THE Adver’s 160 appeal has reached the £50,000 milestone – less than five months after the launch of the campaign in support of Prospect Hospice.

The initiative started in February to mark the paper’s 160th birthday and allow thousands of patients in Swindon each year to receive the care they need.

It aims to raise £160,000 for the Wroughton charity by the end of December.

Adver staff, readers, benefactors and veteran fundraisers have held collections or participated in gruelling challenges and already succeeded in raising £50,000.

“This is a huge milestone and we want to thank our readers for their generosity,” said Adver editor Gary Lawrence. “The appeal is picking up pace and we are confident we will reach £160,000 by December. The Adver team have taken part in several fundraisers, such as the Big Swim and Big Bike, and they are getting ready for the Starlight Walk and Dragon Boat Race this weekend. “We want our readers to know that we are all in this together and that we will do everything we can to raise £160,000 for Prospect Hospice.

“The 160 appeal will help hundreds of patients at the end of their lives and bring comfort at a difficult time.”

From treks and skydives to a solo 900-mile walk, fundraisers have stopped at nothing to secure funds for Prospect Hospice. Among them are ex-RAF mountain rescuer Al Sylvester who has so far collected £13,000 toward a trek from John O’Groats to Land’s End in August. Natasha Chesterman, a nurse at the Great Western Hospital, has also raised £1,300 towards a Sahara Trek in October. And Dave’s Devils raked up more than £6,000 for a skydive in memory of Dave Freeman, who was cared for by the hospice.

The hospice needs £5.8m each year to continue caring for the people of Swindon and North Wiltshire.

The organisation receives less than 30 per cent of its income from statutory bodies such as the NHS to support a community of 300,000 people.

And £160,000 would help to pay for 500 overnight stays in the hospice’s in-patient unit, that is 12 days at a time for 43 patients.

Or it would cover 6,400 hours of the 24-hour Prospect@Home service.

It would also fund counselling and support for 2,000 family members after the loss of a loved one or during their ongoing illness.

Hospice chief executive Angela Jordan said: “It’s great news that the 160 Appeal has reached £50,000, and with the summer months the busiest time of the year for fundraising, there’s much to look forward to as the £160,000 target gets closer. “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Advertiser, and of course their readers who have really got behind this year-long appeal.”