EAST Lancashire Hospice has lost out on more than £650,000 of income since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospice has launched its most significant campaign to recuperate the deficit.

It costs £3.9 million a year to run the hospice, or £10,000 a day, and the cancellation of fundraising events as well as the temporary closure of its shops, warehouse and Café Retreat has taken a huge financial toll.

The campaign, taking the form of a Door Drop to 80,000 households in Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, will hit letter boxes this week.

Backing the campaign is Steve Almond, who lost his wife Anita to terminal cancer on November 5, 2020

Anita was 47 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer, before losing her battle aged 56.

The former hairdresser and Blackburn College tutor had been symptomatic for 12 months prior to her diagnosis but had just put things down to ‘getting older’.

The mother of Michelle and Nick, a dear mother-in-law of Richard and Emily, devoted grandma of Milo, Evie and Isabel, a dear sister of Angela, Maria and Beverley, and a loved daughter in law of Ann and, also, a dear sister in law and auntie, Anita's death was a great loss to many.

Her husband Steve said: “I can’t begin to tell you what a difference the hospice made to Anita’s life during her eight years of living with ovarian cancer.

“From early help and advice with the best pain management drugs, through ongoing support with complementary therapies and regular one to one meetings with her clinical nurse specialist to the amazing compassion and care provided for Anita by the nursing team at the end of her life, the hospice made a huge and real difference to the way we were able to live our life together.

“The hospice helped us to make the most of every single day and it gives me great comfort, now, to know that the hospice is here to help other people in the same way.

“It’s so important for me to be involved with this fundraising campaign. It’s a small way of saying thanks and a great way for me to continue Anita’s fundraising activities that she enjoyed so much - especially at a time when those funds are so desperately needed.”

Anita began a fundraiser for the hospice and since her passing, Steve wanted to honour her memory by keeping the fundraiser running which has now raised over £20,000.

Graham Parr, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the hospice, said “We know times are difficult for everyone, but we are appealing to our community for their help – however they can.

"Any donation made helps to ensure all of our patients at the hospice are able to make the very most of life.

“By supporting East Lancashire Hospice, they will be helping families get the support they need at the time they most need it. All monies raised go directly towards the provision of patient care in the hospice and in the local community – for which we are incredibly grateful”.

Richard Tatlow from Tatlow Signs has gifted the hospice some complimentary advertising on their DigiVan which is being used to promote the campaign and is circulating in Blackburn throughout February.

Richard said: “It is a pleasure to be able to support the hospice with such a worthy campaign and to offer them valuable advertising exposure in Blackburn. I have had first-hand experience of the care and support that they provide and understand how difficult this past year has been for them financially. I hope that our gesture goes someway to helping them achieve their campaign target of £650,000”.

To make a donation as part of the Covid Pandemic Impact Appeal, supporters are encouraged to visit https://eastlancshospice.org.uk/covidimpact or call (01254) 287014.