Let’s make 2014 a great year for Thorpe Hall says fundraiser Judy

Judy Francis, from Barnack, who has raised more than �200,000 over 22 years for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall.'Photo: MSMP301213-002ow
Judy Francis, from Barnack, who has raised more than �200,000 over 22 years for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall.'Photo: MSMP301213-002ow
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A stalwart supporter of the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall hospice is hoping 2014 will be a record year for her fundraising 

Judy Francis first became involved with the charity 22 years ago when she attended an open day at the hospice in Peterborough.

She went along with the idea of volunteering for a few hours but two decades later she has raised more than £200,000 for the place 
which has become her second home.

Judy, of Station Road, Barnack, said: “The hospice has grown a lot since the early days and I feel honoured to be part of that. I can’t praise the staff and volunteers enough because everyone is fantastic.

“I have lost friends there over the years and since I retired and lost my own husband, my work there has helped me as much as I have helped it.”

Judy’s first event was a small lunch which was attended by about 40 people.

Now she holds the same lunch club twice a month and has a membership of more than 150 people. She also launched an afternoon tea event six months ago which is regularly raising £300 a month.

She is keen to attract new members to both events.

Judy said: “We get a lot of people coming from Thorpe Hall’s bereavement group. They suddenly find themselves on their own and it’s somewhere they can come and feel comfortable and welcome.

“We’re always looking for new members for either event. The more people who come, the more money we can raise to help build the new hospice.

The lunch club runs on the first and second Wednesdays of the month. Membership costs £10 per year and the lunches cost £10 each. It has raised more than £200,000 since its launch.

The afternoon tea takes place on the last Thursday of each month and costs £7.50 per person for a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones.

Thorpe Hall’s fundraising team are also encouraging people to sign up for its diminishing lunches scheme.

The idea is for someone to kick off a chain of events by hosting a dinner party for eight people and charging a minimum donation of £20 per head.

Each of those guests will then host a party for six people and in turn their guests will host a party for five. The chain continues until it reaches a dinner for two.

Judy said: “It is a lot of fun and it soon adds up to a lot of money for the appeal.”

The charity has already raised more than £1.5m of its £6m target to build a new hospice by March 2015.

Judy said: “People are being so generous. There is an old saying that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves and it is very true.

“People sometimes think a small amount of money won’t make a difference, but when you put them all together it does.

“Thorpe Hall is an amazing place. People always think of a hospice as somewhere you go to die, but it’s not. It’s a place for people to live.

“The main aim is to make people comfortable and often they are able to go home for a while.

“I admire the nurses so much. Nothing is too much trouble for them and the new building will make things so much better for them and the patients.”

To find out more about joining the lunch club or other fundraising events e-mail Thorpe.fundraising@sueryder.org