St Giles Hospice celebrated its most successful raffle ever this summer – despite it taking place in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The local community rallied around to raise a vital £107,100 to support hospice services through ticket sales and donations, at a time when COVID-19 had forced the cancellation of events and the temporary closure of the hospice’s shops.

St Giles Hospice Lottery Manager Alison Jerram said that she was delighted by the success of the raffle.

She added: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has so generously supported this summer’s raffle.

Martin Hawkins celebrates his lottery win with Lottery Manager Alison Jerram (left) and Ward Manager Sharon Meehan.

“It’s so humbling and inspiring that at a time when our fundraising has been so badly disrupted by COVID-19 our loyal supporters stepped up to help us right when we needed them most.

“This support will allow us to continue making a real difference to local people and their families living with a terminal illness. We hope our community will continue to support us because if your donations stop, we stop, and the demand remains at an all-time high.

“Our Christmas Raffle will launch in October and we hope the community will get behind us again to help keep our services going through the winter months ahead.”

The £8,000 summer raffle top prize was won by retired teacher Martin Hawkins, who has backed St Giles since his mum Madge Hawkins was supported by the hospice in the year before her death in 2001.

He said: “St Giles is such an important local cause and it’s very dear to me. I’m a Burntwood and Chasetown lad and I’ve known many people from all walks of life who have been helped by the hospice.

“My mum used to really look forward to going to St Giles. They helped to keep her mobile and active and the staff were always so kind and thoughtful.”

Martin, a former teacher at Chasetown High School, and his wife Denise had just moved from Cannock Wood to their new house in Sutton Coldfield when the lockdown was announced and their estate agents were forced to close down with the couple’s old home unsold.

He added: “The prize money is going to be a massive help for us. Our old house has been on the market over the last few months, so I’ve been going backwards and forwards to tend the garden in Cannock Wood and we’ve been paying the bills for two houses!

“Hopefully the sale of our old house will be completed soon and we can concentrate on our plans for an extension at our new home with a new kitchen, as well as sharing some of my winnings with my two sons and my sister.

“I enter the raffle to support St Giles – not because I expect to win anything – so it was a completely unexpected, lovely surprise. You can support the raffle for just £1 a ticket and it makes such a difference to a local charity that relies upon the generosity of local people -particularly at the moment when fundraising is so difficult.

“You only have to visit the hospice and see the wonderful facilities and caring staff to see that the money they raise is so well spent.”