A MUCH loved hospice has received more than £9,000 thanks to a 12-month fundraising partnership with a local supermarket.

Staff at Sainsbury’s, Darlington, have collected £5,853.80 for St Teresa’s Hospice after adopting it as their charity of the year following an overwhelming vote from customers. Activities held in-store by the Hospice team generated a further £3,821.46 meaning the final total was £9,675.26.

The hospice, on Woodlands Road, Darlington, provides free care and support for residents of Darlington, South West Durham and North-Yorkshire who are affected by life-limiting illness.

Over the past 12 months the store has held a number of fundraising activities including a quiz, bucket collections and bag packs, as well as hosting the St Teresa’s Christmas flash mob, selling tickets for their car prize draw, collecting unwanted Christmas gifts and hosting the Giving to Life Tree.

Sainsbury’s community ambassador Marie Steward said: “We all have links to people using or knowing someone who has used the hospice’s services and the vote to support St Teresa’s by our staff and customers was very clear.

“When my husband was ill I was supported by the St Teresa’s Hospice at Home Service and have visited the hospice itself for a tea part, so I have seen for myself what a wonderful place it is and what incredible work they do.

“Although our 12 month adoption has now officially ended we will still keep our close association with the hospice supplying them with fresh flowers everyday and donating Easter Eggs and Christmas presents for tombola and raffle prizes.”

St Teresa’s links with the store will also continue with Sainsbury’s pledging to offer 150 days of community support in celebration of its 150th birthday.

“We have already agreed with St Teresa’s that a dozen volunteers from the store will help to tend the gardens at the hospice in the autumn,” said Marie.

“And when our next charity of the year scheme is run in 2020 I’m sure that the hospice will once again be one of the charities in the running.”

St Teresa’s Hospice fundraising and marketing manager John Paul Stabler added: “The hospice really relies on commercial, company and individual support to help raise the £3m a year needed to maintain our services to the local community.

“We are immensely grateful to Sainsbury’s for all their efforts over the past 12 months, for their continued fundraising and for helping to raise awareness about the hospice and the valuable work it does.”