Grotto helps to raise £1,500 for the My WiSH Every Heart Matters appeal

The operation of the annual Santa’s Grotto by Haverhill Lions Club has helped to boost the funds of the My WiSH Charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal.

For the event, which ran over three weekends and a day and attracted up to 550 children, prior to Christmas last year, has raised £1,500.

The club’s ethos is to help support the local community so it decided a great way to help support the local community was by making a donation to the appeal which is aiming to raise £500,000 to complete a brand new cardiac centre at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

The club carries out many fundraising activities, from raffling giant Easter eggs, running BBQ’s and giving children rides at fetes and fairs on the club’s little train.

The money for this donation was raised at the club’s Santa’s Grotto which is held each year at Sturmer Nurseries and Garden Centre, in Church Walk, Sturmer, near the Haverhill Golf Club.

The children were greeted by Santa’s elves and each met Santa in his Grotto and told him what they would like for Christmas, had their photo taken with the man in the red coat, received a bag of Christmas Eve essentials and an early Christmas present.

On leaving they had family photos taken sitting on Santa’s sleigh and received a certificate saying Santa has put them on his “Nice” list.

Last year was the third year the grotto had been put together for Santa and has become very popular.

Lion President Len Russell said: “What better way could the club help support the local community than by making a donation to the Every Heart Matters appeal in Lions Centennial Year.”

And publicity officer for the club Phil Cheesmur added that the club found out about the appeal at an evening hosted by My WiSH Charityand it was agreed to donate the money from the last year’s Grotto.

“A lot of people we talk to in Haverhill use the West Suffolk and it’s important to have the cardiac unit set up there. Many of our members are elderly and it is important to us” he said.

Haverhill Lions Club is part of Lions Clubs International which was founded in 1917 and the Haverhill Club received its charter in 1982.

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, but the £500,000 My WiSH Charity is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.

If you want to support the Every Heart Matters appeal go to the website and if you would like to donate to the appeal you can do so by going to: or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.

Pictured above are the Haverhill Lions handing over a cheque for £1,500 to Sally Daniels, the My WiSH Charity campaign manager.

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