South Yorkshire’s only children’s hospice, Bluebell Wood, is going snooker loopy having pocketed over £152,000 from its long-standing charity relationship with World Snooker.
The two-year partnership began in the 2012/2013 season when World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn read about the hospice, which is based in Sheffield, the city of snooker and home of the World Championship.
Realising that Bluebell Wood has to raise over £3 million every year in running costs in order to support children and young adults with a shortened life expectancy, Hearn was keen to get involved and pledged his support.
During the partnership, World Snooker took on a whole host of fundraising initiatives including holding bucket collections at events, donations from century breaks, auctioning memorabilia, naming the Bluebell Wood Open in Doncaster after the hospice and even donating player fines to the charity – so every time a player breached his contract the hospice benefited.
Hearn said: “We have raised an incredible amount of money for Bluebell Wood and I am grateful to everyone who has helped the cause. Anyone who visits the hospice can see clearly how important it is that we give our support any way we can. We often take our health for granted and when we see children with life-limiting conditions it makes us realise how fortunate we are.
“It has been an honour to work with the dedicated Bluebell Wood team and I urge everyone to take an interest in their work and keep the donations flowing.”
The children have loved meeting the snooker stars who have chatted with them, posed for photographs and joined in with their games. Barry Hawkins, Mark Davis and Neil Robertson have all spent time at Bluebell Wood, while Mark Selby visited the hospice this year, just days before winning the World Championship for the first time.
Julie Hampson, corporate fundraiser said: “It has been an absolute honour to have the support of Barry Hearn and World Snooker for the last two years.
“Not only has the partnership generated an incredible amount of income for Bluebell Wood, the international awareness from the relationship is unprecedented for our charity.
“We cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for us and our families. All the funds they have raised for our hospice will help us to ensure that we are doing everything we can to put smiles on the faces of our children with life limiting conditions.”