Grieving Sunderland families raise thousands to buy hospice minibus

ON BOARD: Derek Moss, chairman of St Benedict's Hospice board of trustees, is pictured with the charity's new minibus
ON BOARD: Derek Moss, chairman of St Benedict's Hospice board of trustees, is pictured with the charity's new minibus
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A CAMPAIGN to help families being supported by a Sunderland hospice has turned a corner with the arrival of a new minibus.

Backers of St Benedict’s in Ryhope have helped to raise enough money to buy the new vehicles by pledging donations in memory of lost loved ones.

Twinkling lights, each representing lost friends and family, were dedicated in their name on a tree of remembrance during a moving ceremony at St Benedict’s Hospice in December.

More than 500 people attended the Light Up A Life event with their donations, which raised £20,000 for the hospice.

It came as the dedication Christmas tree in The Bridges, where supporters put the names of their loved ones on paper baubles, raised a further £6,200 for the charity, bringing the total to £26,200, with funds raised at a ball also boosting the appeal.

It meant the hospice, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, reached its £45,000 target to buy a minibus for patients and cover the bus’s first year’s running costs.

Derek Moss, chairman of St Benedict’s Hospice board of trustees, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve raised enough to reach our minibus target.

“The annual Light Up A Life event was as popular as ever and was a poignant and beautiful tribute to many who had lost their lives.

“We’d like to thank everyone who made donations and attended the event. Their generosity will make a great difference to patients and their families at the hospice.”