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Gloucestershire Business News

Fundraisers disband after raising hundreds of thousands

After 34 years, volunteer-led supporter group, Wotton Friends of Longfield, has disbanded.

During that time, the group raised £457,000 for the Minchinhampton-based hospice.

The group was originally set up by Jackie Sims, after her mother died from breast cancer in May 1987. Her mother's MacMillan nurse, Helen Hutchinson, asked Jackie if she would consider forming a support group for the hospice she hoped to set up in South Gloucestershire.

This became Longfield Community Hospice and it continues to offer free care for adults with a life-limiting condition across Gloucestershire, as well as support for their families and carers.

The first meeting of the group was held in March 1988. Jackie Sims, Joan Deveney, Adele Stockbridge, Irene Wilson, Joan Derham and Lesley Holland were among the founder members of the group, which went on to raise a staggering £457,000 through a series of fundraising events.

In addition to waitressing for various local freemasonry lodges events, the group held regular fashion shows, fairs, coffee mornings and open gardens and acted as ambassadors for the hospice.

Twelve members of the group, including four founder members, attended a special event at the hospice last week and were presented with certificates of appreciation and a glass ornament, by the hospice's CEO, Simon Bernstein.

Louise Cook, head of fundraising and marketing, said: "We were delighted to invite 12 Wotton Friends to the hospice to thank them for their phenomenal commitment. To fundraise for over 30 years is such an achievement, and to raise £457,000 is simply amazing!

"Fundraising support like this makes a huge difference to us and means we can continue to provide vital free care for adults in Gloucestershire with a life-limiting illness, and support for their families and carers too."

Tricia Henderson-Ross, former chair, who now volunteers at the hospice once a week, said: "We were all friends who enjoyed each others' company and coming together to raise money for such a valuable local charity seemed like a wonderful idea. Not only have we seen great progress at the hospice, but we've also had lots of fun over the years, and have some lovely memories to look back on."

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