundraising team.


Tanya Gardener, Tutorial and Entitlement Manager at Weston College, commented: “It was fantastic opportunity for us to visit the hospice. The students were shown around the building and were able to see exactly where their money will be spent- which is directly towards patient care.”


Sophie Newton, a student representative says: “The visit to the hospice was completely inspiring. We wanted to choose a local charity this year so that as well as raising vital funds, we also built awareness of the organisation within our community. We can’t wait to start next year’s Charity Cup!”

Nurses tackle 10k army assault course for Weston Hospicecare

Mud, water, hills, obstacles…this is what Leigh Bowdler and her two friends Emma and Rebecca were faced with when they signed up to take part in the Major Series 10k in aid of Weston Hospicecare.


When asked why she and her friends had decided to throw themselves into such a gruelling challenge, Leigh said:
“We decided to participate in the Major Series for different reasons: some saw it as a challenge and others as a bit of fun – crazy, I know! When it came to deciding whether to fundraise or not the choice was easy…we are three nurses that work on an Acute Cardiology Ward and we see people of all ages come through our doors and are surprised by how young some of them are.


“Weston Hospicecare was picked as one of our chosen charities because I had experienced first-hand the amazing work that is done there in both the Day Hospice and the In-patient Unit. Helping to raise money would enable more people to be fortunate enough to experience the support which my family had.


“When race day arrived, we didn’t know what to expect but were ready for anything! The three words we would use to describe the race would be: wet, sticky and mud! We all had lots of fun but also battled a few injuries and got very cold on the way round. If asked whether or not we would do it again, I think two out of the three of us would give it another go!”


Leigh, Emma and Rebecca have raised over £700 to be split between Weston Hospicecare and Cardiac Risk in the Young.

Hospice attracts attention of Guinness World Record Holders

A couple will be taking part in Weston Hospicecare’s Mendip Challenge as they continue to hold their Guinness World Record of “most marathons completed by a married couple”.

Dave and Linda Major, the husband and wife team who are both in their early fifties, spotted the upcoming Hospice event on a database of marathons and have chosen to tackle the longest available route across the glorious Somerset hills.

The Mendip Challenge is available in a 10, 20 or 30 mile route and participants are encouraged to walk, jog or run. Dave commented: “We’ve chosen to run the challenge, but as it’s our first time in the Mendips we intend to take our time and enjoy the view!” The duo, who reside near Northampton, have been running since the nineties and to date have completed a total of 1063 marathons. It was in 2013 that the couple were granted their impressive Guinness World Record.

As well as impressing with their running abilities, the Majors are also keen charity fundraisers.

Linda says: “Our direct contribution to charity is at £10,000. We’re lucky that we can spread our donations throughout the country where our money is needed, as we enter events most weekends which take place in different areas of the UK.”

“Even if we are only able to donate a small amount to a certain event, we still know that we’re making a huge difference. We’re very happy to be fundraising for Weston Hospicecare and hope to promote this great cause.”

If you would like to take part in the event on Sunday 31st May simply register your place at by Monday 25th May at 5pm. The Mendip Challenge is open to all ages and abilities, with proceeds going directly towards patient care at the Hospice.

Teenager raises over £1,000 in honour of mum

When Thomas Harris, 14, of Weston-super-Mare, signed up for Weston Colour Run his original fundraising target was a modest but admirable £50.


In a bid to give back to the charity which provides his mother with free care, Thomas  set up a Just Giving page to raise sponsorship money for taking part in the 5k run – but the teenager soon found that his touching story was bringing in more money than expected.


Thomas and his family have been receiving support from the charity since early 2014 when his mother, Lou Harris, came under the care of the Hospice following a diagnosis of cancer.


Lou, who attends a weekly Day Hospice session, is extremely proud of her young son for showing a strong dedication to an important local charity: “Thomas had mentioned entering the colour run but I thought nothing of it until the day he asked me if he’d filled in his card details correctly to pay his entry fee. I checked he’d filled it in all correctly and we decided on a amount of 50.00 to raise, and that as they say is his story.”


“As the donations were added I couldn’t believe how much money was being raised, it was amazing for him as he is only 14! I’m totally blown away with his attitude and maturity towards this, he has made us both so very proud of him.”


Claire Dibben, Event Organiser, commented on Thomas’s efforts: “This is a phenomenal achievement especially from somebody so young. The average amount we receive from individual sponsorship is around £20, so Thomas’s efforts have just blown us all away.”


“All of the services that we provide at the hospice are free of charge which means we have to raise as much money as possible to keep supporting local people with life-limiting illnesses. The money that Thomas has raised could fund the costs of 11 patients attending a weekly Day Hospice session which is simply fantastic. Well done Thomas!”


