Golfers club together to help hospice ‘black hole’

Pictured (left to right) are Derek Lindley, Willen Hospice Senior Community fundraiser Allison Waterhouse and Jackie Stimpson
Pictured (left to right) are Derek Lindley, Willen Hospice Senior Community fundraiser Allison Waterhouse and Jackie Stimpson

Golfers have chipped in with a large donation to help fill a £500,000 ‘black hole’ in the funding required to keep a renowned local hospice going.

Big-hearted members of Leighton Buzzard Golf Club coughed up £21,048 at a range of social and golfing events to support the Willen Hospice charity, nominated by Club Captain Derek Lindley and Ladies Captain Jackie Stimpson during their year in office.

The Milton Keynes-based hospice provides care for people from the age of 18 upwards suffering from life-limiting illnesses, focusing on specialist symptom, emotional and spiritual support as well as providing care for carers.

The 15-bed hospice and Wellbeing centre at Linford Wood, together with the out-patient services it provides, costs around £4.6m a year to run – with less than 22% of the funding provided by the NHS.

That means around £3.6m a year has to be raised by individual donors, from businesses and contributions from voluntary groups and local communities to fund Willen’s round-the-clock support for patients, their families and carers.

Allison Waterhouse, Willen’s senior community fundraiser, collecting a cheque for £21,048.84 at Leighton’s Plantation Road club, said the donation could not have been more timely as the hospice was addressing a £500,000 funding shortfall.

“We appreciate times are hard for many families and that there are many calls on people to support worthy causes,” said Allison, adding: “We will continue to work hard to provide the support needed by those hit by life-shortening illnesses, and with the continued help of local people and organisations, we are confident we can move forward in a positive way.”

Jackie added: “We were unaware of Willen’s funding shortfall when Derek and I decided to make the hospice our charity for our year as captains, but now we know, the donation of £21,000 becomes that extra special.

“It’s all been made possible by members of Leighton Buzzard golf club and their friends, families and local businesses who have supported social and other events.”

Since the year 2000, the Leighton club has donated around £250,000 to local worthy causes mainly aimed at providing support for the disadvantaged and sick. The latest donation could be boosted by a further £5,000 from Gift Aid tax refunds.