Acorns Hospice: We’re on target, but please keep giving

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | Health | Published:

Acorns Hospice today revealed its crisis appeal has reached £350,000 in little more than two months.

That puts the charity on target to reach the £2 million it needs to raise within two years in order to prevent the closure of its Black Country centre. It thanked those who had worked tirelessly to raise money – and issued a rallying call for more help to keep the fundraising going.

Bosses at the charity say they have been overwhelmed with the response since the launch of their campaign to save its Walsall hospice, which is being backed by the Express & Star.

Dozens of fundraising challenges have helped bring money rolling in for Acorns, alongside donations from the public and support from businesses and other organisations.

How you can donate:

  • Text ACORNS5 to 70025 to donate £5*
  • Text ACORNS10 to 70025 to donate £10*
  • Visit
  • Phone: 01564 825 037
  • *With texts you will be charged your donation, plus your standard network rate. Acorns receives at least 98 per cent of your donation as it will incur a two per cent admin charge for this service. By texting, you are agreeing for Acorns to phone or text you to tell you about our work and how you can help. If you wish to donate and not hear from Acorns again, text ACORNS5 NO to 70025. For more information call 01564 825 037. Acorns Children’s Hospice registered charity no: 700859.

The crisis-hit charity needs to raise £2 million if it is to avoid closure next year and bosses say they have been encouraged by the amount raised in such a short space of time, with the quarter-way mark coming into view.

Chief executive Toby Porter has now encouraged people to keep on giving what they can to continue the momentum in the run-up to Christmas.

More on this story:


The Walstead Road hospice, which cares for hundreds of sick children and their families, was handed a dramatic reprieve in the summer when its planned closure was put off due to more funding being made available.

However, extra funding will not become available until 2024 and bosses need to find a way to plug the gap until that point.

Mr Porter said: “This is a wonderful, generous community and we are deeply grateful to everyone who has helped us reach this milestone.”


How fantastic fundraisers are helping seed Acorns' future

Generous fundraisers have worked tirelessly to raise enough money to keep vital Acorns Children’s Hospice up and running in the Black Country.

From line dancing evenings and cake sales to gruelling run-a-thons and even the daring few who shaved their head to raise some cash.

Any amount, big or small, has been a lifeline to the under-threat Walsall hospice.

Dave Thomas spent 24 hours in a bath tub of beans

But there’s still more that needs to be done – while an incredible £350,000 has been raised in just two months, the charity needs a total of £2 million within two years in order to stay open.

Chief executive of Acorns Toby Porter has said there is still so much more to be done, and has urged people to keep fighting.

Already, there have been some truly selfless fundraising acts carried out by people all across the country – who all want to see Acorns stay open.

Abbie Pemberton from Great Barr has raised £300 for Acorns Hospice during a lemonade sale

Sam Williams, who lost his six-year-old son Ben to a brain tumour, cycled from Edinburgh to John O’Groats with two family friends in a bid to raise as much as he could after Acorns cared for his little lad. His current total stands at more than £22,000.

James Wright, from Wolverhampton, ran a marathon every day of August and ended up raising more than £7,000.

Alison Rooke, who works at the Acorns charity shop in Blackheath, braved the clippers and raised £700 with a sponsored head shave.

James Wright set himself the challenge of running 31 marathons in 31 days for Acorns Hospice appeal, pictured with deputy head nurse Carmel Caldicott

And 69-year-old Erica Brown reduced staff to tears after donating an incredible family inheritance of £100,000 to the cause - she had worked for the charity for years, first as an employee and then as a volunteer.

She also experienced, first-hand, a devastating loss when her twin babies Jonathan and Juliet died before their first birthday from a rare cancer.

Mark Lyttle, left, joined a bucket collection outside The Banks's Stadium

Mark Lyttle, who lost his 11-year-old daughter Isabella to cancer this year, has also thrown himself head first into fundraising.

He climbed Snowdon at the end of summer this year and has raised more than £5,000 in Isabella’s name so far.

Background to the campaign:

And if anyone else wants to join the fundraising fight, there is plenty to get involved in.

Keen runners can join in with Team Acorns at the Great Birmingham Run 2019. Last minute fundraisers can pull on their running shoes and bag themselves a free place at the half marathon on Sunday, October 13.

Email to sign up.

Or, a bit further ahead, this year’s Acorns Santa Run is returning to Walsall Arboretum on Sunday, December 8.

The family-friendly festive fun-run will see hundreds of ‘dashers’ race round the park to help raise money towards the appeal. Sign up at

Keep up to date with Acorns on social media via @AcornsHospice on Twitter and Instagram and on Use the hashtag #SaveOurHospice

Stars join campaign to support Acorns

Harry Potter star Mark Williams has recorded a video message calling on the public to help save Acorns from closing down.

The actor is urging people to donate to their local hospice shop – revealing he’s also looking for a yellow 70s corduroy cap.

The Bromsgrove-born actor, who can often be seen perusing the rails in Acorns’ Moreton-in-Marsh shop in the Cotswolds where he films the BBC1 drama Father Brown, called on the public to support the children’s charity by taking quality donations to their local shop.

Mark, who also starred in The Fast Show, said: “Acorns Children’s Hospice in the Black Country is facing closure and needs to raise £2 million. We can either run around going: ‘Oh my god, what have they done to us?!’ Or, we can do something about it.

“A very pleasurable thing to do about it is, go to an Acorns Charity shop – the one in Moreton-in-Marsh I’m very familiar with…I rarely go in without taking something out!

“So, you could shop, or you could donate. And don’t just take any old tat, you know, make it count. And, if anybody has got one of them yellow, kind-of beige corduroy hats they used to wear in the 70s – I’m looking for one of them. Please help!”

Mark’s video comes hot on the heels of a number of high profile messages of support for Acorns and the charity’s Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal, including Dame Julie Walters who plays Mark’s screen wife, Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter films, This Morning presenter Alison Hammond, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and comic Jasper Carrott.

Gary Pettit, Acorns head of retail, said: “With over 50 Acorns shops across the West Midlands, there’s bound to be one near you – so if anyone out there has a vintage 70s corduroy cap in yellow or beige please drop it in so that we can pass it on to Mark. Let’s see how many we can get! And of course, don’t forget to bring any other donations that will help us raise money for the Black Country hospice.”

Acorns network of charity shops across the West Midlands help raise vital funds towards the £10 million the charity needs to raise every year to care for life limited and life threatened children and provide support for their families.

Gary added: “We’re grateful to Mark, not just for his continued support of Acorns through his regular visits to the Moreton shop but also in helping to draw attention to how important our shops are in generating much needed funds towards the running of our services for children and families.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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