LOCKDOWN has seen many people rise to the challenge of raising funds and supporting their favourite charities.

One which has benefitted in Newport is St David's Hospice Care, which at the beginning of lockdown put out an urgent appeal via the South Wales Argus to supporters to help plug the gap in its fundraising when it had to close all 37 of its shops and cancel a whole summer's worth of vital fundraising activities.

We look back on some of those efforts from the past 100-plus days and urge other readers who've been busy supporting their own chosen charities to share their news with us on our new regular Charity Champions page.

To get involved just go to bit.ly/2VB1uEK to tell us what you've been up to.


Here we revisit six efforts supporting St David's Hospice Care.

Chepstow School

Teachers at Chepstow School received top marks for their work after making PPE masks in the school workshop for front line Gwent hospice staff. The first batch produced by the comprehensive school teachers were given to St David's Hospice Care nurses who wore them while treating patients.

South Wales Argus:

Chepstow School teachers Tim Smith, Wendy Heath and Irene Davies test the PPE masks that they made in the workshop

The masks were donated to St David's Hospice Care, the Royal Gwent Hospital, Blaen Y Pant residential home, Castle Court residential home, Severn View residential home and Chepstow's Vauxhall Surgery among others.

The school's assistant head teacher Emma Mellen said teachers had decided to make the PPE masks for the Newport-based hospice after learning of their desperate Covid-19 plight. The teachers who made the initial batch of PPE masks were Mrs Davies, Mrs Heath, Mr Anthony, Mr Smith and Mrs Jones.

"After reading a news link from St David's Hospice Care and watching a documentary about how hospices are struggling, staff and students felt that they had to act," she said.

The school also came together virtually to raise more than £1,580 by staging an online talent show and a summer festival.

Steve Marshall

In May former Welsh Guard Newport businessman Steve Marshall ran the equivalent of seven marathons, completing 10kms runs every day to raise money for St David's Hospice Care.

South Wales Argus:

Steve Marshall, MD of Safety First Lifting Gear Svs, who ran 10kms a day during May to raise money for St David's Hospice Care

The 58-year-old managing director of Newport business Safety First Lifting Gear Svs, of Queensway Meadows, ran 300 kms in the month

Steve, who lives with his wife Ann-Marie in Newport and is father to Thomas, Grace and Billy, was supporting the hospice for personal reasons.

Steve said: "Every year I choose a charity to raise money for, this year I’ve chosen St David’s Hospice Care as it is a local charity which looked after and cared for my father when he was at St Joseph’s, now St David’s, Hospice. I also wanted to support other friends and their family members who have had need of the hospice’s palliative care."

Steve, a member of two freemason lodges in the Province of Monmouthshire, Jasper Tudor 4074 & Armed Forces Lodge 9875, was supported by fellow masons.

Freida Murray

A Chepstow grandmother was inundated with donations instead of presents on her 81st birthday this year as she braved the shave in support of St David’s Hospice Care.

South Wales Argus:

Grandmother Freida Murray celebrated her 81st birthday by getting her head shaved for St David's Hospice Care

Freida Murray was given a buzzcut instead of a birthday cake this year as husband John, 82, manned the scissors and clippers.

“It’s something he can stroke off his bucket list,” said Mrs Murray, who is originally from Wick, in Caithness, Scotland.

Mrs Murray decided to ask for donations in lieu of presents this year as a result of feeling ‘helpless’ watching the plight of St David’s Hospice Care during the pandemic.

She had originally set a target of £100, but such was the response that, with the help of GiftAid, her total came in at more than £1,000.

“Everyone has been so kind and generous,” said Mrs Murray, who celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary in November. “It’s amazing, so humbling."

Newport Rotarians

Newport Morris dancer Rotarian Brian Cox did his bit to help raise funds for St David's Hospice Care by practising his moves in isolation on the Ridgeway.

South Wales Argus:

Newport Rotarian Mike Hine walked across the Severn Bridge to England and back with dogs Toby and Lottie, to raise funds for St David's Hospice Care

Brian, a member of Newport Uskmouth Rotary, was one of a group of fellow Rotarians in the city fund raising in a variety of novel ways for the hospice.

Each Rotarian's challenge was to complete 10km within the constraints of social distancing. Some are walking on public paths, others are exercising at home or using static bikes or cross trainers.

One, Mike Hine, of St Woolos Rotary and who is a trustee of St David's Hospice Care, walked from Wales to England and back across the Severn Bridge to complete the challenge.

Stephen Phillips, president of St Woolos Rotary Club, walked up and down his drive some 500-550 times. And Frank Miles, from Magor, completed the walk just seven months after having a replacement knee operation.

Whitehead JFC

Youngsters have also got in on the act.

South Wales Argus:

Ruben Hughes, of Whitehead RFC juniors who took part in a fund raising challenge for St David's Hospice Care

Junior rugby players from Whitehead RFC juniors, in Bassaleg, Newport, completed a variety of 'challenges' ranging from a pass the ball marathon for the youngest to the Whitehead JRFC triathlon.

The triathlon involved a 5km run, a 10km bike ride, sit ups and press ups all adhering to the current isolation advice.

Under nine's coach and Under13's team manager Nick Moore said: "We created a list of challenges for the players depending on their age. Some did the pass the ball challenge but most completed the Whiteheads JRFC triathlon.

"We have a great set up at Whiteheads with more than 200 local children regularly playing rugby who are supported by an amazing group of volunteers with strong links to our community.

"St David's Hospice Care is close to the hearts of many people at the club and we thought we could do something to help. It's a particularly challenging time for charities who rely on fund raising and with St David's Hospice Care offering invaluable support to many local families, we wanted to help safe guard this amazing care."


Louise Taylor

Hospice at home nurse Louise Taylor, aged 52, from Tredegar, affectionately known as 'Nurse Tidy' by her patients, wanted to do something to help St David's Hospice Care during this difficult time - so went for the chop.

South Wales Argus:

Nurse Louise Taylor goes for the chop to raise funds for St David's Hospice Care where she works

The mum of three, married to nurse Shaun, said: "I've done all sorts of fund raising for the hospice over the years and wanted to do something a bit special this time to raise money. My colleagues and patients think I'm mad, so why not."

Louise, a nurse for 35 years, has a personal caseload of patients who she cares for throughout the community.

The dedicated nurse said: "Due to all of our shops having to close and our fundraising events, which are usually quite big involving a lot of people attending, being cancelled we now have a major cash problem.

"I thought, I know, I'll do something different which doesn't involve anyone else and the idea of a head shave came, well, into my head. All my colleagues and patients think it's great, and a bit mad.

"This is my way to say thank you for all the support and kindness shown for what I am doing, so that we hospice nurses can keep our care and compassion going."