EAST Lancashire Hospice has asked people to turn their unwanted gold into cash to help it raise funds.

'Cash for gold' adverts have become a regular sight on television screens during the recession.

And now the hospice in Park Lee Road, Blackburn, has asked supporters to consider the same principle, but to donate their spare jewellery to help its cause instead.

A hospice spokesman said: “Take a look around your home, or call it an early spring clean, and who knows, you may find an item of gold such as a necklace or a bracelet you forgot you had or may not wear any more.

“So why not bring your booty along to the East Lancashire Hospice?

“We can even arrange to collect any items that you would like to donate, which will help to raise much needed funds.”

The consumer group Which? has said companies offering cash for gold jewellery in TV adverts were paying a fraction of the items' true worth.

It said firms offered 'shockingly bad value', and gave the example of three pieces of new jewellery it bought for a total of £729, which drew offers from the firms of as little as £38.57 for the lot.

On average, the TV gold buyers offered around six per cent of the retail price for gold. High street stores paid around 25 per cent, according to Which?.

But Sharon Crymble, fundraising manager at the hospice, said it would use reputable jewellery businesses in East Lancashire to sell the gold.

She said: “Last week we received a donation from a lady who brought in more than £600 raised by employees at Blackburn Crown Court by selling old gold and it gave us the idea.

“We won't be using internet or TV companies, we will be using our existing supporters and local contacts.”

The charity relies on the support of the community to raise nearly £2 million every year.

This allows it to continue to provide a special way of caring for the people of Hyndburn, Blackburn, Darwen, and the Ribble Valley who have a life limiting illness, particularly cancer, and offer support to their families.

If you feel you can help by donating any items, contact janet.thompson@eastlancspct.nhs.uk or call 01254 342848.