Bake Off star backs the Great Somerset Tea Party Great British Bake Off star Val Stones is encouraging people across the county to join her by taking part in the Great Somerset Tea Party. Val, whose touching exit speech in 2016 was voted viewers’ favourite BBC Bake Off moment of all time, lives near Yeovil with her husband Ian. She hopes people in homes, schools and workplaces will get together with friends, neighbours or colleagues for tea, cake and a chat to raise money for St. Margaret’s Hospice. The charity has teamed up with Somerset Day in a bid to organise the biggest tea party the county has ever seen, which will be taking place at venues all over Somerset from Friday 11 May to Sunday 13 May. Val will be selling her own cakes, scones and other tasty treats at a tea party in Bishops Lydeard Village Hall from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday 12 May. Since appearing on Bake Off two years ago, the former headteacher has been keen to use her profile to support charities when she is not busy baking or working as a supply teacher at primary schools in Somerset. “I’ve spent a year doing things for charities outside the county,” she said. “This year it’s going to be charities inside Somerset, and I particularly wanted to support St. Margaret’s. “If on Somerset Day - or any time around then - people invite their friends round or open their house, bake something and raise money for St. Margaret’s Hospice, that would be a brilliant thing to do. “Bake it with love – it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit wonky. I always make wonky things.” Val visited St. Margaret’s Hospice in Little Tarrat Lane, Yeovil, to meet staff and patients, bringing cakes and biscuits for them to enjoy. “It’s a wonderful, uplifting place to be,” said Val. “The grounds are stunning and the staff are there every minute to help people. “It’s very humbling to come here. People look up to you because you have been on TV, but I’m looking up to them for the job they do.” The Great Somerset Tea Party campaign is in collaboration with Somerset Day and sponsored by Wyke Farms. Somerset Day is promoted by Passion for Somerset, the not-for-profit Community Interest Company. All over the county, events are being held celebrating everything great about Somerset. Before Val’s visit to the hospice, head chef Martin Berry and chef Leanie Kent had been busy baking an amazing selection of cakes and scones to welcome the Bake Off star. “We do a lot of baking for fetes, as well as afternoon teas, birthdays, Mothers’ Day and even weddings,” said Martin. “I enjoy it because it’s about flair, skill and showing off a bit.” Martin, who has worked at St. Margaret’s Hospice for eight years, added: “It’s not just a job – you do it because you want to make a difference. We always ask patients if there is anything they fancy. If we haven’t got it, we can get it.” Leanie added: “We have a lot of contact with patients and I love getting to know everybody, their likes and dislikes, so we can bring them pleasure through their favourite food.” St. Margaret’s Hospice needs to raise £9.5m each year to deliver its services. Last year the charity cared for 3,800 people across Somerset affected by any life-limiting illnesses. All care is free at the point of care. The majority of patients are cared for in their own homes by community nursing teams. St. Margaret’s also has In-patient Units and Sunflower Centres at its hospices in Taunton and Yeovil. Everyone who hosts or attends an event as part of the Great Somerset Tea Party can help to ensure care is available to people and families in the county when they need it most. Donating £10 could pay for transporting a patient in your community to one of our Sunflower Day Care Centres. Raising £25 could pay for one of our 24-hour adviceline nurses supporting patients in their own homes. And £100 could pay for a Specialist Community Nurse to visit a patient at home. For more information about the Great Somerset Tea Party and to register for your free fundraising pack, visit www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/thegreatsomersetteaparty.