Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Justin Moorhouse is offering local comedy fans the opportunity to enjoy a hilarious night out and raise funds for a great cause when he brings his critically acclaimed tour show, Northern Joker, to Dukinfield next month!

The local funny man is a one of Willow Wood’s patrons and will be donating his usual fee to Hospice funds – a fantastic boost for our coffers!

And what can guests expect from the show?  Well, these days Justin’s not certain about anything apart from his uncertainty – Brexit looms, it appears the Cold War is being rebooted and that’s before we begin to worry about what’s happening in America…closer to home he’s starting to feel redundant as a parent. One kid is leaving home, the dog is getting older and needs fewer walks, and the youngest kid hits thirteen and cancels the family subscription to The Beano.

One thing we can all be sure of though, is there will be lots of laughs!

The show takes place at Weymouth Villa Function Suite, Old Road, Dukinfield on Saturday 1st June.  Tickets are priced at £14 with a limited amount for people on Jobseekers Allowance at a mere fiver!  You can book now at with 07874 152 338 being the number for any queries.

What better excuse could there be for dressing in style, getting together with your best girl friends for a Prosecco reception, a delicious lunch, and the opportunity to win some cash with a flutter on the horses than Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot? And if you book for the Willow Wood Ladies’ Lunch then it doesn’t matter whether the sun shines or not, as you’ll be in the comfort of the Best Western Smokies Park Hotel.

The Ladies’ Lunch has long been a popular fixture of the Willow Wood calendar, and this year falls on Thursday 20 June.  Elaine McConnell, event organiser said: “Ascot is very much a social occasion, and we follow that tradition as we welcome our guests at 12noon with a glass of Prosecco and time to mingle and chat with friends before taking our seats for a three-course lunch.  That’s followed by the excitement of placing your bets with our team of bookies before each race is screened live.

“There’s time between the racing for the ladies to celebrate any wins, as the cash prizes are paid out there and then.  It really is a fantastic atmosphere – and there can be quite a few corks popping as the winners are toasted!”

Everyone rises to the spirit of the occasion by dressing in their most stylish outfit – and, of course, a hat or fascinator.    Prices have once more been maintained at £39.50, which is great value for such a wonderful day.  Tickets can be booked online at, or collecting a leaflet from the Hospice reception or any of our shops.

Elaine said, “We’re also looking for raffle prizes and would welcome any contributions.  These would, of course, be acknowledged in the programme and seen, therefore, by over 200 guests on the day”.

If you could donate a prize please contact Elaine by ringing 0161 330 7788 or emailing

CAPTION:  Event organiser Elaine McConnell and volunteer Eileen Smith at last year’s Ascot Ladies Lunch.

Hundreds of people from across Greater Manchester will be remembering their loved ones as part of a very special appeal this summer, in support of local charity St Ann’s Hospice.

The Forget-Me-Not Appeal gives people the chance to receive a special keepsake dedicated to their loved one and, if they wish, to attend a service of reflection and celebration at the hospice’s Heald Green or Little Hulton site, whilst making a donation to St Ann’s.

This year, St Ann’s is also offering supporters the opportunity to make a dedication online, in their brand new Memory Meadow.

Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s, explained:  “Our Forget-Me-Not appeal is incredibly important to us as it gives us the opportunity to both raise money for our patients and their families, whilst also honouring the lives of those who are sadly no longer with us.

“We’re always overwhelmed to see so many people supporting our patients in this way – some with a connection to the hospice, and others who don’t have any connection but want to celebrate the life of someone special.

“We’re especially pleased to also introduce our Memory Meadow for those supporters who would like to celebrate their loved ones online. Every penny raised really does help us to provide specialist care that makes a difference to the lives of local people.”

Julie Wilmoth’s husband, Colin, was cared for at St Ann’s Hospice in 2018. She said: “When Colin first went into St Ann’s, he was bed-ridden and fed up, but it quickly became like home. We were greeted very warmly and made so welcome and comfortable – I felt like we’d been scooped up and taken to their heart. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Colin, and St Ann’s made that possible.”

The charity, which operates from three sites in Little Hulton, Heald Green and the Neil Cliffe Centre in Wythenshawe Hospital looks after thousands of patients every year with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses – managing their symptoms, providing support, caring for people at the hospice or at home, and providing end of life care.  It also runs a range of outreach services to help support people in the local community.

*For more information on St Ann’s, or if you would like to take part in the Forget-Me-Not appeal to remember someone special, please call 0161 498 3631 or visit


Remember the swinging sixties? Or just love the music? Whichever way, one of our wonderful supporters George Hansford is organising a fantastic show supporting not only Willow Wood, but two other local hospices too!

This coming Friday, the Special Sixties Show will be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Oldham.  It’s a great line-up, with The Merseybeats, famous for songs such as the million selling “I Think of You”, and “Don’t Turn Around’.  The Fourmost who reached the top ten with “Hello Little Girl” and “A Little Loving” are also appearing and Mike Pender, the original voice of The Searchers, completes the bill.  His voice was the one on maybe their best-known hits, “Needles and Pins” and “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”.

