CHARITABLE golfers are being urged to tee-off for the 18thand final time as a business raises close to a quarter of a million pounds for a hospice.

Heritage Healthcare will stage its final golf fundraising event for St Teresa’s Hospice on September 6 at Blackwell Grange Golf Club, Darlington, bringing to a close almost two decades of fundraising that so far have realised £222,000.

“It started as a one off 18 years ago,” recalled Heritage Healthcare director Sally Pickersgill.

“We had lost a close friend to cancer. She was only in her 30s and lived in Darlington but at the time there were no hospice beds in the town and she had to travel to Stockton, the ambulance having to stop three times en route.

“We knew we needed to do something so our friend Adrian Speir, of Landteam, organised a corporate golf day which raised more than £2,000.”

She said her husband, and fellow Heritage Healthcare director, Glenn Pickersgill used to run a number of care homes which offered end of life care as there were no hospice beds.

“We talked to Jane Bradshaw, Alasdair MacConachie and Trevor Birnie at St Teresa’s and decided to launch a hospice bed appeal,” Sally said.

“It started as a bit of fun then became more formal attracting teams from all over the country and just grew from there.

“The support has been amazing and the in-patient unit at St Teresa’s is now a fantastic success. We have met some incredible people who have played in all weathers, from hotter temperatures than Portugal to standing water on the greens and fairways. It seems appropriate to go out on a high with the 18thcompetition, one for every hole.”

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “Heritage Healthcare’s support over the years has been pivotal in the development of the hospice and in helping us sustain vital services for the people of Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

“The golf days have not only raised a phenomenal amount of money but also highlighted our work to a much wider audience many of who have also offered us their support. We really can’t thank Glenn and Sally enough.”

As well as players, Heritage Health Care, which provides professional expert support for people in their own homes all across the UK, is looking for donations of prizes for its auction and raffle, as well as sponsors for each hole.

The closing date for entries is August 28. On the day there will be prizes for the best round using the Stableford Handicap, the longest drive, landing nearest the pin from the tee and a double your money contest on the ninth.

There will be refreshments on arrival, a meal after the 18 holes and an evening of prizegiving to enjoy.

To enter contact Sally at sally@fairwaysgsp.co.ukor Zoe James by phone at Heritage Healthcare on (01325) 370700.