HALTON Haven is celebrating after receiving a grant of almost £10,000 from the American owners of The Runcorn and Widnes World.

The money from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the paper’s parent company, will buy two specialist state-of-the-art beds.

The hospice has been struggling to replace 12 old beds dating back to the 1990s.

So far, they have managed to fundraise for six and the £9,476 donation will buy another two.

The World is now launching an appeal to encourage our readers to help raise £20,000 to renew the remaining four old beds.

Shaun Pollard, hospice chief executive, said: “This is fantastic.

“We’re absolutely thrilled you have come to our help.

“Our patients come first. Our current beds do not lower sufficiently.

“We have been talking about how we could possibly replace all 12 beds when they are so expensive.

“We’re not a rich hospice. We break even but we never have any spare money.

“This gift from the World is like manna from heaven.”

Just over 400 patients a year from Runcorn and Widnes are cared for free of charge at the hospice in Barnfield Avenue, Murdishaw.

Patients spend around 90 per cent of their time in bed so staff are keen to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.

Viv Culleton, director of care and operational services, said: “We felt embarrassed because our beds are quite archaic and institutionalised.

“They have old metal frames and are very cold and harsh which doesn’t fit in with the homely environment we offer.

“The main thing for our patients is comfort and safety.”

She said the new ultra low beds will make it much easier for nurses to manage patients and will reduce the risk of falls.

They have wooden ‘cot sides’ which can be lifted up to protect patients and electric controls to adjust the mattress for comfort.

Mrs Culleton added: “It would be absolutely astounding to have a full set of new beds.

“Our patients will feel like they are coming to a hotel.”