Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 15:03 UK

Rooney-backed hospice in crisis

Wayne and Coleen Rooney
The couple married in Italy in June

A children's hospice is facing a funding crisis after donors wrongly believed it benefited from Wayne and Coleen Rooney's wedding magazine deal.

The couple asked guests at their June wedding to donate to Claire House, Wirral, rather than buy a gift.

But of the 64 guests invited, only five have so far made a donation, taking the total raised by guests to 2,000.

The hospice said some regular donations stopped as people believed it had received the OK! photo shoot payment.

'Hugely supportive'

The Rooneys are believed to have been paid 2.5m for the exclusive pictures of their wedding, which took place in Portofino on the Italian Riviera.

A spokeswoman for Claire House, which cares for Coleen's sister Rosie, who has Rett syndrome, said the Rooneys had been and still were "hugely supportive".

But she said the perception that the hospice had benefited from the OK! deal had had a negative affect on its fundraising.

Claire House
The Wirral-based hospice needs to raise 200,000 every month

"Wayne and Coleen are longstanding and generous supporters," she said.

"We understand they did invite guests at their wedding to donate to their favourite charities, but to date, not a great deal has been forthcoming - though we have received donations from a handful - of up to 500 each.

"We are grateful to put to bed rumours that we had received a 2m windfall.

"The reality is we continue to depend year-on-year on the thousands of people who do regularly support us and undertake all sorts of fundraising activities on our behalf.

"Children's hospices like ours receive no direct government funding, so we are very much dependent on individuals and companies to support our work."

The hospice, which is a registered charity based in Bebington, helps up to 400 familes a year.

It needs to raise 200,000 every month to meet its annual 2.4m running costs, and still needs to raise 1m this year to break even.

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