Christmas fundraiser sets record
A record amount was raised by the fourth Arohanui Hospice Trees of Remembrance fundraiser in Manawatu¯ and Horowhenua at Christmas.
Arohanui Hospice head Clare Randall said the amount from the commemorative trees set up in Farmers department stores in Palmerston North and Levin reached more than $34,000 and would go towards meeting the organisation’s $2.67 million annual shortfall.
The shortfall is up from $2.5m at the same time last year. Hospice director of strategy and operations Louise Curtis said it reflected cost increases year on year, as well as an expansion of hospice services.
‘‘We had 1000 patients during the last financial year, the most we’ve had, and the increased shortfall is reflected in that. We also opened a new clinic in Levin last year and while that has extra associated costs, it is the best thing for our region,’’ Curtis said.
While Horowhenua comprised 15 per cent of the area Arohanui served, she said the district with its older population, provided a third of its patients.
The Trees of Remembrance set up in Farmers stores during the weeks leading up to Christmas, provided the chance for families to tag the trees with the names of those they held dear, while mak- ing a donation to hospice.
Hospice spokesman Arran Stevenson said the previous best Trees of Remembrance total was $32,344 raised in 2015. Last year’s tally was $27,123.
‘‘To do as well as we have in spite of the election and the uncertainty surrounding it, we’re absolutely ecstatic with the total to be honest,’’ Stevenson said.
Randall praised those who made the record total possible.
‘‘The remarkable generosity of the people in Manawatu¯ and Horowhenua have contributed to this amazing result, and we can’t thank the enthusiasm and commitment of the team at Farmers enough.’’
She also thanked the dedicated hospice volunteers who staffed the trees and interacted with preChristmas shoppers.
The national Trees of Remembrance total was also a record, with $768,162 raised for hospice services across the country.
January marked a year since the Palmerston North Hospice Shop moved from Rangitı¯kei St to the corner of Walding and Lombard streets.
Rob Stewart places a star on the Tree of Remembrance in 2015 to honour a loved one and support the Arohanui Hospice.