Birthday party raises thousands for hospice

A BUSINESSMAN’S 40th birthday bash raised £12,000 for St Nicholas Hospice Care, in Bury St Edmunds.

Ric Groves, who runs So Bar and The Gym, in Bury, threw a birthday bash for the hospice, which cared for his close friend Cloé Gibney, who recently lost her three-year-long battle with cancer aged 31.

The party was held two days before what would have been Cloe’s 32nd birthday.

“Unfortunately, she had been incredibly ill for a long time, it was pretty awful,” said Mr Groves. “I think the timing made it a bit more poignant and people dug a little deeper.”

The party, at the Unitarian Meeting House in Churchgate Street, was attended by 150 guests and ticket sales, profits from the bar and a charity auction helped to raise the money. Included in the auction was an Omega Planet Ocean watch signed by actor Daniel Craig and a book signed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Mr Groves said: “To raise £12,000 is just phenomenal and St Nicholas Hospice is over the moon – the money would fund a nurse for six months. We had an enormous amount of support from local businesses and that sort of figure is a credit to everybody who donated.”

Abby Mayes, corporate fund-raiser at St Nicholas, said: “To have raised £12,000 from a birthday event is simply amazing, and says a lot about how much people thought of Cloé. We are grateful to Ric for putting so much effort into organising this event and thinking of the hospice on his birthday. Donations such as this mean we can continue to offer vital services to people who need them.”