St Catherine’s looks to the future as successful Symphony at the Tower draws to a close
Chief executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: “After very careful thought and consideration, in conjunction with our event organiser Cuffe & Taylor, St Catherine’s Board has concluded that its 2016 Symphony at the Tower event was its finale.
“Symphony at the Tower has been our flagship fundraiser at Hoghton Tower for over 20 years. We have had a terrific run and recent years have brought fabulous stars such as Status Quo, James Blunt, Katherine Jenkins, The Human League, The Christians and Aled Jones to Lancashire, along with top-class performances from the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra and The Northern Chamber Orchestra.
“But cancellations in 2012 and 2016 due to dangerous ground conditions caused by inclement weather, has meant that we have had to seriously reconsider the long-term safety and viability of the event.
“Much has changed over the last two decades when it comes to organising major events including insurance and regulatory requirements that, quite rightly, place much greater and more exacting demands on organisers to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
“With many wetter summers in recent years, evenings at Hoghton Tower that could have gone ahead 20 years ago, cannot do so now and after the two cancellations, insurance cover quite logically goes up significantly.
“It is also important to acknowledge how disappointing it is for supporters who really look forward to these evenings, when they are cancelled unavoidably at late notice. Although we are grateful for their understanding, this is not what we would wish for.
“Whilst we know that many will be saddened that we have brought this special event to a close, we hope supporters will understand that we have considered this matter most carefully including, for example, the possibility of alternative venues. However, part of the unique appeal of the Symphony was the magical atmosphere created by the Hoghton Tower setting.
“We recognise that some events have a shelf life and, in the interests of the patients and families whom we serve, supporters can be assured that we are constantly looking ahead to alternative ways of fundraising and promoting the essential work of the hospice.
“Recent new fundraising projects include our award-winning St Catherine’s Park which includes The Mill café and community hub that achieved more than 100,000 visits in the last year. After just two years, annual income generated by this project is comparable to the Symphony and is expected to exceed it by 2018.
“We also have a number of brand new fundraising events lined up for 2017 which we hope our supporters will feel inspired and excited to take part in – from a cycle challenge to a family-friendly obstacle run. Our popular and long-standing Moonlight and Memories Walk and Yellow Day Garden Fete are also set to return, as well as our newer and increasingly successful Christmas Festival weekend.
“We are extremely grateful to so many who have worked with us to make the Symphony at the Tower events such fun and raise considerable income for the hospice. In particular, we offer our special thanks to John Nickson who created the event, to Barbara Conroy and Lorraine Charlesworth who carried it forward and to Progress Housing, Eric Wright Ltd, and Cuffe & Taylor.
“We have had countless sponsors, companies and amazing volunteers alongside the Hoghton Tower charity whom we wish to thank for their fabulous efforts and of course, we also wish to give our heartfelt gratitude to the tens of thousands of people who have come along and supported us. The loyal support that we receive from local people is mind-blowing and we cannot thank them enough for their ongoing kindness and generosity that helps us to care for their loved ones when it matters most.
“So, whilst there will be some sadness because the Symphony’s long-standing, successful run has ended, I hope that our supporters will continue to enjoy the attractive range of activities that are available in 2017.”
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