THE Ayrshire community were in a giving mood this year as they raised more than £20,000 for Ayrshire Hospice.

The hospice, which provides specialist care and services to people affected by life-limiting illness across Ayrshire, held its Winter Fair at Ayr Racecourse on November 13.

The festive event welcomed almost 2,000 shoppers throughout the day who browsed festive stalls from crafters across the country whilst listening to live entertainment from local musical groups Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, True Colours and Songs For All.

The Winter Fair took place over two floors, in both the Ayrshire Suite and Princess Royal Suite, with over 120 stalls.

Activities included children meeting Santa Claus in his grotto, a teddy tombola and petting Santa’s reindeer, while outdoors RRT Rapid Relief Team provided BBQ burgers.

A spokesperson said: “Thanks to all who attended, had a stall, volunteered, and supported the event throughout, the Winter Fair raised an incredible

£21,700 for Ayrshire Hospice.”

“A special thanks goes to all that made the day a success including the incredible volunteers, stall holders, Rapid Relief Team UK for providing the delicious BBQ, Air Image for taking festive Santa’s Grotto photos, Ayrshire Reindeer Ltd for bringing along Santa’s reindeer, Billy Bowie Special Projects Limited for delivering Santa and the fantastic musical entertainment Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, Songs for All and True Colours.”

The care provided by Ayrshire Hospice requires extensive, on-going fundraising support, and during 2018-19, it cost over £7.9million to run all hospice services, including clinical, fundraising and support services – equating to almost £22,000 per day. Over £4.6 million was raised through voluntary donations alone.

During 2018/19 Ayrshire Hospice shops network brought in over £1.1million of income to the hospice. Over £1million was also raised through general donations and gift aid.

This was closely followed by over £962,000 left in bequests and legacies by people in their Wills.

The popular Ayrshire Hospice lottery was the next highest income stream, realising over £749,900. The packed hospice events programme brought in just over £506,983 and dedicated community fundraisers generated an additional £236,000 over the course of the year through their own “in aid of” fundraising initiatives.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran provided partnership funding of over £2.9million.

Ayrshire Hospice looks after patients and families from across the whole of Ayrshire and during 2018-19 had 1,432 referrals with 27 per cent from East Ayrshire, 35 per cent from South Ayrshire and 38 per cent from North Ayrshire.

The hospice not only takes care of people’s physical needs but look after their emotional, spiritual and social needs too.

Information provided by Ayrshire Hospice states that “for some people facing the end of life it’s the small things than can make the biggest difference like having a special family meal or seeing a beloved pet.

“Others may have big goals that they would like to achieve like travelling to a meaningful destination or marrying the love of their life. Whatever means the most to someone the wonderful team of hospice employed and voluntary staff will pull out all the stops to try to make it happen. That’s because the hospice is here to help people live well until they die.

“It is vital work filled with moments that make people smile during a time that’s difficult for everyone. It’s about making today matter.”