Steve is one of our longstanding volunteers. He started fundraising for us 19 years ago. He explains, “My wife was brought into the hospice for two weeks at the end of her life. Our children were only two and four at the time. She was given a private room so I could take the children to see her right up until the end. I will never be able to repay Hospiscare for what they did for us.”
As a widower with two children under five, Steve didn’t have much free time but knew he wanted to give something back. So, the family started taking part in charity bike rides to raise money for Hospiscare. Steve also started volunteering instore, first in Ottery and then in Whipton, for one day a week. 10 years later, Steve could no longer fit the shop in around his job, so he looked for a different way to support Hospiscare.
A friend suggested joining the Otter Vale Friends of Hospiscare group, and Steve has been a member ever since. “We run all sorts of community events, including coffee mornings, plant sales, soup and pudding lunches, table-top sales, car boots, and a monthly bingo night. We also organise an annual community cream tea at Coldharbour Farm. Last year, our group raised over £49,945 altogether, which is quite good for a small town!”
Lockdown put paid to most of Hospiscare’s fundraising activities, leaving us struggling to cover our costs. Steve decided to take action, by walking 105 miles in a week in March 2021. “I could not believe how many people donated. I think they realised that Hospiscare really needed money, and things just snowballed. In the end, I raised around £6,384. It was phenomenal.”
Steve also motivates local businesses to choose Hospiscare as their charity of the year, including Otter Garden Centre, where his daughter works. The team there raised over £14,000 in 2021 and continue to support Hospiscare.
Last year, an attendee of Steve’s bingo nights nominated him to be a baton bearer for the Commonwealth Games. He explains, “I thought it was a joke when I first got the letter through! It was a fantastic thing to be part of; I’m really proud.”
And Steve isn’t the only fundraiser in the family. His fiancée regularly supports Steve’s events, and his children still fundraise for Hospiscare. These days, they’re not just riding bikes. Steve’s daughter, Lauren, took on a more adrenaline fuelled challenge this year – a skydive. Together with a friend, she raised over £1,584 for Hospiscare, and has recently raised even more by recreating her dad’s 100-mile walk.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Steve, Lauren and all our fundraisers. Without the support of such generous people, we couldn’t do the work we do.
If you’re reading this and thinking about joining your local fundraising group, rest assured that you’ll receive a very warm welcome. As Steve says, “It’s really good fun. Hospiscare is incredibly supportive, and the members of the group have become close friends.”