Weldmar Hospicecare Summer Fete cancelled for the first time in 25 years

Weldmar Hospicecare Summer Fete cancelled for the first time in 25 years

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:05pm 16th July 2020.

It's survived an arson attack and flooding, but Weldmar Hospicecare's Summer Fete won't being going ahead this year due to Covid-19.

The popular fete usually attracts more than 3,000 visitors every year and raises £25,000.  It has taken place in the meadow behind the charity’s Inpatient Unit in Dorchester every year since 1995 - the year after the hospice opened its doors for the first time.

The latest phase of event cancellations also includes the Jurassic Coast Challenge, which almost fifty people had already signed up for, and it's becoming even less likely that any fundraising events will be held during the rest of this year.

Already in 2020, Weldmar has been forced to call off a number of fundraising events including the Moonlight Walk, Kapow!, Great Dorset Cycle Challenge, Music by the Lake and more, all because of the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting in the loss of thousands of pounds in fundraising revenue.

weldmar summer fete

Matt Smith, Director of Fundraising and Marketing said:

"To say that we are gutted is an understatement. So much hard work and planning goes into these events and they raise a substantial amount of vital funds, which enables us to continue our services each and every year.

"We’ve never had to cancel our Summer Fete - we’ve continued through rain and even an arson attack that destroyed all of our Fete donations back in 2012. I never thought there would be a year where we simply would not be able to hold this well-loved event. It’s devastating."

The Summer Fete raises money for Weldmar through more than forty stalls and attractions, including the popular Nurses Stall, and a Silent Auction.

fete martin at nurses stall

Sally Anne Baverstock, who retired as Senior Sister at our IPU earlier this year, organised the nurses' stall for many years and says it wasn't just about fundraising.  

"It's lovely, not just because of the support we get from the local community, but it's the first time many family members have returned since losing loved ones, so there are often hugs and tears."

Celebrity guest Martin Clunes is a regular visitor, not only posing for hundreds of photos with visitors, but he also takes time to visit every patient in the hospice.

Matt said:

"We are heavily planning for the likelihood that we will unable to hold any fundraising events for the remainder of this year and we are still not sure yet how many of our charity shops we will be able to open whilst social distancing restrictions are still in place.

"This is going to cost us well of £1M as a charity, if not much more. We need our community to stand by us now, so we can continue to be there for them in the future."

Weldmar are urging supporters to sign up to their lottery for just £1 a week, provide a small monthly donation via Direct Debit or take part in their own virtual fundraising event or challenge.