Shoppers need not be alarmed on Monday when staff from Durham University race around supermarkets and shops in Consett grabbing goods.willow burn hospice

Far from being up to no good, members of the university’s procurement team will be dashing around shops and businesses to collect raffle and tombola prizes for the Willow Burn Hospice Summer Fair.

The volunteers will start at Matalan at 2pm on Monday, June 17 and the items will eventually be unloaded at the Willow Burn Bookshop on Trafalgar Street. Many companies and traders have already said that they will be able to donate a prize or two for the Fair that will be held at St Bede’s School, Lanchester on Saturday, July 13.

Vicky Ridley, Project Manager for ‘Experience Durham’ based at the university, said: “A staff volunteering scheme was started four years ago as we wanted to make a commitment to support local community groups.

“Staff can volunteer for up to five days each year and it’s a great way for them to get out of the office, make new contacts and develop their team-working skills.

“Our staff will work with a couple of volunteers from the hospice on the day and we hope to have eight people making the dash”.

Sue Fox, Fundraising Lead at Willow Burn Hospice, came up with the idea as a fun way of engaging with local businesses and raising vital funds for the hospice.

She explained: “We get great support from our community fundraisers and, as only 38% of our funding comes from the Department of Health each year, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to raise the rest.

“So far, we know that decorative candles, a picture frame and hair and beauty vouchers have been pledged. I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and support of the traders that I have spoken to about it.”

There will be four teams and the trolley dash route will take in the main streets including Front Street and Station Road in Consett.

The annual Willow Burn Hospice Summer Fair takes place from 1-3pm on Saturday, July 13 and everyone is welcome. If you have something to donate, please contact Claire Ross on 01207 523296 or email

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Chris Brown
Christopher Brown is Consett Magazine's lead journalist. Chris enjoys meeting with a whole host of different people to report on what's happening in Consett, Co.Durham.


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