Staff at Otter Garden Centre got people digging deep into their pockets to help raise £14,700 for Hospiscare in 2021.

Despite the Covid restrictions and cancellations of events, the staff organised or took part in a range of fundraising activities throughout the year.

These included Hospiscare’s ‘Twilight with a Twist’ walk in July. In normal times hundreds of people gather in Exmouth to walk or run together for the charity. Last year participants chose their own routes and walked individually or in small groups. For the Otter team, Lauren Pearcy and Sally Bright planned routes of either six or 13 miles, and 33 staff from the garden centre took part, raising £3,739. The team have already signed up to take part in the walk again on June 25 this year.

Other successful fundraisers enabled the garden centre’s customers to support the charity. Over the festive period an animated show of singing penguins proved to be a real draw, with shoppers encouraged to put spare change into a collection bucket. The garden centre’s annual memory tree invited customers to remember loved ones with a message and ribbon on a Christmas tree, in exchange for a donation. A team from Hospiscare came to the garden centre to run a tombola, which was a great success with customers.

Otter Garden Centres Managing Director Jacqui Taylor said: “This is, quite simply, a brilliant total. It shows just how much this local charity means to our team and customers. We are so incredibly grateful for the ongoing support and enthusiasm shown by everyone.”

Steve Pearcy from the Otter Vale Friends of Hospiscare, who co-ordinated the fundraising with Otter, said: “Everyone at the garden centre has been so supportive with all the events from bingo and quizzes to the tombola and walk; we all worked as a team and it really has paid off.”

Last year Otter Garden Centres also sponsored Hospiscare’s Open Gardens for 2021, where people invite visitors into their private gardens in return for a donation to the charity. It will also sponsor this year’s event.

Hospiscare cares for over 2,000 patients and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon every year, relying on local support to provide this service at no cost to patients.