Tina Pringle, community fundraiser said: “It should be a fantastic show, and it’s really good value at just £22 per ticket.

I’d like to thank George for organising this on behalf not just of Willow Wood, but also Springhill and Dr Kershaw’s Hospices who will also benefit from the event.”

So if you’re a sixties fan and fancy reliving a few musical memories tickets can be purchased from, or the Queen Elizabeth Hall box office, 0161 770 4083.

A local charity is appealing for volunteers to join them for a few hours to help raise money for local patients, families and carers.

St Ann’s Hospice is holding a series of charity collections throughout Carers Week (between 9 and 15 June) in the Trafford Centre and Manchester City Centre, and is looking for help from people who might be able to volunteer their time to help them raise as much money as possible.

Lucy Leeming, Fundraising Manager, said: “At St Ann’s we’re proud to support not just the patients who come to our hospice sites or are visited by our teams in the community, but also their carers and loved ones too.  That’s why we wanted to run these collections during Carers Week, to try and raise as much money as possible to help us to continue providing that invaluable support at such a difficult time.

“We’d love as many local people as possible to join us, even just for an hour or two, to help raise vital funds for that much-needed care.  There are flexible slots throughout the days, and we can promise it will be lots of fun.  Our mascot Stan will be coming along to join us, and there’ll be entertainment and props on the days too!

“Please do let us know if you can help out – even for an hour or two – as your time really will make a huge difference to local patients, their carers and loved ones.  We’d love you to join us.”

The collections will take place on Saturday 9 June, Friday 14 June and Saturday 15 June in Manchester City Centre, as well as in the Trafford Centre on Saturday 15 June.

For more information, or to talk to a member of the team about volunteering your time, please email                                 or call 0161 498 3631.



Willow Wood is pleased to announce that the champion fundraiser in our 20/20 Challenge is the Ashton based ‘Your Tax Shop,’  Between February and the end of April the team of accountants flung themselves into a flurry of fundraising and raised the wonderful amount of £1,740.82.

They were presented with a beautiful glass trophy and certificate from Willow Wood chairman, Pat McCloskey during the awards evening which was held at Stalybridge Celtic Football Club on Wednesday 8 May. Partner Yvonne Cookson said: “We’re delighted to win, and so happy that these funds will help support such a fantastic local charity.”

Elaine McConnell, corporate fundraiser said: “I can’t thank Your Tax Shop and the other 19 local teams enough.  Together, they’ve raised over £7,000 for Willow Wood – and that’s with some funds still to come in and any Gift Aid claimed on the sponsored events

“The runners up were Stalybridge Archery Club who raised £1,204 with a 24 hour sponsored arch-a-thon, and I must mention the Crafty Crafters who brought in £1,040 with the sale of their pet snuggle mats. However, we’re deeply grateful to all the teams for everything they did to raise vital funds.  We’ll be repeating the challenge next year and hope even more teams will take part.”

Full details of the Challenges and donations raised are on the Willow Wood website,


The new Greater Manchester’s Mayor’s Charity has been launched by its Patron, Andy Burnham, at a speech in central Manchester.

Focussed on raising money for the issues people care about in Greater Manchester, the independent charity will initially look at helping to reduce homelessness. One of the projects it will support is Bed Every Night, set up to help deliver the Mayor’s ambition to end the need for rough sleeping in our city region.

The charity has taken over from the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, launched two years ago as the Mayor took office. More than £640,000 has been raised, with £96,000 given out to support Bed Every Night and help people get off the streets. Any unallocated money from the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund has now been transferred to the charity and the fund closed down.

The charity’s Trustees come from of a mix of public and private sector backgrounds with a blend of skills, who represent the community which the Charity hopes to serve. Together, they will share the responsibility for governing the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity and directing how it is managed and run.

Capital and Centric’s CEO, Tim Heatley, will chair the Trustee Board alongside a board that includes retired athlete and sports charity founder Diane Modahl, Manchester Methodist Central Hall’s Minister, Rev. Ian Rutherford and PWC Partner, Jane Forbes.

Tim Heatley said: “I’m very pleased to be appointed Chair of the new Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity which will play a key role as the city-region comes together to tackle homelessness.

“While this is our initial focus, and particularly supporting Bed Every Night, we will also set out to tackle social issues and support vulnerable members of our community. I’m looking forward to working with our fantastic trustee board and harnessing their skills and expertise as we face these big challenges head on.”

Charity Patron, Andy Burnham, added: “In Greater Manchester we don’t walk by on the other side.  It was people here who demanded that as a city-region we tackled the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping head on, and we have.  But I know people want to do more and this Charity will now give us all a focal point where we can direct our efforts and make a real difference.

