A CAR draw has been given fresh drive as organisers try to maximise an annual event for a charity whose efforts have been blighted by COVID-19.

St Teresa’s Hospice has again extended the draw date to give the public more time to buy tickets to raise precious funds at a time where most events remain on hold.

Volunteers are hoping to make the most of an easing of lockdown restrictions to get out into the community to push sales, following latest Government guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of the public.

The annual car draw, supported by motor dealer Sherwoods Peugeot Durham, aims to raise up to £20,000.

But this year, as one of the few remaining fundraisers, organisers are hoping the community will dig deep to ensure all tickets are sold.

The pandemic saw a plethora of hospice fundraisers and sponsored events put on hold and the temporary closure of its chain of charity shops, which have just embarked upon a phased reopening.

The hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free day, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

An emergency appeal was launched and funds so far have ensured the hospice has been able to continue providing 24/7 care and support in its in-patient unit and in patients’ own homes, through St Teresa’s Community Hospice Services, including Hospice at Home and the Rapid Response Team.

This has helped reduce the burden on the NHS at a critical time and donations can still be made at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTs.

To try and maximise proceeds, the car draw will now take place on Saturday, August 29, at 4pm.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “This is an excellent opportunity to win great prizes, and raise much-needed funds for St Teresa’s to continue providing vital care and support at a time when so many other fundraising events and activities have been cancelled.”

Sherwoods Durham sourced a brand new Peugeot 108 as the top prize, with nine others including an Iron Man Karting session at Teesside Karting for up to 10 people and annual membership for two people at Catterick Racecourse.

All tickets purchased to date remain valid for the new draw date. They can be purchased online at https://www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/car-draw/ or people can contact the hospice on (01325) 254321.

Details will be announced on the hospice website and Facebook page on where the tickets are being sold in the community during July and August.

Mrs Bradshaw said: “We are still selling the same number of tickets, so there will be the same chance of winning. But I can’t emphasise enough the importance of the car draw this year because all other hospice fundraising events are cancelled or postponed until much later in the year.

“Funds raised now will allow our vital community and inpatient care and family support and bereavement care services to continue, so the public’s help really will be helping protect local hospice services.”

Sherwoods Motor Group chairman and hospice honorary president Alasdair MacConachie added: “I find it absolutely incredible that the hospice has been able to continue its amazing work during this period of global paralysis.

“This is testament to the brilliant work and organisation of hospice staff and volunteers and the unstinting support of the community. There are some incredible prizes to be won, not least a Peugeot 108, which will certainly lift the mood as we emerge from such a difficult period of our lives.”