A big thank you from Smiley Sam

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Keech Hospice Care would like to say a big thank you to all the families who donated to its Smiley Sam appeal over the Christmas period.

The total raised from the street and supermarket collections was a massive £32,786.64. A further cheque from Luton’s Santander branch to match fund a night’s fundraising by one of their employee takes the total to £33,675.81, beating the 2010/11 Smiley Sam total of just over £24,000.

The much needed funds will be used to care for sick children across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

This year, Smiley Sam covered 1,300 miles over 28 nights and over 1004 hours were donated by about 100 volunteers who took part walking alongside with collection buckets or driving the trailer.

Mike Keel, the Hospice Chief Executive said: “This news, at the start of our 21st birthday year, is just wonderful.

“Our evening collections are run by so many of our volunteers and I would like to thank each and every one of them. They all say how quickly it gets them into the festive mood!”

“I am always so taken aback by the affection shown by local people to us when we do the collections and it is lovely to see the excitement on the faces of the children - and their mums dads grannies and granddads - all of whom are so happy to see Smiley Sam again.”

All services to Keech’s patients and their families are free of charge, but “free” care costs the hospice over £7m each year, of which over 75% comes from the local community. If you missed Sam this year, it’s not too late to donate: to give just £3, text SSAM01£3 to 70070.

Keech would like to expand the routes as so many people have asked for their streets to be visited. But to travel more miles, Keech needs more volunteers to help. If you would like to be part of the magic that is Smiley Sam by giving a couple of hours or a few evenings you can contact Rich Odey on 01582 707959 or email rodey@keech.org.uk