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The gardens had been landscaped and planted up by a team of dedicated volunteers, headed up by Margaret Farrow.
Matron Jenny Wayte and her nursing team were ready to continue the vision of Cicely Saunders, the pioneer of the modern hospice movement, by caring holistically for the whole person.
Chris Holmes, chair; Pat Gosling, administrator; Dr Elizabeth Hall, medical director; and the rest of the of the council of management, were about to see their hard work come to fruition.
It was 20th May 1985.
Timeline to St Helena Hospice's opening day
A meeting was held in the Grand Jury Room, Town Hall, Colchester, “to consider the setting up of a hospice for the terminally ill to serve the Colchester Health District”. Those present: The Bishop of Colchester, Father Michael Stokes, Dr Kennedy, Dr Rhys Lewis, Deirdre Allen, Irene Overton and some 140 members of the public
A steering committee was formed chaired by Dr Elizabeth Hall, and the volunteers of the Colchester Area Hospice Project were ready to take on the groundwork
A £250,000 public appeal is launched at an old time music hall at Holmwood House School to establish St Helena Hospice, named after the patron saint of Colchester
St Helena Hospice was incorporated and the steering committee became the council of management
Colchester health officials agreed to back a proposed home care scheme “to provide specialised care at home for the terminally ill” run in conjunction with the planned Hospice, as long as the National Society for Cancer Relief would fund it for the first three years
The National Society for Cancer Relief agreed to fund the home care scheme throughout north east Essex, with the help of Keith Dallisson, District nursing officer for the community, who became director of St Helena Hospice a few years later
St Helena Hospice registered as a charity organisation
Two Macmillan nurses, sister Nuala Peddel and sister Maureen Percival, were appointed to the home care scheme
The Hospice Appeal logo was launched, described as “the cross, emblematic of St Helena who carries it on top of our town hall with the H for Helena and Hospice”
A planning application was submitted to change the use of Myland Hall, a 17th century grade II listed building being used by Highwoods developers French Keir, to a hospice.
The Hospice was given the green light and Myland Hall was acquired in February
Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, cut the first sod in a ceremony in the grounds of Myland Hall to begin the building work, paying tribute to “everyone who has worked so hard and contributed so much”
Building work at Myland Hall
The Hospice appeal reached £800,000
The local community was invited to look around The Hospice
St Helena Hospice welcomed its first patient, 22 year old Lisa Brenchley
Through our St Helena Heritage Stories project we are collecting, recording and preserving memories of people involved at the beginning of our journey, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to tell about the early days of St Helena Hospice.
Angela d’Angibau was part of the team of volunteers who worked tirelessly before The Hospice opened in May 1985, to create a tranquil garden for people to enjoy and reflect in.View more
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