A charity that provides specialist end-of-life care has launched an urgent appeal to keep it offering its services.

Dorset-based charity Weldmar Hospicecare has set itself an ambitious target of raising £250,000 during a 30 hour fundraising marathon.

Weldmar needs to raise £27,500 every day to keep providing specialist care in Dorset for adults with a range of life limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and motor neurone disease

The charity says its services are facing increased demand as costs spiral.

Weldmar estimates that the cost of providing care will be around £1m more this financial year than it is able to raise through fundraising and its charity shops.

This predicted shortfall is the equivalent of the cost of end-of-life care provision for 438 local people.

The ‘Making Every Moment Matter’ campaign, which starts at 10am on Sunday, May 19, will see contributions by members of the public, organisations and trust funds matched by other generous donors.

‘Making Every Moment Matter’ will last for 30 hours to reflect the number of years since Weldmar first opened the doors of its inpatient unit in Dorchester.

The appeal launch comes after MPs in the House of Commons discussed a lack of government funding for hospices.

Dorset South MP Richard Drax said hospices are 'reliant on people’s generosity' and the debate also saw West Dorset MP Chris Loder praise the work of the charity.

Matt Smith, Weldmar Hospicecare’s chief operating officer, said: "We sincerely hope that the discussion between MPs is the start of our hospice care services, and those all across the UK, being funded fairly and sustainably in the future.”

As well as providing care for the patient, Weldmar also provides practical and emotional support for loved ones and family members.

Josephine Parker from Weymouth, whose mum Margaret passed away in the charity’s care last year, said: “We couldn’t have done it without them. I couldn’t bear to think about how it would have been if we hadn’t have had Weldmar, as our journey would have been very different. Everyone was amazing. It needs to continue and be supported.”

Fundraising lead Gloria McCartney says, “Hospice care is not about the end of life. It’s about making every moment matter for the patients in our care and their loved ones.

"Moments such as the wedding we were able to arrange in 48 hours at our inpatient unit recently, or the visit to a music festival that seemed improbable for a patient with motor neurone disease.

“Contributing to this campaign on the 19th and 20th of May means that every single pound will have twice the impact in helping our amazing clinical teams deliver moments like these.”

Find out more at weldmarhospicecare.org/moments.