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Flower Festival blooms funds for Ashton hospice care

Hundreds of people enjoyed Willow Wood’s popular Flower Festival last weekend, which raised more than £6,000 in support of patient care at the Hospice.

The event was formally opened on Saturday 11th May by Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner, along with Willow Wood Hospice’s new Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Minshull.

Local residents packed into the Hospice, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, over both days, which even brought some welcome sunshine.

The seventh annual festival held special significance as it commemorated 25 years of the Hospice providing compassionate care to patients from the local community, under the theme of ‘all things Willow Wood’.

Created by both individuals and groups, the vibrant displays represented services the Hospice offers, the Hospice’s charity shops, fundraising events both past and present, volunteers, the Willow Wood Hospice Choir and the Hospice’s picturesque gardens. 

To further boost Hospice funds, each display had a price tag attached so they could be purchased by those in attendance and collected at the end of the festival.

There were also refreshments served by a band of volunteers – including from St Peter’s Church in Stalybridge – in The Hive and Prosecco in the Garden Room, where there was card, craft, wooden craft, cake, tombola and raffle stalls for visitors to browse.

Visitors were kept entertained by Mike Styan and friends from local amateur operatic societies on Saturday, and the Sounds Familiar Ukelele Band on Sunday.

Angela Rayner MP said: “It was my pleasure to officially open the annual Flower Festival at Willow Wood Hospice and this year was extra special as it marks the 25th anniversary.

“I have visited Willow Wood on many occasions during my time as MP and I am always struck by how dedicated and compassionate the staff and volunteers are and how much effort goes into creating such a peaceful and welcoming environment.

“I am incredibly proud to have such a wonderful facility within my constituency and I would like to thank everyone who works so hard to make it such a success. I am sure all the residents, visitors and their families who visit the hospice are grateful.”

The event is organised by a dedicated committee of volunteers, comprising Eileen Smith, Ann Fee, Pauline Giblin, Christine Lucas, Sheila Redfearn, Judith Scott, Lorraine Vaughton and Bernice Woodward.

Eileen Smith, on behalf of the committee, said: “It was a happy weekend, there was a lovely atmosphere and what a positive environment a hospice is.

“We wish to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped in any way to ensure the festival was a great success, everyone who attended and Angela Rayner for opening the event.” 

To see more photographs from the Flower Festival, visit Willow Wood Hospice’s website www.willowwood.org.uk or Facebook page.    

The Hospice must raise at least £3.3 million every year to run and, with only around 20 per cent coming by way of Central Government, the generous support of the community is vital.

If you would like to organise a fundraising event for Willow Wood, please contact the Hospice’s Fundraising team by emailing fundraising@willowwood.org.uk or calling 0161 330 7788 so they can support you along the way.

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