Can you help free the Rowcroft Six - or shall we let them stay where they are?

Joseph Bulmer

Six jailbirds - well-known faces in the Bay - face lengthy punishments unless they can start raising money for Rowcroft Hospice.

The hospice’s annual fundraising event ‘Jail or Bail’ will see the suitably-dressed convicts facing fictitious trials.

In this fun and light-hearted fundraising initiative, the key people from local businesses have been placed under arrest, accused by their colleagues of such workplace crimes as ‘spending too much time on the telephone’, ‘being too nice’ or ‘being a senior member of lastminute dot com’!

Representing a range of local businesses and organisations including South Devon College, Big Ant Group, Torbay Weekly, Bettesworth Property Agents and Chartered Surveyors, Torbay Council and Wollens solicitors, the convicts will stand trial at Rowcroft Hospice on Wednesday February 23 when they will receive their sentences from Judge Richard Ward (a Rowcroft ambassador and former trustee).

Their punishments will include ‘yard time’ where will spend the day at the hospice helping out with odd jobs like cleaning, gardening and maintenance until their friends, family and colleagues bail them out of jail by donating money to the hospice. The convicts have until 5pm to fundraise their way to freedom using their mobile phones and social media channels.

Rowcroft’s Corporate Fundraiser Rosie Gitsham said: "We’re so grateful to all the local businesses who are supporting the hospice through this year’s Jail or Bail – which once again promises plenty of laughter and hilarity. Thanks too to all the ‘convicts’ for being such fantastic sports and for helping us to raise crucial income to fund our care. We’re asking members of the community to support this fun event by raising bail money for their favourite convict by making a donation to Rowcroft via our website at

"Our bail money channels are already open so please do get involved and support our ‘convicts’! "£

Andrew Barrand is a Torbay Councillor.. He is accused of the crime of ‘being a senior member of lastminute dot com’! He said: "Rowcroft is such an amazing organisation that helps so many people, both people with the illness and their relatives, helping them cope and come to terms with the prognosis. As a supporter of Rowcroft I just want to help much needed funds so they can continue their amazing work in helping people.”

Matt Bettesworth is Managing Director of Bettesworths Property Agents and Chartered Surveyors. He is accused of the crime of ‘going on a three-week cycling trip last September when we were extremely busy at work’! Matt said: "Rowcroft provides a unique and essential role in Torbay and I feel a certain personal drive and responsibility to help support their brilliant work.”

Christopher Linton, a partner at Wollens solicitors, has been accused of the crime of ‘living in different time zones due to the geographical locations of clients'. He said: "“My jail break is a personal and professional challenge. The support that is given to families by the Rowcroft team is second to none, whether that is at home (by the Hospice at Home team) or in the hospice. As my work involves assisting families following the death of a loved one, I often work closely with the Rowcroft team and together we assist patients and their families through the darkest of times, enabling comfort in those final days. Rowcroft not only supports Wollens’ clients but also touches the lives of many individuals and families throughout the local community. On a personal note, I have seen first-hand the support that they provide as members of my own family have been cared for.”

Chris Coward, managing director of the Torbay Weekly, has been accused of spending too much time talking on the telephone. He refused to comment!

To raise bail (make a donation) in support of your favourite convict, please go to