Wat-er donation! Schools and colleges across the Fylde coast have left a popular charity stunned after an appeal for water saw more than 30,000 bottles donated in less than a week.
In August United Utilities issued a boil water notice to 300,000 homes after traces of a parasite – cryptosporidium – were found at its treatment plant in Preston.
The ban on using water straight from the tap was a real headache for the hospice, and the clinical team had to introduce a lot of extra precautions to keep patients safe
The company issued thousands of bottles of water to residents, schools and colleges in response. But with the boil water notice being lifted this week, bosses at Trinity Hospice launched an appeal for any surplus bottles to be donated and have been astonished by the response, admitting they have been left “overwhelmed” by people’s generosity.
Blackpool Sixth Form, Clifton Primary in St Annes, Our Lady of Assumption in South Shore, Our Lady in St Annes, Lytham CE School, St John’s Primary in Poulton and many others have pledged thousands of bottles.
The water will now be used for major fund-raising events throughout the year.
Lisa Martin, community fundraiser said hospice members had been left shocked by the response – adding one man donated his £50 compensation from United Utilities to the charity after the water crisis.
She added: “We have been overwhelmed by the offers of bottled water.
“We now have enough to replenish our fundraising supplies and cover all our up - coming events, such as the Santa Dash – probably even next year’s Blackpool Fun Run.
“Local schools do so much for us over the course of the year, and this has helped us enormously.
“We are also grateful for the help in moving and storing it all.
“The ban on using water straight from the tap was a real headache for the hospice, and the clinical team had to introduce a lot of extra precautions to keep patients safe.
“It has been a real challenge, but suddenly the cloud has a silver lining – and the fact that one local man dropped by with £50 cash for us was the icing on the cake. He said it was from his United Utilities refund but he wanted the Hospice to benefit. How kind is that?”
Shirley Morgan, hospice communications officer, said The Gazette’s Hospice Heroes Campaign – our appeal which raised £268,000 to help transform the Bispham-based centre – had a major effect on increasing donations.
She added: “Trinity Hospice touches the lives of about 8,000 local people every year, but because we have to raise about £5m each year through voluntary donations, it’s vital that our profile across the community stays high.
“There’s no doubt that the Hospice Heroes campaign with The Gazette, which helped pay for our refurbishment, enabled us to reach more people than ever before and helped us communicate our key message: that two thirds of our annual running costs are covered by the generosity of local people.
“Local people keep our doors open.
“Trinity Hospice and Brian House are always here, providing compassionate care 24 hours a day every day of the year: but what’s really great is that the communities of the Fylde Coast are always there for us too.
“The donation of bottled water is just one example of how people think of us and then do something amazing.”
United Utilities confirmed supplies are now back to normal after up to 300,000 homeowners were told they could not drink tap water for almost five weeks when cryptosporidium, a microbial parasite, was discovered at a water treatment plant.
Last week, United Utilities announced customers would receive between £50 and £60 each – with the water crisis likely to set the business back by some £20m.
As part of the outbreak water was given to residents – as well as schools and colleges as the autumn term started earlier this month.
But after the boil water notice was lifted, thousands of surplus bottles were left at schools across the Fylde coast – bottles now passed onto Trinity Hospice.
A Trinity Hospice spokesman said the charity is extremely grateful for all bottled water, but have asked no more water is donated as it has now reached its storage limit.
Generous schools: ‘Why we helped out Trinity’
Heads of schools across the Fylde coast explained why they backed Trinity Hospice’s water appeal.
Andy Martin, head of estates, at Blackpool Sixth, said the college got involved thanks to sports coach Steve Legge, who contacted Trinity Hospice.
He added: “Blackpool Sixth staff and students are delighted to be able to support Trinity Hospice through supplying them with the remaining bottles of water.
“We will deliver approximately 18,000 bottles to them on Monday. We greatly appreciate the hugely important work Trinity Hospice does in our community and we are very happy to be able to help them in this way.”
Ian Cooper, deputy headteacher at Norbreck Primary School in Blackpool, added: “I would imagine we had 10,000 bottles given to our school.
“We have passed in the region of 9,000 to Trinity Hospice.
“We have very strong links with them.
“They support us with a community worker who comes in once a term and we raise money with them throughout the year.
“At Christmas we make donations to Brian House.
“We feel we owe them a lot.
“The water problem has affected many people and this is a nice end to give. It is great to help a charity out.
“Most people in Blackpool hold it close to their hearts.”
Rachel Legge, (pictured) headteacher at Clifton Primary School in St Annes, said around 1,000 bottles had been donated.
She told The Gazette: “We support the hospice all the time.
“Our secretary Anne Morton passed away a few years ago and we decided to do a 10km run that year to raise money and continue to help.
“Some of the staff did the colour splash this year.
“We love supporting the hospice. It is a place that the community thinks is important to support.”