Since they began fundraising over 25 years ago, Bath Friends Group and Combe Down Friends Group have raised £200,000 for Children's Hospice South West (CHSW).
The Friends Groups are committees who get together on a regular basis to arrange events, collections and raise awareness of CHSW. They are a vital part of CHSW which needs around £10million a year to run its three hospices in North Somerset, North Devon and Cornwall.
Carole Andrews, Chair of Combe Down Friends Group, said: “I was first introduced to CHSW when I attended a coffee morning organised in my local area. After 2 or 3 years a friend and I decided to form our own Group at Combe Down. There followed cream teas and plant sales and other activities locally in support of CHSW.”
Friends Groups are committees who get together on a regular basis to arrange events, collections and raise awareness of CHSW
Awareness of CHSW in the Combe Down area is high thanks to the work carried out in the area by these committed volunteers. As well as coffee mornings, the Group holds plant sales, soup lunches and a hugely successful Cream Tea - the last one alone raised over £600. They also have stalls at local events, as well as host soup lunches at committee members’ homes.
Carole said: “We moved our meetings to St Michaels Church in the centre of Bath where we now hold monthly coffee mornings with members of the Bath Friends Group. We support each other’s events and we are delighted to have raised such a large sum for this wonderful and much-needed charity.” The coffee mornings always include a raffle, a tabletop sale, as well as refreshments.
Beryl Jones is 93 and until recently had lived in Bath all her life. She was a founding member of Bath Friends Group who only retired from her role as Treasurer a year ago. Beryl was inspired by the story of Eddie and Jill Farewell who founded CHSW having had two of their children diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. “In 1995 we visited Little Bridge House in Devon. There were so many of us we had to organise a coach to take us there. When Charlton Farm was being built near Bristol, we visited it too and I was there for the opening ceremony in 2007.”
Jean Shobbrook took over from Beryl as Treasurer of the Bath Friends Group and has been a member for more than ten years. Jean says she had no idea the charity even existed until her friend told her about it. “As soon as I visited, I was hooked. I do it for the children and the families and I really enjoy the monthly meetings and look forward to seeing everyone.”
Carole said: “Many members of both groups have visited Bath's local hospice, Charlton Farm, and witnessed for themselves the beautiful accommodation, happy atmosphere and wonderful setting. I would urge anyone to go and see for themselves the vital work carried out there.”
Karen Mathie, Community Fundraiser at CHSW, said: “We simply couldn’t provide the best possible hospice care for children and young people without the help of our Friends Groups. We’d like to thank each and every one of them for their dedication and tireless support of CHSW. Although Charlton Farm is situated in the beautiful North Somerset countryside, we are the only dedicated facility for families in Bath whose children have been diagnosed with a life threatening or life limiting condition. We provide a haven for families facing the unimaginable.”