Death by Chocolate

A PR student was assigned the unusual task of organising a murder mystery party for charity, Kirkwood Hospice this month.

Betsy Whitwam-Kirkup, a level two student from Leeds Metropolitan University joined the hospice’s small PR team for a short-term placement earlier in the year and developed the idea with another member of staff.

The hospice’s small budget meant a different approach to fund-raising and media eye-catching was needed to raise the hospice’s profile and funding. Funds need to reach £3.9 million each year in order to be able to provide free care for its residents.

A local drama group were recruited to direct the event, with whom the fundraising team had built relations with in the past.

“I’d been taught at university that a good relationship with an organisation’s audiences was beneficial, so when I marketed the event and worked with them I got to see this in practise and deliver the event successfully based on the working relations we had with everyone involved,” Betsy said.

Being part of such a small PR team proved to be beneficial for Betsy, as more responsibility and tasks were able to be given out. This saw Betsy having full responsibility for many aspects of the event including publicity and liaising with the local press.

Fundraising events are the main source of funding for the hospice, but ‘Death by Chocolate’ was the first of murder mystery party held for this purpose.


  1. That’s what I like about students – no fear. I’d have looked at this idea (‘death by chocolate’ and ‘murder mystery’) and rejected it as inappropriate in the context of a hospice. But then I’d have been wrong.

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