EAST Cheshire Hospice has thanked the public for its ‘incredible’ response to an urgent fundraising appeal.

The appeal was prompted by the financial impact on the hospice of having to cancel fundraising events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospice beat its initial target of £1,000 in a matter of hours, and has raised almost £2,400 in just two days towards its new target of £5,000.

People can make a donation to the East Cheshire Hospice Needs You Now More Than Ever appeal on the hospice’s Facebook page.

A hospice spokesman said: “Thank you so much to everyone who has donated or shared. It really does make a difference and it is very much appreciated. What a wonderful community we have.

“When times are tough it’s the people who are already finding life challenging that can be affected the most.

Currently, people’s everyday lives are being altered. You may be thinking; Is it safe? What does the future hold? How will I cope?

“Well these are some of the challenges many of our patients and family members face every day.

“At East Cheshire Hospice, we are here to care for families and help them find the answers to these tough questions. We cannot do that without the support of people like you, we need your help now more than ever.

“Following Government guidance we and our community support groups have had to make the decision to cancel fundraising events, which provide vital funds to allow us to continue to provide the end of life care to our community.

“We are now facing real concerns about what this could mean for our hospice care in the future. Please donate if you are able. Thank you.”

The hospice has suspended some of its services and postponed fundraising events because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Outpatient appointments at its Sunflower Centre are suspended until further notice along with Hospice day programmes.

The hospice will use telehealth technology to look after its patients remotely.

Meanwhile, the Hospice @Home service and inpatient wards will use extra screening questions to protect patients and staff.

Families are being asked to limit visiting whenever possible to reduce the risk of cross-infection.

Reception and ward volunteers aged under 70 are being asked to report for their normal duties.

However, all other volunteers are being requested to stay away from the Hospice for at least two weeks from when the guidelines were issued on March 17.

Non-clinical staff have been set up with equipment to enable them to work from home.

The hospice has cancelled some of its fundraising activities, which is a major blow to an organisation which needs to raise £7,500 a day to keep going.

Hospice chief executive Karyn Johnston said: “We must adhere strictly to government guidelines while doing our utmost to ensure our patients continue to receive the best possible care.

“That care continues during this pandemic, ensuring that our patients and their families still receive the same support which is so essential during end-of-life care.

“Our patients and families have been so accommodating in these unprecedented times, and we sincerely hope these measures will have the minimum impact on all those affected.

“They have been most understanding, and so too have been our supporters and volunteers. We have received many messages of support which will provide us with great strength in the challenging weeks ahead.

“During these uncertain times it’s important that our local community continues to support its local hospice.

"The loss of revenue from fundraising events is a severe blow, but our expertise and care will be needed more than ever, and we sincerely hope that our supporters will help us as much as they possibly can.”