A community retailer’s major fundraising drive has doubled its original target and raised £208,000 for charity partner Help the Hospices.

The Midcounties Co-operative put the success down to enterprising and generous backing by colleagues, members and customers supporting the partnership, which has been extended for a further year until January 2011.

From bag packing to skydiving, from car washes to cake sales, plus marathon runs, a sponsored walk and a 100 mile cycle ride, a variety of fundraising events have boosted funds for the charity and the 11 local hospices in Midcounties’ trading area.

The local hospices benefiting from the partnership are: Compton Hospice, Wolverhampton; Cotswold Care Hospice, Gloucestershire; Great Oaks Dean Forest Hospice, Gloucester; Helen and Douglas House, Oxford; Katharine House Hospice, Banbury; Kemp Hospice, Worcestershire; Prospect Hospice, Swindon; Severn Hospice, Shropshire; Sir Michael Sobell House, Oxford; South Bucks Hospice, High Wycombe; and Walsall Hospice.

Ben Reid, chief executive of Midcounties, said: “To raise £208,000 in a year is a fantastic achievement, especially at a time when money is tight for many people. It is a testament to the generous and co-operative spirit of our colleagues, members and customers who have taken this cause to heart.”

Bernie Nolan, senior corporate partnerships executive at Help the Hospices, said: “One in three people have been touched by hospice care, which is provided free of charge. With hospices only receiving partial government funding they rely on donations and fundraising to provide the best possible care and support for people with life limiting or terminal illnesses, and their friends and families.”