AFTER a decade of generous giving by Wearsiders, Grace House Hospice is now finally built and will soon be caring for poorly children.
Workers have put the finishing touches to the new site in Southwick with equipment soon to be placed in rooms.
It was back in 2002 that the appeal was first launched in the Echo by broadcaster Kathy Secker and severely disabled girl Grace Jones, now 14.
Bosses at Grace House say 2013 is going to be the most important year ever for the charity, as the dream of a purpose-built and wonderfully equipped children’s hospice is realised and they welcome their first visitors for treatment.
To make this happen, the hospice says it will need to work even harder than before to raise the funds to pay nurses, specialist staff and a supporting clinical team who will operate the facility as more poorly youngsters arrive.
Grace House fund-raiser Karen Maclennan said: “We are so grateful for everyone’s support and it is thanks to our donors that we have been able to build Grace House, a fantastic facility that will offer continued support to very sick children and their families throughout the North East region.
“We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and we need that support to continue.
“The next phase of our fund-raising is crucial to opening the doors of Grace House as quickly as possible.
“Our focus now is raising the money to buy specialist equipment and to cover the running costs including the specialist staff, nurses and supporting clinical teams.
“We need your help to do this.
“On behalf of all the children and their families who will benefit from the facilities that Grace House will offer, we thank you.”
More money is being raised for the site with the raffling off of a Citroen C1 car on December 21.
Tickets for the raffle will be available from Jeff Coxon and other Grace House volunteers outside Mothercare, in High Street West, this Saturday, and on Saturday, December 15, between 10am and 5pm on both dates.
Karen added: “We are extremely grateful to Town Centre Citroen for donating the Citroen C1 for us to raffle and thank you to Encore Envelopes Ltd who have supplied the wonderful printed envelopes and MetroMail who have provided the full mailing service completely free of charge.
“Good luck to everyone who has bought a ticket.
“Every £1 will go straight towards our costs for running this wonderful new facility.”
A Christmas fair, grotto and concert in aid of the hospice takes place this Sunday at Rainton Meadows Arena, in Houghton, from noon until 4pm.