On Sunday 4 December, over 400 people from the local area descended on Banbury’s Spiceball Park dressed as Santa to take part in the annual Santa Fun Run organised by Katharine House Hospice. Between them they raised over £15,000 – enough to run the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit this Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Local Member of Parliament, Victoria Prentis was on hand to support the event and start the 4km race which is now in its seventh year, and has raised over £100,000 for the Hospice since it began.
Spiceball Park was decorated with Christmas trees, tinsel, and paper chains to get people in to the Christmas spirit, and each runner was given a mince pie and a medal on completing the course.
Chris Higgins, Communications Officer at the Hospice, said; “The Santa Fun Run is a fantastic family morning out, and the atmosphere on Sunday was brilliant. We were so pleased to see so many families coming together to raise money for their local hospice. People take part in the event for many reasons; some enjoy a morning out with the family, some run for fitness, and many of those who signed up know someone who was cared for at the Hospice, and run in memory of them. On behalf of everyone at Katharine House, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came out despite the cold to take part.”
Friends Sallie Connery and Liz Linford have raised over £10,000 for Katharine House by taking part in the annual Monte Carlo or Bust Rally - a 1,000+ mile race through Europe, culminating in a drive around the world-famous Monaco Formula 1 street circuit on Monte Carlo's star-studded seafront.
The rally is a light-hearted event with over 80 teams of competitors decorating their cars, dressing up as movie stars or superheroes and taking part in challenges much like those on BBC's Top Gear.
Sallie, a hairdresser at the Hospice, joined her racing-driver friend Liz to take on the challenge in aid of Katharine House having seen first-hand the care the hospice gives to people facing life-limiting illnesses in and around Banbury.
Mrs. Connery said; "It was a great opportunity to raise funds for an essential support service for the local community. We hope that we never need their help, but for those who really need it, the hospice creates a sanctuary where patients and their families can make the most of their time. Liz and I have known each other for quite a few years and she's a keen rally driver - so she was perfect for the challenge of driving to Monte Carlo."
Chris Higgins, Communications Officer at the hospice, said; "We are so grateful to Sallie and Liz for their fundraising efforts. The £10,000 they've raised could run all our hospice services for a whole day, meaning we could carry on caring for almost 300 patients and their families in their homes, care homes, hospitals and in our hospice in Adderbury. They've been so positive and inspirational, coming up with so many exciting ways to raise even more than just the sponsorship money from the rally; everything from pub quizzes to talks, and showing off their car in market squares in local towns. It's been great to keep up with their activities over the last few months, and we can't wait to see what they come up with next!"
Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury is celebrating 25 years of caring for people with life-limiting illnesses in 2016, and on Tuesday, 27 September, Banbury Town Council presented Hospice founder Neil Gadsby with an award in recognition of his contribution to the community over two and a half decades.
Mr. Gadsby, 80, stood down as Chairman of the Hospice at the Hospice’s 25th anniversary celebration in February. For him it was the culmination of a journey which started in the most difficult circumstances when his daughter Katharine died from cancer in 1983. With a group of friends, he set out to build a hospice that would look after people facing life-limiting illnesses, and in the 25 years since, Katharine House Hospice has cared for over 9,000 patients and many more families in our community.
Current Katharine House Chairman, Richard Greaves, praised Neil’s leadership which has seen the hospice grow in to one of the most well-known and supported local charities:
“I have watched with admiration the way that Neil has overseen the management of the Hospice; with a kindness and a caring attitude. There are thousands of people who have benefitted from the services Katharine House offers, and many thousands more will benefit in the next 25 years and beyond. Without Neil, none of this would have been possible.”
The award comes as Katharine House launches a new look and a new strategy which sets out how the team at the Hospice will care for people facing life-limiting illnesses in the future. When the hospice opened its doors 25 years ago, Neil was determined that everyone in the community with a life-limiting illness be looked after according to their individual needs and wishes. Today the hospice still believes strongly that every individual’s journey matters, and the new strategy focuses on making sure that people have the type of care they need when they need it, and where they need it, as well as reaching people in hard to reach communities locally.
Despite retiring for a second time in February, Neil is very much still involved with the Hospice, and is hoping to raise £3,000 from sales of his new book – Voices – a collection of stories by local people about what the hospice means to them.