Thomas commented: “I believed that after all the help that the hospice has given us, I needed to give something back to show how grateful I am – but at the time I didn’t know that I was going to raise as much as I did!”


Thomas’s Just Giving page is still gratefully accepting donations. If you would like to help fund the care of the 1 in 100 local people using the Hospice services please visit

Marathon runners raise over £19,000 for Weston Hospicecare

On Sunday 26th April 2015, nearly 40,000 people came from all over the world to take part in arguably the world’s greatest race: the Virgin London Marathon.


It is one of the biggest fundraising events in the world with an estimated £716 million being raised for charities since it began in 1981. This year, Weston Hospicecare was fortunate enough to have nine eager runners take part and fundraise for them. So far, they have raised a fantastic £19,000 between them.


The experience of running a 26 mile course was certainly a tough, but worthwhile journey for all involved. All of the nine runners had personal motivations for taking part and have shared their reasons for crossing the finish line in aid of Weston Hospicecare.


Jeremy Newsome (44) of Cheddar, found the entire fundraising and training journey a rewarding one. Jeremy was one of five runners who needed to secure £2000 in sponsorship for the Hospice in exchange for his charity place at the London Marathon. Speaking about his fundraising and training experience, he said:

“I’d recommend completing the London Marathon to anyone – you have to be committed and do the training but if you do, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who wouldn’t enjoy it.

I decided to take on this challenge for the Hospice as I know various people that have been affected by a life-limiting illness and I wanted to do something to help. I thought, I am healthy and capable…why not run for the people who can’t?”

Jeremy achieved a personal best at the Marathon, completing it in a fantastic 3 hours and 37 minutes.


Lesley Bowskill (44) of Weston-super-Mare has raised over £2,000 as part of her London Marathon fundraising. She said:

“I’m still buzzing from completing the London Marathon now. London just completely comes alive for it and the atmosphere was out of this world!

“I was really emotional afterwards because I had a very personal reason for supporting the Hospice. They helped my mother-in-law when she came into the In-patient Unit 18 months ago. Their team of Nurses made what was a very sad time for us so much easier through the care and support they gave us as a family.

“Completing the London Marathon was everything I wanted it to be. I enjoyed it so much that I’ll be completing the Paris Marathon for Weston Hospicecare next year.”


Another fundraiser, Caroline Harding (38) of Wrington secured £8,000 in sponsorship for undertaking the challenge. This was her first Marathon and Caroline completed it in 5 hours 37 minutes. She said:

“I chose to run the London Marathon for Weston Hospicecare because they are an amazing charity and help so many families in the local area, some of the families being my close friends. I was determined to run the London Marathon and raise as much money as I could for such a special charity and I achieved that. Knowing how much my fundraising can help the Hospice makes it all worth while”


Rachel Andrews (43) of Weston-super-Mare also completed the race for Weston Hospicecare. She said:

“Having been a volunteer at the Hospice for a number of years and seeing the great work they do, I wanted to use the opportunity of running in the London Marathon to raise much needed funds for them.

The whole weekend was a fantastic experience. They say it’s the crowds that make it such a special event and this truly is the case. Their clapping and cheering is unbelievable with so many shouting support for complete strangers.

I’ve achieved my challenge and am not intending to do again, but never say never!”


If you are interested in applying for a Weston Hospicecare charity place in the 2016 Virgin London Marathon, please contact Claire Dibben (Event Fundraiser) on or email for more information.

Hospice at forefront of International Palliative Care platform

The 4th International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference will be coming to Bristol in May, and Weston Hospicecare will be amongst the key speakers.


The conference – which began in 2009 – was created to share best practices and support new developments from the rapidly developing public health approach to death, dying and bereavement. Since then, a strong international network has been built.


Members of the network will gather at the Bristol Marriott City Centre from 13th-15th May for a series of talks covering a variety of themes delivered by speakers from around the world. The aim of the conference is to look at the importance of clinical and non-clinical involvement in end of life care.


Palliative care is the approach used in nursing when treatments will not cure an illness. End of life patients are given support to manage their pain and other symptoms, but also helped with their psychological, social and spiritual needs – with includes the wellbeing of the carers and family members.


International guests to the conference are also offered the opportunity to visit five national hosting sites who provide a compassionate community project – and Weston Hospicecare proudly being one of the five sites, will open its doors to medical experts for two days.


This is a very exciting opportunity for the local charity, which will be able to demonstrate to their international medical colleagues that their organisation is a hub of knowledge and innovation when addressing end of life care.


Dr Julian Abel, Palliative Care consultant at Weston Hospicecare, will be a key note speaker at the conference. Julian comments on the positivity of these international partnerships: “The conference is an incredible opportunity for the people and professionals of the United Kingdom to hear inspirational examples of the care and kindness shown by communities from all over the world.”