A CHILDREN’S hospice has been inundated with over 40,000 woolly chicks for its annual Easter ‘chick knit’ fundraising appeal – and Trafford schools have proved to be the most generous.

Francis House Children’s Hospice has been receiving the fluffy donations from hundreds of supporters from across the region and nationwide for months, but in the run up to Easter they are arriving by the sack load.

After passing through quality control to fix any loose beaks and to ensure that they can hold an egg, the chicks are stuffed with a small chocolate egg by the hospice fundraising team and a band of volunteers.

Businesses and over 60 schools and nurseries are supporting the campaign and selling the chicks for £1. The money raised will help towards the running costs of the hospice, currently at over £11,500 a day to provide services to support children, teenagers and young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Candy Crafts group in Timperley knitted 834 chicks for the appeal and Springfield Primary School in Sale sold the most chicks with 900, followed by St Vincent’s RC Primary School in Altrincham with 800 chicks.

Last year’s appeal generated almost £27,500 in income from over 19,500 knitted chicks, and with donations exceeding expectations this year, the hospice is confident that total will be smashed.

Francis House fundraiser Rachel Astill said: “Every year the response is fantastic, and this year it has been overwhelming. I’ve even started dreaming of the chicks. It’s been great fun seeing the incredible variety in the chicks people knit. Each seems to have its own personality. The biggest challenge has been keeping the balance between the chicken and the egg – we don’t want any empty nests come Easter.”

It is hoped the campaign will raise more than £36,000 for the hospice.

For anyone wanting to find out more about Francis House, there is a public open day at the hospice on Monday May 8. For more information call 0161 443 2200.