“Greater Manchester’s A Bed Every Night scheme has been a real success with more than 1,400 individuals supported off the streets in just half a year.  Around 480 people, more than a third, have also been assisted into more secure accommodation.  The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity will now play a vital role in helping this work progress to its next stage.”

Find out more on the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity’s new website, which has gone live today, at

Dinner lady Jackie Clayton was the toast of family and friends at a Ball to celebrate her life.

The special event in Jackie’s memory raised £14,121 for St Ann’s Hospice where she spent her final weeks.

Jackie died on her 64th birthday in March last year and the ball at the Alma Lodge Hotel, Stockport, coincided with the first anniversary of her death.

Jackie, who worked at Hazel Grove Primary School near her home for 30 years, had been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier.

The ball was organised by sons Andy and Ric, daughter Amanda and their partners.

Daughter-in-law Jodie Clayton said: “We didn’t expect to raise anything like that amount but family and friends were so supportive, with many local businesses donating prizes.

“We wanted to organise an event to thank St Ann’s because the change in Jackie in their care at the Heald Green hospice was unbelievable. They gave her back her smile.”

Two of Jackie’s eight grandchildren Alfie (12) and Rebecca (11) raised a further £2,000 by taking part in the hospice’s Manchester Midnight Walk in April.


His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visited Salford today to mark a very special moment in St Ann’s Hospice’s history. 

The charity, which cares for patients with life-limiting illnesses from across Greater Manchester, is celebrating 40 years since its site in Little Hulton opened, and The Duke joined staff, patients and volunteers as they marked the occasion.

Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to The Duke of Gloucester for taking time in his busy schedule to come to St Ann’s.  We were honoured to show him around our Little Hulton site, and to introduce him to some of our patients and their families, staff and volunteers.”

“Our second hospice site in Little Hulton began receiving patients in 1979, and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal came to officially open it in May that year, so it’s an honour to have The Duke join us as we celebrate this special anniversary.”

“It’s an exciting time for the hospice, as we approach our 50th anniversary of the organisation as a whole in 2021.  It’s a real testament to the local community that St Ann’s has been able to provide specialist care to people from Greater Manchester for so long.  Whether that’s the support we receive from fundraisers who generously help us raise the £20,000 a day we need to keep our services running, the endless time our army of more than 700 local volunteers give to help staff and patients, or the businesses and health care professionals who collaborate with us in so many ways – we simply wouldn’t have been here for so long without you, so thanks for all you do for St Ann’s.”

The Duke was given a tour of the hospice, and planted a special commemorative tree to mark the occasion.  He met patients and families being cared for at the hospice, and spoke to volunteers and members of staff about the work the charity does in the local area.

St Ann’s Hospice is one of the oldest and largest hospices outside of London, and cares for patients from its three sites in Little Hulton, Heald Green, and The Neil Cliffe Centre in Wythenshawe Hospital.  Staff also provide a range of community and outreach services, as well as training and development for healthcare providers and other professionals in the field of palliative and end of life care.

The hospice employs more than 350 people, with another 700 volunteering their time to help out across various departments.  St Ann’s also runs a Trading Company to help raise funds for the charity, which includes fourteen shops and a hospice lottery.

Eamonn added:  “It’s so interesting looking back and reflecting on St Ann’s unique history and how privileged we have been, over the years, to have touched the lives of so many families. What’s interesting is that while hospice care changes and its breadth and ambition is probably unrecognisable to the care provided when the early hospices opened around half a century ago, the ethos of what we do remains the same.  We always want to provide individualised, holistic care to our patients, and our overarching aim is to ensure they have the very best quality of life as possible.  That hasn’t changed in almost half a century, and as we look ahead and evolve and develop our services for the future, we know that will always remain most important to us.”

To make a donation to the hospice or find out more about its services, please go to






Hale Golf Club Lady Captain Caroline Perkins has come up with the recipe for fundraising success with her latest charity initiative.

Caroline, who alongside her passion for golf, cites her hobbies as food and travel, has created a special cook book which showcases recipes from all over the world.

She has been selling copies of the World Cook Book for £7 each, with all money raised donated to St Ann’s Hospice.  Recipes featured have all been developed by members of the golf club for inclusion in the book.

Caroline explained:  “I have chosen St Ann’s Hospice for my Lady Captain’s Charity.  They looked after my dad and his family so well during the last six days of his life.

 “Whilst they provide all their services to patients free of charge, only a third of their funding comes from the NHS, relying on donations and fundraising activities for the rest.  I’ve been encouraging people to buy the book and help St Ann’s Hospice be there for others as they were for us.

“I’d like to thank all the Hale Golf Club members who have donated recipes and artist Jill Gower-Jones too.”

Caroline presented a cheque of monies raised from the book totalling £4,850.87 to St Ann’s volunteer Judith Lacy.

Left to right: Hale Golf Club Lady Captain Caroline Perkins and St Ann’s Hospice Volunteer Judith Lacy.