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Anniversary ball raises vital funds for local hospice

More than 200 guests enjoyed Willow Wood’s 25th Anniversary Ball, helping to raise over £26,000 for the Hospice.

Held at The Village Hotel in Ashton-under-Lyne, guests enjoyed welcome drinks, a sumptuous three-course meal and a live band before dancing the night away with a disco at the glittering event.

A raffle and silent auction with some fabulous prizes on offer, donated courtesy of businesses and supporters, helped to boost vital funds further.

CEO Tracy Minshull welcomed everyone to the ball and shared the experiences of her first 60 days in the role.

“It’s been fantastic and a real pleasure and honour to work for such a community organisation,” she declared.

She did not shy away from the challenges facing hospice funding nationally, explaining that collectively the sector faces a £77m deficit.

“We are a critical partner in the NHS. Hospices are part of the solution and everyone has a right to live and die with respect and dignity in a place of their choosing and hospices provide that opportunity and that unique service.” 

Tracy praised the many other associated services the Hospice provides, adding it was one reason she wanted to come to Willow Wood so much.

She also highlighted the work of the bereavement, wellbeing and dementia services the Hospice provides.

In attendance at the ball was Greater Manchester Vice Lord-Lieutenant Sharman Birtles MBE, who has been a proud patron of the Hospice for many years.

She said: “I spend as much time as I possibly can telling the world about the good work that goes on at Willow Wood. It never ceases to amaze me about the work and the atmosphere there. It is a magical place that does wonderful work with wonderful people.”

She encouraged others to volunteer and help the Hospice, whether it be one hour, a week or one day.

“I have spent a good part of my life giving my time and there is nothing more rewarding and giving to something like Willow Wood can only enrich your life,” she added.

This year’s Anniversary Ball was sponsored by Ashton-based Scientific Sanitation Solutions.

Managing Director Wahid Ali said the company was committed to supporting the work of Willow Wood once they had visited the Hospice and found out more about the remarkable work undertaken.

“We saw the work that people are doing at Willow Wood and it resonates with us as a group and we are so proud to be aligned with Willow Wood.

“We are a humanitarian-based business and what we see Willow Wood doing is aligned with our own humanitarian work. It’s a very special, special thing for us.”

The business develops solutions in sanitation and agriculture.

Sales director Neale Samways, who has already undertaken a bungee jump for the Hospice, added: “It’s the little things that Willow Wood do that makes such a difference to people, and it’s the little things that we have implemented as a business that helps change lives, like the sanitation of water for instance. 

“Our ethos completely mirrors the ethos of Willow Wood. They are a local organisation like us that are doing great things.”

The event has raised over £26,000, a fantastic total which will support patients from the local community in the Hospice’s care. 

Sam Duncan, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Willow Wood Hospice, said: “Thank you so much to everyone who attended this year’s very special anniversary ball. 

“The hospice and all its services couldn’t continue without the community’s support and we would especially like to thank Scientific Sanitation Solutions for their support and sponsorship of the ball this year.”  

An especially busy year for the Hospice continues with many more special events planned, including next month’s Butterfly Memory Release, Martin Wild Golf Day and Willow Wood Does Strictly to name just a few.

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