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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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200 charity walkers owe £16,000 sponsorship cash to Cumbrian hospice

A charity is chasing more than 200 women who owe it £16,000 in sponsorship money months after a fundraising event.

They have all yet to stump up sponsorship money promised as part of West Cumbria Hospice at Home’s midnight walk in June.

They were among 700 women who strode out in Workington to raise money for the charity. The event promised to add £53,000 to its coffers, based on details about sponsorship given to organisers.

But 209 women have not yet sent in the cash they raised – meaning that total is £16,000 down.

Gillian Johnston, the charity’s community fundraiser, this week sent out reminder letters to the women and says she will call on each of them if the money doesn’t start coming in.

She added, however, that there is often a genuine reason for money not being paid – such as women thinking they have paid when they haven’t.

Mrs Johnston said: “It is a bit worrying. We know how much each of these ladies have pledged and until we get the money in from this walk, we can’t move forward with planning other events. We understand that times are hard for people and they might have been pledged £100 but only got £40 or £50 – but just send that in as every little counts.”

So far £42,000 has been sent in to the charity from the 491 who have paid.

But the charity, which provides palliative and end of life care to people in west Cumbria, is desperate to get its hands on the remaining cash.

Women had until the end of September to send in their money and sponsorship forms. Mrs Johnston said that she will give them an extra month to do this and then the reminder phone calls will start.

This isn’t the first time that women haven’t paid up.

“Every year we struggle getting the money in,” said Mrs Johnston. “Some of the phone calls go really well and some go really badly. I will leave messages with anyone, bosses, husbands.

“When it happened the first year it was upsetting but we are used to it now.”

She said that other hospices around the country have taken drastic measures to collect money such as printing a list of names and sending bailiffs to their homes.

But she said the west Cumbria charity had no plans to do this.

“We are quite lenient,” she added.

“But if somebody hasn’t paid then they’re not allowed to enter again – they’re blacklisted.”

Have your say

If you have the ability to blacklist non payers from future events then use this information to bill these individuals for their care if they ever have to use the facility of the hospice, it may seem harsh but if they have already benefited financially via unpaid pledges then it seems fair they should pay when they need the service. I recently did a sponsored cycle ride for the hospice and paid the total amount of pledges out of my own pocket so the hospice got their money then chased everyone who had promised me cash, quite simple really.

Posted by honest bloke on 13 October 2012 at 10:14

This is essentially fraud, if you have taken money given for charity and used it for yourself. There should be criminal investigations.

Posted by Peter on 12 October 2012 at 12:37

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