Lisa Brenchley was the first patient to be admitted to St Helena Hospice. Lisa was only 22 years old and had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour 18 months previously.

Lisa’s father Brian remembers when her health rapidly deteriorated and she was offered a bed at the new nearby hospice:

They were still finishing the place off. It was all very, very new. It was literally only just opened and they got her in right away.

My memories of first going into The Hospice are a little vague. I do remember being aware that she would be the only patient there, wondering if she would be lonely.

My expectation was that it would be like a newly opened hospital, being very clinical and regimented. I could not have been more wrong!

Walking through the door was like entering into a well-appointed hotel, which was confirmed even more when my wife and I were the first to use the guest suite overnight before Lisa passed away.

We didn’t really know what to expect but as far as The Hospice goes, they were brilliant. The nursing care we had there was incredible.

All the staff were so cheerful and helpful in making us feel at home. I remember Lisa the day before her last, making a small recovery, being very happy and laughing and joking with the staff. She seemed to have struck up a particular rapport with the chef!

The homely atmosphere of the new Hospice and relaxing gardens kept up the family’s morale. Lisa’s sister Lyn was 17 at the time and she recalls time spent together in Lisa’s room:

My memory of The Hospice was how homely it felt and it didn’t have that ‘hospital’ feel.

We would brush Lisa’s hair, although she had lost most of it and she wore headscarves. I brought my nail care in and painted her nails for her.

When Lisa was taken into The Hospice she was very poorly and she needed to be kept pain free. By then she slept mostly due to the medication but we still chatted to her and sat with her talking about what had happened in our day.

The staff were so kind and nothing was too much trouble. It all felt quite overwhelming especially for mum and dad after having Lisa at home. But I can honestly say it was a relief for us to know Lisa was so well cared for, and the staff also supported us as a family.

Mum and dad were offered a room to stay towards the end of Lisa’s life so they could be close to her.

I remember being able to walk around, to sit quietly in the family room. There was peace and calm everywhere. There were no visiting times so we could stay as long as we liked and we were offered food and drink. It was like being part of a big family.

Lisa’s name is still in the book of remembrance in the chapel for the date that she died; 29th May 1985.

Even after Lisa had passed away we were still supported for as long as we needed which was a great comfort. I had bereavement counselling several years later. The hospice will always be a part of our family and we continue to support it.

St Helena Hospice Heritage Stories project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Contact Information

To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.


To contact the St Helena Retail team, for enquiries about our shops, donation centre and house clearance service please telephone 01206 890 165.


24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360

SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.

The Hospice

To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU

Telephone: 01206 845 566

Hospice in the Home

You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Colchester/Halstead team
Telephone: 01206 845 566

Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222

Day Therapies

You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Telephone: 01206 848 163

Fax: 01206 752 245

You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222

Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU

Human Resources

The HR Team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

Finance Team

To contact the St Helena Finance Team please telephone 01206 931 450 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Volunteer Services Team

The Volunteer Services team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, please phone the Marketing and Communications team directly on 01206 931 464

Patient Referrals

If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360

Bereavement Support

To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Learning and Development Centre

The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560

Service User Group

For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397

Facilities Hire Enquiries

01206 851560


To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.

Comment, compliment or complaint

Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566