A FAMILY has raised £42,000 to buy a new minibus for the hospice which cared for a much loved mother.

St Cuthbert's Hospice's new patient transport bus has been named "The Wendy Bus" in memory of Wendy Charlton, who died at the hospice in 2014, aged just 50.

Since her death, her children Helen Corner and Daniel Lowden, from Chester-le-Street, have been leading fundraising to help the hospice.

Ms Corner said: “The Wendy bus means the world to us and all who knew our mam Wendy.

The Northern Echo:

Friends and family of Wendy Charlton, who died at St Cuthbert's Hospice in 2014, are delighted with the "Wendy bus"

"It keeps her memory alive whilst providing so much happiness to others just like she did when she was here.

"We set ourselves the target of reaching the total in four years so to have reached it after just two was amazing."

The family had already raised a significant sum to help refurbish the café at the hospice in 2017, a lasting testament to Ms Charlton, who had always dreamed of owning a café one day.

Since then, her friends and family have been taking part in a host of activities to raise more money, including a Motown party, a football tournament, a 24 hour game-a-thon and completing the Three Peaks Challenge.

The new £42,000 bus is a lifeline to people in the local community with advanced illnesses who travel to the hospice each week to access the Living Well Centre.

For many of guests who attend each week it is something to look forward to because they can socialise, take part in activities or access specialised services to manage symptoms or control pain.

Carol Murphy a guest at the Hospice’s Living Well Centre and who will be using the Wendy bus said, “I think it’s a marvellous achievement and such a help to local people who would otherwise struggle to get to the hospice. The whole bus is fitted out to make it as easy and as comfortable as possible. Fundraising efforts like these really are something to celebrate, enjoy and are a marvellous example of local generosity.”

Kay Carrick, senior donor development fundraiser, said: “We are so overwhelmed by the amazing support from Helen and Daniel and their army of friends and family. The fact that they fundraised £42,000 in just two years is astonishing.

"The new bus is multifunctional and enables us to transport more guests safely and comfortably.”

“As well as a massive thank you to Helen and Daniel, we would like to say special thanks to Helen’s employer BGL Group, Cartwright Conversions, The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Sign Design (GB).”