Staff and volunteers at St. Margaret’s Hospice are celebrating after being named Hospice of the Year in the Charity Today Awards 2018.

The accolade comes after the Somerset charity submitted an entry highlighting feedback from patients and families about the quality of care, as well as its innovative fundraising activities and the important research projects led by its clinical teams.

St. Margaret’s was one of two finalists shortlisted by the judges, alongside Martin House Children’s Hospice in Yorkshire. The winner was decided by a public vote on Twitter.

Chairman Jennifer Board and chief executive Ann Lee were presented with the trophy by Somerset peer Lord Strasburger, who hosted a lunch at the House of Lords for supporters of St. Margaret’s Hospice.

Ann said: “This award is a real tribute to the fantastic efforts of all our staff and volunteers, who work so hard every day to deliver high quality, compassionate care to local patients and their families.

“We’re so grateful to everyone in Somerset who voted for us, and it’s been wonderful to receive so many lovely comments from people congratulating our teams on this well-deserved national recognition.”

St. Margaret’s Hospice cared for 3,800 people affected by life-limiting illnesses last year, both in the community across Somerset and at its In-patient Units in Taunton and Yeovil. The charity was founded in 1980 and relies on more than 1,200 volunteers in a wide variety of roles to help raise funds and care for people at the end of their lives.

Its vision is to create a community in which all people with life-limiting illnesses, and those close to them, have access to appropriate care where they feel safe and supported.

After NHS funding, St. Margaret’s Hospice needs to raise £9.5m each year to deliver its services. Over the last 12 months, the charity has launched a number of new fundraising events and campaigns.

More than 2,000 people took part in the recent Glitter Runs at Taunton and Wincanton Racecourses. New Celebration Tree artworks have been installed in the reception areas of the hospices in Taunton and Yeovil, giving people an opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one or a special occasion by having a leaf or sunflower engraved.

The care delivered at St. Margaret’s Hospice is based on robust evidence gathered through good quality research. A St. Margaret’s Research Group has been formed to encourage active enrolment in relevant projects looking at topics such as hydration in cancer patients, wound care and the value of early intervention of palliative care in mesothelioma patients.