MORE than £4,000 of donations have come flooding in following the launch of the Gazette's Hospice Angels campaign.

The Gazette is aiming to raise £30,000 - enough to fund one of the St John's Hospice at Home nurses for a full year.

Sue McGraw, the chief executive of St John's Hospice, said that staff had been 'overwhelmed' with the outpouring of support.

"Patients and families always tell us how much they appreciate the care the hospice provides but this week we’ve seen how much it means," she said. "We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our team. Your donations mean so much to us, without them, we simply would not have a service in South Lakes. On behalf of everyone at the hospice, thank you so much.”

Set up over a decade ago, the Hospice at Home nurses work alongside district nurses and GPs to deliver care, often attending to patients in teams of two and making 5,000 visits every year.

The nurses work every day of the year and are available 24-hours a day - covering the South Lakes, north Lancashire and North Yorkshire - offering specialist palliative care at the end of life to allow those who wish to remain in their homes during their final days.

Catherine Butterworth, head of fundraising for the hospice, said: "Here at St John’s each day we are overwhelmed by the caring community we serve and this has become even more apparent by the support shown in the first week of our campaign.

"We will never be able to thank you all but on behalf of all our team at St John’s, we wouldn’t be here without you, so please accept our grateful thanks."

The first week of fundraising has already seen generous donations - including two cheques for £1,000 - as well as Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron deciding to run the 'exceptionally hilly' Great Langdale Half Marathon this weekend in aid of the cause.

Andrew Thomas, editor of The Westmorland Gazette, said that he was 'blown away' by the generosity of Gazette readers.

"It's been a fantastic start to the campaign," he said. "We are so grateful to our readers and we hope that we can keep the momentum up over the coming weeks."