35 years ago St Helena Hospice was anticipating the arrival of its first patient, after six years of planning, fundraising and building.

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

6th July 1979

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

July 1979

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

17th May 1980

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

11 August 1980

St Helena Hospice was incorporated and the steering committee became the council of management

October 1980

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

1st April 1981

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

May 1981

St Helena Hospice registered as a charity organisation

July 1981

Two Macmillan nurses, sister Nuala Peddel and sister Maureen Percival, were appointed to the home care scheme

July 1981

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”

30th October 1981

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

January/February 1983

The Hospice was given the green light and Myland Hall was acquired in February

23rd November 1983

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”

December 1983 to May 1985

Building work at Myland Hall

17th January 1985

The Hospice appeal reached £800,000

15th April to 11th May 1985

The local community was invited to look around The Hospice

20th May 1985

St Helena Hospice welcomed its first patient, 22 year old Lisa Brenchley

Heritage stories

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 stories@sthelena.org.uk if you have a story to tell about the early days of St Helena Hospice.

Contact Information

To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email fundraising@sthelena.org.uk , 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