Published Friday 29th May 2015

Prestige Events were helped by filmmaker by Karen Messer, who made a video starring over 500 people from Herefordshire, asking Gary to come to Hereford.

Prestige Events business partners, Jo Smith and Martha Summerfield, set up an appeal to raise £136,000 to help fund the Redevelopment of St Michael’s Hospice. This money raised will pay for landscaping the gardens, patient furniture and hydrotherapy baths at the new redevelopment.

Jo said, ‘When we heard Gary had seen the film, and liked it, we were blown away. To then hear he had agreed to come to St Michael’s, was surreal. Gary took time out of his busy touring schedule to pop in and have a tour of the Hospice. Seeing Gary meeting patients and staff has been phenomenal. It has to be ‘The Greatest Day of Our Lives!’ When you get a community daring enough to go for the impossible and support a project like this, it goes to prove that magic can happen. Seeing the excitement on patients and staff’s faces when they realised Gary Barlow was standing in front of them, has to be the best tribute to our local community. They went out of their way to help make this happen and is a testament to how much St Michael’s Hospice means to them.”

Rhianne Nixon, a patient with Motor Neurons Disease, has been supported by St Michael’s Hospice for the past 5 years and is presently an Inpatient at St Michael’s has been a fan for years, ‘I asked Gary for a kiss and I got one. I can’t believe it and the look on my mum’s face, when she saw who I was with, was jaw-dropping. I know all the tickets for his shows are sold out, but Gary said he could pull a few strings. Meeting Gary was on my bucket list. So with a little help from Gary and St Michael’s Hospice “The stars are coming out tonight’ and I am going to get the chance see him live in concert’.

Gary said, ‘I get sent 1000’s of films but Hereford’s was by far the best, so I had to come. It has been a privilege to meet so many caring people, who are all doing such a fantastic job. The new building is inspirational and a testament to all the people who have raised the money to make it possible.’

Filmmaker, Karen Messer said, “The film is full of people from different ages and abilities. People from local clubs and societies who, as soon as I mentioned St Michael’s Hospice, were onboard from the offset. We want to thank them all for giving up their time. Some groups even hired rooms for filming in, and many others let me into their homes. With so much footage, editing took a lifetime.’

Martha Summerfield said, ‘We started this appeal as a way of saying thank you to the Hospice for the care they gave my Mum, back in the old building. Having Gary visit the new building is very special and it shows that through sheer grit and determination, hair-brained ideas can work. We hope it will help raise a lot of money and awareness for such a crucial, local charity. Who knows when any of us may need it?’

Paddy Nugent, Community Fundraising Manager at St Michael’s Hospice, said, ‘It costs £4.6million every year to be able to provide services free of charge to the local community. 90% of the money is raised by our local community. #GetGarytoHereford is a perfect example of that generosity and shows just how much people think about their hospice. The campaign proves that amazing things can happen when we work in partnership with local businesses like Prestige Events. Everyone at St Michael’s would like to say a massive thank you to Gary Barlow and everyone who helped make his visit a reality.’

Jo and Martha are raising the funds in memory of Martha’s Mum, Barbara Powell, who died at St Michael’s Hospice in 2000, and Jo’s friend, Lucille Wheadon, who died at St Michael’s Hospice in 2009, at the age of 31.

The Prestige Events Appeal started last year with ‘The Vintage Summer Party’ which has now become an annual event. This years party will be held at St Richards School near Bromyard on Sunday 6th September. The campaigning superheroes will also be hosting a black tie event with Bobby Davro on Saturday 4th July 2015. For tickets, contact Prestige Events on 07715 953497 or email Jo & Martha at

If you would like to donate to The Prestige Appeal, please donate at or text PRES48 with your donation up to £10 to 70070.”