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Tributes paid to St Catherine’s Hospice fundraising legend

Posted on - 1st October, 2017 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, People, Preston News
John was known as 'Mr Hospice' for his fundraising work
John was known as ‘Mr Hospice’ for his fundraising work

A man who pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds into a Preston hospice has died.

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John Nickson, known to many in Preston as ‘Mr Hospice’, passed away aged 69.

He died at St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall where he worked for two decades.

John, who was part of the hospice’s fundraising team, battled a rare condition called myelodysplastic syndrome – a cancer affecting his bone marrow.

His wife Maureen said: “John was wonderfully vibrant, larger than life – he may only have been 5ft 6in, but he was a giant of a man who made a huge impression on everyone he met.

“He was loving, caring and generous – a warm, funny man who, as a true orator, loved entertaining with his stories and anecdotes.

“John is going to leave an enormous hole in my life and our family’s lives, and be missed by so many who knew him.”

John, who lived in Longton, joined St Catherine’s five years after it opened.

Hospice chief exec, left, with Maureen and John
Hospice chief exec, left, with Maureen and John

Chief executive of the hospice Stephen Greenhalgh said: “If ever the phrase ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ was appropriate for St Catherine’s, it was when John Nickson walked through the hospice doors 27 years ago.

“He came at a critical moment for the charity when its value had just begun to be understood and appreciated by local people and, as such, expectation was growing rapidly.

“John was wonderfully creative and captured the imagination of local people in such an inspiring and engaging way. He was admired and cherished by staff and volunteers throughout the organisation and by the tens of thousands of people he inspired to become supporters of our work.

“St Catherine’s is truly indebted to him for his remarkable work.”

John Nickson with one of many cheques he helped source for St Catherine's
John Nickson with one of many cheques he helped source for St Catherine’s

Cliff Hughes, chairman of the Board of Trustees – who appointed John – said the charity had a lot to thank John for today.

He said: “As the old adage goes, from small acorns mighty oaks grow – and this is what John helped St Catherine’s to do.

“He helped us to keep momentum after the excitement of launching the hospice and put initiatives in place which gave the charity more reliable and stable sources of
income. Crucially, he got people to believe in what we were doing which was so important.”

Read more: Spot yourself at St Catherine’s Bark in the Park

John’s fundraising exploits included starting the Symphony at the Tower concerts, performing with an am dram group the Charity Players and in 1995 he cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a tandem.

His funeral will be held at St Teresa’s Church in Penwortham on Wednesday 4 October at 11am. All who knew him are welcome.

Did you know John? You can leave your tributes in the comments below

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