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Businesses unite for £100,000 fundraising challenge
A charismatic sports supremo called on the business community to pool their skills and resources to give Saint Francis Hospice a £100,000 cash injection this year.
The hospice's Business Alliance Group met at the Pepperell Education Centre for the first time on Monday (June 15) and more than 20 businessmen and women had the chance to network while supporting the charity.
Barry Hearn, 67, the Chairman of Matchroom Sport, led the event and spoke of his personal connection with the hospice which cared for his mother in law before she died.
"I was so impressed with the care my mother in law received while she was here," said Barry, who has raised almost £200,000 for the hospice by organising his bi-annual golf days.
"I came away thinking I am glad we have a facility like this in our area. Sometimes it is nice to see a charity where you can see where your efforts go. Something close to home which affects all of us adds a bit of realism."
The father of two insisted fundraising should be fun and he challenged the group to organise their own event and over the next six months all the money raised will be put together to make a significant donation to the hospice.
"I need people who are going to do one thing on their own, to come up with an idea that is going to raise some money for the hospice," he said.
"I want a team of networking people and to see if we can give £100,000, or something that can make a real difference to the hospice by the end of the year."
Chairman Robert Weatherstone and Anne Brown, Head of Fundraising, also told the group that their help would enable the hospice to continue providing quality end of life care to everyone who needs it while raising the profile of the organisation.
The day proved to be a great success and there was a positive response from everyone present. SFH Project Manager Mary-Anne Donovan said 'I am really delighted with the turnout and the response from people wanting to get involved with the group. As a charity, we are extremely fortunate to have the support of so many local business people, including that of course of Mr Barry Hearn.'
Gary Grant, of Star Struck Autographs, who has supported the hospice for many years by selling and donating memorabilia for fundraising events, said "It is nice to speak to different people and get ideas for different collections."
Martin Engleman, of Engleman Wills and Power of Attorney, said "Networking is the best way to raise your profile and it is the warmest way of introducing your services. "Advertising is direct but it remote and people prefer to buy from people."
Barry Hicks, Chairman of Havering Chamber of Commerce said "I would like to be part of the team and am hoping to organise a fundraising event.
"My dad was helped by the hospice when he was ill and in the past I have been involved in several charity events for the hospice."
Chris Laney, Positive Change Consultancy, said her mother Betty Nuth, 67, was cared for by the hospice before she died of cancer 14 years ago and over the years she has supported the hospice in various ways.
"My mum had a place where she could come and die with dignity and for us as a family it was wonderful to see her at peace and being so well looked after."
The group will meet again in September where they will continue to network and discuss further fundraising opportunities for the hospice.
Any businesses interested in getting involved can call Mary Anne Donovan on 01708 771 433.