Fundraising duo hit £400,000
BUCKET collectors, Don Franks and
Charles Callaghan have raised a staggering £400,000 for St. Joseph's Hospice
over the last 17 years.
The retired pair have faced all weathers and have spent, in total, 800 days
standing outside:- train stations, sports grounds and shopping centres, wearing
their yellow Hospice vests and greeting passers by. They have collected on
average £25,000 per year in aid of the Thornton based hospice, which cares for
local people living with life limiting conditions.
Don (85), from Formby, and Charles (79), from Ainsdale, are well known
characters around Merseyside. Don is known for his cheerful signing and dancing
whilst collecting for the Hospice.
Don and Charles started collecting in 2001 when Don's wife, Francis, heard that
the Hospice was trying to raise money for a new bed. Their determination and
passion for the Hospice led them to completely smash their target of £1,000 in
the 1st year, by raising £14,000 in the 1st 4 months!
14 years later, they hit £300,000 enabling many terminally ill patients to
die peacefully in the beautiful surroundings at St. Jospice's Hospice.
In recognition of their tireless work, Don and Charles were invited to Downing
Street by Cherie Blair, Vice President of St. Joseph's Hospice, in 2007. In
2012, they were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and then, in
2015, Don and Charles were honoured with British Citizens Awards at the House of
Lords for their inspirational efforts.
Don said:- "We collect for the hospice for around 3 days every month and
raise on average £500 each day between us. Our best day ever was in 2003 when we
collected at Woolworths just before Christmas and took £1,350. Everyone was
"We enjoy it so much and we're always bowled over by how generous people are. We
are very grateful to the people of Sefton and Merseyside for their magnificent
generosity as without them, this huge figure would never be possible. We have
met some wonderful people over the years, including celebrities and VIP's, but
also so many generous, kind and supportive people from our local community.
We're both very proud to live in Merseyside and we will continue to collect as
much as we can in the coming years."
Mike Parr, Chief Executive of St. Joseph's Hospice, said:- "There simply
aren't words to describe the contribution that Don and Charles have made to the
Hospice over the last 17 years. They have not only showed incredible commitment
but have also made so many people smile. From cheering up commuters on a rainy
day to making the last days of so many people's lives warm, loving and peaceful.
I would like to thank Don and Charles from everyone here at the Hospice for
their continued hard work and for their devotion to our patients and their
families over the last 17 years."
Drive to improve School
A new drive to tackle School absence in
Liverpool will see businesses asked to help promote good attendance and the
reintroduction of truancy patrols.
The Attendance Strategy will build on the progress that the City has made in
recent years and aims to close the gap with the national average.
It is led by School Improvement Liverpool, which provides support to Schools and
other educational settings to enable them to be the best they can be.
An Attendance Charter; backed by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce;
will see firms promoting the importance of regular Schooling with their staff to
help ensure tomorrow's workforce reach their full potential.
Truancy Patrols, involving Council staff and Merseyside Police, will also be
reintroduced to find pupils who are skipping School and tackle parents who keep
their children off School without a good reason. And a Quality Mark will be
established to recognise and celebrate Schools that challenge absence robustly
and create a culture of attendance.
Figures for the 2015 to 2016 academic year shows that Primary level attendance in
Liverpool is 95.42%; just short of the national average of 96.1%, while in
Secondary Schools it is 93.92% compared to 95% nationally.
Liverpool recognises it particularly needs to do more to tackle persistent
absence, which is classed as 10% of lessons missed. In Primary Schools 11.33% of
pupils are persistently absent compared to 8.8% nationally, while at Secondary
School level it is 17.15% compared to 12.3% across the rest of the country.
Mayor Joe Anderson said:- "A considerable amount of excellent work to
support children's attendance at School has been done in Liverpool, but as a
City we are still lagging behind other core cities and the national average. As
a parent and grandparent, I want to see every part of our education system
working well for the children, and as Mayor of Liverpool I want to make sure
they are ready to face the best possible life chances in a City that is full of
opportunities. We need to build on existing good practice and introduce new
measures to help tackle the issues facing Liverpool in relation to unacceptably
high absence rates. Promoting positive School attendance is a responsibility
that belongs to everyone, and, in Liverpool, tackling absence will be raised
across all agencies and will become a shared responsibility as it is all of our
Evidence shows that:-
► A child who is 10 minutes late misses 32 hours a year of lost education.
► A child who misses 1 day a week loses 2 months a year of education.
► ½ a day a week missed throughout School life equates to 1 full year of lost
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, Cllr Nick Small, said:-
"We have been working hard with our Schools to get the message across to parents
that every lesson counts for their children, but we have to do more. There
are still too many pupils who are missing School needlessly, affecting their
chances of going on to get a good job and have a stable life. We need to tackle
the culture that it is acceptable to take children out of School needlessly,
such as when it is their birthday or for a shopping trip, or fixing a routine
medical appointment for the middle of the day rather than before or after
lessons. Even a small amount of time missed from lessons every week can add up
to a substantial amount over a School year."
Elaine Rees, Chief Executive of Liverpool Learning Partnership - set up by
School and education leaders to ensure the needs of all learners are prioritised
- said:- "I am delighted to endorse this City wide approach to improving
School attendance. In Liverpool Learning Partnership we are committed to working
with partners to tackle this issue. We need to support all that Schools
are doing to champion attendance and add our collective energies to seeing even
The strategy is being launched at a business event organised by Liverpool and
Sefton Chambers of Commerce, at the Art School Restaurant, on Wednesday, 22 March