Dear reader, I would like to begin by thanking the Wimbledon and Sutton Guardian newspapers very warmly indeed for deciding to launch this special appeal.

The Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross is a registered charity, whose works include the provision of healthcare and education to local communities.

It is wonderful to think that £111,100 will be raised by the Guardian throughout the year in order to commemorate St. Raphael’s Hospice’s 25th Anniversary. The Hospice provides care for 900 patients a year and this substantial figure of £111,100 represents the cost of providing care for 25 of them - at an average cost of £4,444 for each patient.

Through the Sisters endeavour, to serve the entire local community, St. Raphael’s Hospice was established in 1987. The Congregation donated the buildings and the land and launched a public appeal to cover the running costs.

The need for public support for St Raphael's Hospice is just as great now, 25 years later, as it was at the beginning. It costs over £4 million a year to run the Hospice and although 25 per cent comes from an NHS grant, the remaining £3 million has to be met by charitable donations, fundraising and legacies.

We are extremely grateful to the Guardian for establishing this appeal and I hope that readers will be able to give generously to it. I should point out that the Trustees of St Anthony’s Hospital, with which the Hospice shares the same grounds, has agreed to match the funding of this appeal and will donate to St Raphael’s an equivalent amount; for every £1 raised by the Appeal, St. Anthony’s will donate the same amount.

Thank you all so much. May God bless you.

Sister Superior, Clare Joseph St Raphael’s Hospice The Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross