Last March, the comedian Roy Walker, well known as the host of the TV show ‘Catchphrase’, was due to have been the star attraction at a celebrity lunch organised by the Bedford Castle Rotary Club.
But with the country about to go into lockdown, a decision was taken to cancel the event with Northern Irish comedian.
Despite this, the lunch that never was still raised the fantastic sum of £16,100 for Keech Hospice Care.
More than 300 people had booked tickets for the lunch and many of these opted to donate the ticket cost rather than take up a refund.
Further donations were also received from many more who hadn’t purchased tickets.
Keech Hospice Care is a hospice in Luton. It provides care specifically for terminally ill children in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, but also focuses on older terminally ill patients in Luton and South Bedfordshire.
More than 300 people had booked tickets for the lunch and many of these opted to donate the ticket cost rather than take up a refund.”
The hospice is almost 30 years old, and was the brainchild of Iris White, a volunteer nurse, who saw the difficulty patients from Luton and South Bedfordshire had in travelling to hospices outside of the area to get the care they needed.
Married to Dr Wink White, at her husband’s retirement party in 1986, Iris announced that her husband, who had been a family GP in Barton-le-Clay for 36 years, wasn’t going to retire. Instead, he was going to build a hospice for the people of Luton and South Bedfordshire.
In 1991, what was the Luton and South Bedfordshire Hospice (then the Pasque Charity and now Keech Hospice Care) opened its doors for adults at a time in their lives when care was needed the most.
The charity relies on its supporters for around 70% of the hospice’s funding. This means they need to raise over £6 million every year – more than £16,000 every day – to continue our specialist care for adults and children, and their families.
Rotary club President, Mike Salsbury, said: “To raise this amount of money for an event that didn’t take place is just incredible.
The charity relies on its supporters for around 70% of the hospice’s funding. This means they need to raise over £6 million every year – more than £16,000 every day – to continue our specialist care for adults and children, and their families.”
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our members, ticket holders and sponsors for their donations.
“The pandemic has hit hospices hard, and so I am delighted that we were able to present a cheque to Keech Hospice Care during these difficult times.”
Charles Codrington, Chairman of fund-raising for the club, thanked his committee for all their efforts, especially Chris Kilroy and the team at Old Road Securities.