THE community has started to rally behind a much-loved hospice whose ability to raise funds has been decimated by the coronavirus.

Donations have been coming in since St Teresa’s Hospice launched a #hugtoStTeresas appeal, complete with the Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTs, to help meet a huge shortfall in public funding caused by the current global health crisis.

St Teresa’s Hospice needs £3m a year needed to continue its work to provide a raft of core services free of charge for residents of Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire who are affected by life-limiting illness. It relies on donations but most of the traditional fundraising events have had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 virus.

For long-time supporter of St Teresa’s Dhananjay ‘Danny’ Kelkar the current climate was the perfect opportunity to donate £1,500 in memory of his wife Mohini, who was cared for last year by the hospice.

The money will allow the purchase of an urgently needed syringe driver for the inpatient unit.

Danny said: “As a family we wanted to make a donation to St Teresa’s Hospice to show our appreciation of the excellent care Mohini received while at the hospice. We wanted to make this donation on March 30 to coincide with Mohini’s birth date.”

Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “Danny and Mohini have been great supporters of St Teresa’s Hospice. In 2016 they organised the Art of Giving Charity Exhibition, which was held at Crown Street Library, which showcased 30 of Danny’s paintings. The paintings were available for sale with proceeds being donated to St Teresa’s.

“Syringe drivers are needed more than ever. They are essential to delivering medicine to patients who are unable to take it on their own. They provide proper symptom control and relief for the patients being cared for on our inpatient unit and demand has been high.

“Although we currently have six syringe drivers, we need more as patients often need two at a time and there is also a programme of servicing which takes a driver out of action for a period of time. We also urgently need to replace four which are at the end of their working life so donations really are vital.”

In return for the donation a leaf bearing Mohini’s name has been placed on the Hospice Memory Tree within the inpatient unit reception.

Mrs Bradshaw added: “Donations like this have never been more important and we cannot thank the Kelkar family enough for keeping us in their minds at a time when they are still coming to terms with their own personal loss.”