A welcome return for hospice’s Dragon Boat Fun Day this weekend

THE lifting of almost all pandemic restrictions is enabling Woking Hospice to mark its 25th anniversary through mass-participation fundraising events and fully opening its charity shops.

The main fundraiser is the return of the Dragon Boat and Family Fun Day on Sunday at Goldsworth Park Lake.

Hospice fundraiser Krista Lougher and Richard Roberts, managing director of Dragon Boat Race and Family Fun Day sponsor Trident Honda, promoting Sunday’s event

The event, which has long been a key day in the Woking spring calendar, was last held in 2019 when it raised more than £30,000 – enough to pay for 350 hours of hospice care.

The colourful dragon boat race will feature teams from local businesses and friend and family groups competing on the water, with various entertainments and food on the banks of the lake from 10am to 4pm.

Like many charities, the hospice charity has been able to make use of virtual fundraising events that became a necessity during the height of COVID infections. It has continued using this element to make events more flexible.

One of these was the recent Virtual Easter Fun Run, in which fundraisers were invited to “hop, skip, walk, run or even jump” on a day of their choosing over the Easter holiday weekend.

A team from Seymours Estate Agents came a close second to the Natta Building Company in the Dragon Boat Race competition in 2019 when 23 teams took part

The other big event this year will be the Woodland Walk, which was also held last autumn. The sponsored family walk, at the McLarenheadquarters, is on Sunday 25 September.

As well as the hospice-organised events, money is raised by groups and individuals, often in gratitude for end-of-life care given to relatives or friends.

Phil Wormley, the hospice’s director of fundraising, said: “While the hospice receives significant funding from NHS England’s clinical commissioning groups, we remain heavily reliant on the generosity of our supporters through their fundraising efforts.

“This includes those who donate regularly by direct debit and those who play in the hospice lottery.

“When I look back over the years, there are so many names and faces that come to mind who have helped us.”

One of the keenest fundraisers is Lisa Harland, who has been a hospice volunteer for 26 years and completed the London Marathon in 2000.

She took part in the Virtual London Marathon in 2020 and last year, starting and finishing at the hospice in Goldsworth Park. She also donated bags of treats for the clinical teams during the pandemic.

For more information about the charity and fundraising activities, visit www.wsbhospices.co.uk

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