Thousands raised at hospice’s 30th birthday celebratory night

Adrian Williams, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Martyn Lewis; Hospice founder and President Cano

Adrian Williams, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Martyn Lewis; Hospice founder and President Canon Richard Norburn, and Barbara Gale, Hospice Chief Executive, cut a cake to mark 30 years of St Nicholas Hospice Care - Credit: Archant

A respected newscaster joined more than 100 supporters to celebrate the 30th anniversary of St Nicholas Hospice Care and raise thousands of pounds for the charity.

Chippenham Park hosted a celebratory evening, which featured a Pimm’s reception, three-course meal, music and after-dinner speech by renowned journalist Martyn Lewis.

It was not his first involvement with the hospice, as on June 5, 1991, he spoke at an event to launch a £2.5 million appeal to help construct the hospice building, which now stands in Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Lewis told the audience anecdotes from his illustrious career as a BBC newscaster, before speaking about the importance of hospice care. Mr Lewis, who is vice-president of Help the Hospices, said: “I remember the wonderful support and enthusiasm of St Nicholas Hospice Care when you invited me to help with your fundraising all those years ago, so it is a privilege to be asked back to mark this milestone.

“Hospices like St Nicholas Hospice Care, and especially St Nicholas Hospice Care, lead the way in helping when things seem impossible.

“I know that everyone who has been touched with or been involved with this great cause in some way has been changed by it.

“Now, celebrating 30 years of St Nicholas Hospice Care, that has to go hand in hand with a reminder of the £5 million it needs to raise each year.”

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A fundraising auction of VIP experiences was held during the evening. Lots on offer included two tickets to Wimbledon, a private tour of Banstead Manor stud and photo opportunity with legendary racehorse Frankel, a private tour of Lloyds of London, and a tour of Wartski. The auction raised £2,800.

Adrian Williams, chairman of the board of trustees, said: “It has been quite a birthday month. The hospice started on May 1, 30 years ago. As our centre in Bury St Edmunds continues to flourish, we’re also now helping a record number of people in their own homes, the place most people wish to be at a critical time. Then, more recently, we opened our first outreach centre in Haverhill.

“Our birthday month of May has given us an idea of just how much the community supports the hospice – £200,000 has been raised from community activities.”

Richard Norburn, hospice president and founder, said: “On May 1, 1984, we started with one nurse working in the community. In May 2014 we opened our first outreach centre in Haverhill and that’s very exciting for us. We are working with people who need us and giving them the opportunity to have treatment where they want it. I am humbled to see how the community has taken the hospice to its heart.”

Musical entertainment was provided by the strings of Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra. Chippenham Park, food by Crown Catering Cambridge and wine from The Wine Store, located at La Hogue farm, were donated and Martyn Lewis gave his time for free.