Flower festival set to boost hospice

A CASH-strapped hospice could be in line for a �15,000 boost thanks to an event spearheaded by one of its founders.

Dave Gooderham

A CASH-strapped hospice could be in line for a �15,000 boost thanks to an event spearheaded by one of its founders.

The Euston Rural Pastimes has raised more than �330,000 for local charities since its inception, including thousands of pounds for St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.

Now this weekend's event is hoping to break records just weeks after it was reported that the hospice had cut a third of its beds and imposed a recruitment freeze due to the global economic problems.

The success of the popular annual attraction is especially important to Canon Sally Fogden, who was one of the founder members of the hospice which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Ms Fogden, who organises the associated flower festival, said: “The hospice does fantastic work and has such dedicated staff and we want to do all we can to help raise money.

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“All hospices across the country have been hit by the credit crunch but we wanted to support it while giving people a good, cheap day out. We hope to raise �30,000 with half going to the hospice and half going to local churches.”

Hospice bosses yesterday paid tribute to Ms Fogden and the event committee and said the target figure could fund a hospice nurse for more than six months.

Paul Abbott, director of fundraising and marketing, said: “St Nicholas Hospice Care truly values the year-on-year support of Euston Rural Pastimes.

“Over the past 18 years the event has raised over �330,000 for local charities - just imagine how many lives have been touched by this generosity.

“This year the event is scheduled to raise �15,000 for the hospice, which in the current financial climate is wonderful.

“We must pay significant thanks to Canon Sally Fogden. 25 years ago her foresight and vision helped to found the hospice - and in 2009 she is still actively supporting our work through this event and others.”

Last month, it was revealed that the hospice was closing four beds in its Sylvan Ward inpatient unit leaving just eight spaces and forcing more patients to be treated in their homes.

Chief executive Barbara Gale described the plans as “temporary” and moved to reassure patients and family members that the quality of care would not be affected.

The Euston Rural Pastimes event will feature a range of traditional historic crafts being demonstrated. It will be held on Sunday at Euston Park with the flower festival held over two days in the local church. The festival will include a floral display depicting a painting donated by the Duke of Grafton.